「比叡でピンチ！」 (Hiei de Pinchi!)
“In a Pinch with the Hiei!”
Last week I was talking about how Hai-Furi was effectively a tale of two halves, and each episode it needs to take some time to goof around before actually getting to the warship on warship action that is no doubt the main draw of the show, as if the drama of Hai-Furi ran off batteries that can only be charged with high school girl hijinks. This week, though, we get more or less immediately to the shooting, saving the goofy fanservice (and more yuri-shipping! And regular shipping!) for the end. As we start moving towards the finale, it’s only natural that Hai-Furi will be favouring its serious side more, which is probably overall a good thing because while the enjoyability comedy is mostly a subjective issue, I think everyone watching this show can agree on the universal appeal of guns and explosions. While I still think I prefer last week’s episode and its rescue scenario (more personable, I think), the fight against the Hiei (which keen-eyed viewers managed to distinguish as Not Musashi—good job, nerd team) was also great, even if relatively brief.
Is there any greater waste of time on this earth than democracy? Golf, I guess. Democracy and golf—both equally unproductive, both for the benefit of rich men making private deals (controversial!). I appreciate the sentiment behind Captain Mike and the principal wanting to get the input of the crew before sending their puny destroyer against a battleship, but surely this is the kind of scenario where an executive decision would be appropriate. Yeah, I know, responsible leadership, will of the people, the crew is family yada yada, but 1) is surrendering all your rights to a single unaccountable authority really so bad? and 2) in a military context, with only a few hours until the enemy ship reaches civilians and starts the zombie apocalypse, do we really have the time to open the debate to the forum for discussion? The ancient Roman senate actually ceded command to a single dictator during wartime, because they knew that expedited decisions were necessary. Scotty knows how it goes—just make the call, follow the captain, and drag the rest of your team in with you, risk of horrible death be damned. It’s a good thing that the Harekaze managed to reach a unanimous consensus so easily, or who knows how much time they would have wasted quibbling about exactly how impossible the operation actually is. Well, unanimous consensus save for the usual, but her vote doesn’t matter so it’s still cool. Democracy!
Time was also spent on delving deeper into what exactly the mind-control-rat-plague is and how disaster was unleashed, which is good because it really is about time we have a clear picture of what exactly our protagonists are fighting against. I still have mixed feelings about it, though, because I’m not really convinced about how well it meshes into the rest of the show. Again, I still think last episode’s rescue operation to be the strongest of Hai-Furi, and that came about naturally with no rodent intervention necessarily. In contrast, it seems a lot of things needed to line up to get this virus plot going (like the timely eavesdropping, or having a supergenius conveniently in your back pocket). And Hai-Furi never seemed like an ecological anime warning against the dangers of genetic engineering, nor a zombie show, but now that we’ve strayed onto that path it doesn’t feel like there’s enough thematic cohesion. It’s not a huge deal, though; in the end it’s all a complicated excuse to get these students in old warships to shoot at each other, and it’s best that we accept this plotline at face value.
I do wonder what it’s like to be part of the great rodent hive-mind, though. Why the aggression? What ambition can a rat have? I would have imagined that these zombies would at most nibble on your toes a bit, and be readily placated with an offering of cheese. I suppose hijacking warships is possibly more interesting.