Sometimes I think that Yuusari should really be called the Land of Filler, as that's what most of Lag's delivery runs around the place end up being. This episode falls firmly into the filler category itself, although it does teach us one thing about Lag: he can't draw...
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 traumatized 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.
After making a delivery to Ray Attlee, the owner of a rather large mansion, Lag is asked by Ray to try and trace the sender of a picture-letter that he's received. According to Ray, the pictures in the letter remind her of her hometown, and the memories they trigger have given her the will to fight the long illness she's been suffering. Lag decides to try and find the sender without resorting to his Shindan - which turns out to be a little easier than he was expecting - but Ray's head housekeeper, Colbasso, is trying to take credit for the picture letters herself...
I'm still waiting and hoping that Lag will get down to the search for Gauche without wasting too much time - but for this episode at least I'm not going to get my wish. Apart from a brief bit of wishful thinking towards the beginning of the episode, Gauche isn't touched upon - instead, the focus is on Lag's search for someone a lot closer to home: the sender of the picture-letters that Ray has been receiving. I'd call them postcards, personally, but then I'm not the translator.
There are really three main players in the story, apart from Lag and Niche: Ray herself, suffering a long illness and separated from her parents after they were summoned to the capital after the Day of Flicker (sound like someone else we know?); Colbasso, Ray's chief housekeeper, who comes across as a supremely selfish and greedy person with little regard for others; and Kimidori, a larger-than-average maid whose clumsiness matches her size and who's on the receiving end of some rather nasty treatment by Colbasso.
Lag's search for the sender of the picture-letters doesn't actually take very long, and brings me to my main gripe with the episode: the way the characters are introduced and the story set up makes it very clear how events are going to unfold - you can predict five minutes into the episode how it's going to unfold, and lo the rest of the episode unfolds by-the-numbers in a very predictable way. I like surprises, when they've been properly foreshadowed, and this level of predictability bugs me somewhat, so for that reason alone this episode was struggling to impress me.
Ray herself also seems to be less of a personality than she could be. Perhaps through lack of time to do much with her, she feels unnaturally single-minded and focussed on finding her mysterious correspondent, and that limits her appeal.
None of this goes to say that the episode is actively bad - there's some charm there and it is interesting, up to point - but the predictability of it, and the lack of movement on the underlying story, works against it. This episode is "good enough", but there are plenty of other things that Tegami Bachi could be doing that could be even more entertaining, and I do wish they'd get on with it.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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