「魔法少女アカリちゃん」 (Mahou Shoujo Akari-chan)
“Magical Girl Akari-chan”
Author’s Note: I’m pinch-hitting for Zephretiti on CE for the next two weeks – he’l be back for game 11.
If you’re looking for Ogone energy in Tokyo, Shinjuku (Kabuki-cho specifically) is probably as good a place as any…
If only science could put Captain Earth and Sidonia no Kishi together, like human and gauna – combining their best elements into one super-being. Well – maybe not a super-being – but a super-freaky one anyway. I don’t know what that result would look like but it would surely be interesting at the very least. The strengths seem to complement the other’s weaknesses awfully well, and I suppose it’s just that much more of a reminder that shows that manage to get everything right are an extreme rarity.
I like Sidonia no Kishi most of the time, and I like Captain Earth most of the time too – though in the latter case that’s in the face of a pretty stiff headwind in terms of English-language viewer opinion. An episode like this one is a good example of both the charms of CE and its limitations. Akari Yomatsuri is a pretty shameless character – stick a cute girl in micro-shorts and belly blouses and pump her full of tech wizardry and otaku slang and it’s going to pretty hard to completely whiff with anime audiences in this day and age. But she’s a lot of fun regardless, and while I find her less interesting than the more distinctive and edgy examples of the trope (Frau Kojiro springs to mind) she does bring a lot of energy and humor to the episodes that strongly feature her. Like this one.
I’m also finding that I like Captain Earth better when it’s set in Tokyo than Tanegashima. The familiar urban settings are somehow a more interesting backdrop for the unfolding battle-of-wits between the humans and Planetary Gears – a battle which, so far, is pretty close to a draw. Globe manages to stymie the PG every time they try to activate a Kill T. Gang on Earth, but it’s the aliens who are driving the action. They’re always a step ahead, for example, when it comes to getting to the Designer Children – and in this case that means Ai (Yamamoto Nozomi) a popular idol riddled by insecurities who’s just been "outed" as having come from a harsh background (in the upside-down, depraved world of idol fandom, I suppose this too would be an unforgivable crime).
You’d think, especially with Akari’s mahou shoujo script kiddie skills, that Globe would be doing everything they could to get to the Designer Children before the Planetary Gears do – after all, that’s really nipping the Kill T. Gang issue in the bud. But there’s no evidence that they were looking for either Ai or Zin, or at least that they had any idea of where they might be (even if Pitz’s warnings were a clue). The other interesting element about Ai and Zin is that both – though in quite different ways – seem much happier once their ego blocks are activated. Of all the DCs we’ve met so far Teppei is the oddball in that respect.
Teppei’s developing role in the story is that of not having a role in the story. Since he became a Muggle he really hasn’t had much to do, but it’s a positive that the story is acknowledging this, and it’s certainly going to come to a head soon (maybe next week). Meanwhile the spine of this ep surrounds Moco and Amara’s kidnapping of Akari right off the streets of Shinjuku in broad daylight (violent crime is exceedingly rare here, but Tokyoites are legendary for not interfering when they see it happening). It’s a very sound stratagem on their part, though not especially sound thinking on the part of Globe to let someone who’s both a great asset and who knows way too many of their secrets roam about unprotected (and I don’t really blame Teppei – if anything he should have been under firm orders to guard her at all times). The plan is simple – take Akari’s first kiss. And if there’s time, use her to kibosh Globe’s defense systems so they can’t interfere in Aiatar’s (that would actually make a more interesting idol name) coming out party.
I quite liked the way this battle played out, with Daichi pretty much forced to MacGyver a solution on his own and Akari outwitting Amara and Moco. The nature of Akari’s talent is such that you have to let her hook up to use it, but in doing so you’re taking a big gamble that she’ll do something bigger than what she’s ordered to do. Her solution is a good one – "Let me go or these humans and their pheromones are dead!" That showed both nerve and tactical wit on her part, but in the larger scheme of things it amounts to pretty much one more standoff between these two sides, and I suspect that’s going to be the state of affairs for quite a while yet.