If nothing else, this episode at least shows us that Lawrence is prepared to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to seeing the completion of his aims, while a certain sense of realisation seems to be sinking into Lag, at least when it comes to the Gauche / Noir situation. But it's not the end of the line yet...
What they say
Gauche Suede is on his last delivery before a big promotion. In the outskirts of Yodaka, the darkest area of Amberground, Gauche is surprised to find that the package is a young boy named Lag Seeing. Lag had been traumatised by his mother's abduction and is due to be delivered to his aunt. In this remote area rife with Gaichuu, Lag and Gauche face a dangerous journey that inspires Lag to become a Letter Bee.
The combined firepower of Lag, Zazie and Noir is powerful stuff, but still bot powerful enough to even scratch the surface of the Cabernet, and after their attack it simply turns around and heads towards the sun as if they weren't there. Between it and the sun, though, lies Yuusari Central, and realising the danger that's on its way the city is being hastily evacuated. The only stragglers are Lawrence - and certain members of staff at the Yuusari Bee Hive...
One episode to go, and Tegami Bachi is still feeling as though it's in no hurry at all. While this episode starts off the the Cabernet rampaging through the streets of Yuusari Central, you still don't get anything in the way of a sense of urgency from the way the characters react to events. There's also a distinct lack of information about how certain events resolved themselves - if you go back two episodes to when "those unable to become spirit" were found by Aria in Thunderland's lab, how they came to be there and what Thunderland's involvement was was left hanging, to be answered later - and then never touched upon again. This episode reveals that planting them in the Bee Hive was part of Lawrence's plan, but there's no detail given here. Likewise, there's an about-face by two characters with very little in the way of a believable explanation. Disappointing? You betcha.
Other things are answered though, beginning with where Largo Lloyd snuck off to just as things were kicking off. Now he's back, and he's brought major-league reinforcements from an unexpected source. Lag is also beginning to come to terms with Noir's new sense of identity, realising that the Gauche he knew is truly gone - but that the Noir in front of him now isn't really all that different, missing memories excepted. Add in a few minor "moments of awesome" for some of the characters, and it all ends up a pretty good episode.
For all the good in it, though, I couldn't get through the episode without thinking about all the bits that, to my mind, it was missing, and that was like a little hangnail, constantly annoying me as we went. I want to love Tegami Bachi, I really do, but sometimes it really does itself no favours - and now it's only got one last chance to do things right. I wonder how it'll manage.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.