Ah, my wish is finally granted, as Tegami Bachi gets down to business with the re-appearance of Reverse on the scene. They've been linked with a series of attacks on Letter Bees in the south of Yuusari, and Lag's about to come face-to-face with some of those responsible...
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.
Two inspectors from Akatsuki, Caribs Garrard and his dingo Hazle Valentine, have arrived at the Yuusari Bee Hive. They've been sent to investigate a string of letter robberies that have happened in the south, including one in which Moc Sullivan was attacked, causing the letters he'd been carrying fall into a ravine. Garrard suspects that there's someone inside the Bee Hive feeding information to Reverse, since they seem to know so much about the Bees' routes and movements, so he forbids them from travelling to the danger zone. However, one of the letters Moc was carrying was a letter from a sick girl that Lag had written down for her, and Lag's not about to let it go undelivered...
Garrard and Valentine get quite the introduction - they're a well-known pair, with Garrard having once been in the frame for the Head Bee position and Valentine being the best dingo around - a point he makes repeatedly to Niche. Bees of around Largo Lloyd's age all hold them in high regard, the role models they looked up to when they first became Bees, so having them back in Yuusari is quite a big deal.
But all is not well, of course, as Lag finds out when he stows away with them - he's determined to deliver the letter he wrote down for the young girl, and nothing will stand in his way, Not even Marauders. The biggest hint to what's really going on comes when Garrard explains that he can no longer fire a Shindanjuu himself - letters don't always contain good news, and years of delivering bad news have left him drained. It takes its toll on a man, and Garrard has been left with no heart - and thus no way of firing a Shindanjuu. Does this, perhaps, remind you of anyone else?
Along the way, we get revelations about what Reverse are up to, a few experiments into their efforts to control Gaichuu for their own ends (which events back in Honey Waters point to), and not one but two brief appearances by Gauche, in his new Noir persona, just to make sure that we know he hasn't been forgotten about. After several weeks of my complaining about a lack of movement on the Reverse front, this episode gives me exactly what I was looking for, and while it was perhaps a little bit too predictable for my liking there was plenty in it that kept me glued to the screen. On the rare occasions when Tegami Bachi delves into its real story, it's never less than engrossing - the big problem has always been that it didn't go there nearly enough. Finally, now, we've gotten a little visit to Main Story Land - the big question now is whether the next episode will keep us there, or if we'll go off on another diversion into routine letter delivery. I want the former, I fear the latter.
I really can't complain about getting what I wanted, and this episode covers a decent amount of territory on the Reverse side of the story which is very welcome to see - and with lag showing far more backbone than his adversaries had given him credit for, it seems our diminutive hero may be beginning to grow up, too. If we could have more episodes like this and fewer delivery missions, I'd be happy indeed. We'll find out which way the series is going next week.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.