Okay, so last week's attempt by Lag to remind Gauche of his past quickly turns out to be a false alarm. But if I just snap this clapperboard' ::clap:: 'there's plenty of time for a second take. Add pointless sacrifice and overly-convenient returns to the mix, and a certain amount of 'whu..?' would be fair. But trust me, it's better than it sounds'
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.
The fight between Lag and Noir continues, while Zazie arrives back on the scene after sending Wasiolka back to the Hive to report. To add to the chaos, a ton of swarming type Gaichuu have also descended on their location, drawn by the same Heart that had drawn the Cabernet there. Lag and Zazie do their best to fight the Gaichuu, but their huge numbers and the lack of any dingos to back the Bees up makes for a tough battle - until some unexpected help arrives on the scene...
On the surface, there's not a hell of a lot that happens in this episode - it's a continuation of the battle that began last episode, and while it reaches a conclusion of sorts, there's a lot that's left up in the air at the end of it. But there are a few points that do stand out: the return of one dingo, the loss of another, and the eventual firing of 'that bullet' that Lag's been holding on to for quite some time now.
The returning dingo is, unsurprisingly, Niche, back from recovering in the tender care of her sister and having seemingly taken a few levels in badass while she was gone - although she's still not quite herself. The way this was handled was probably the low point of the episode for me, as it's so out-of-the-blue - yes, a brief scene in the previous episode acted as minimal setup for it, but here we have Lag wishing 'Gee, I wish Niche was here'' while he's in battle, and the very next cut, lo, she's here and in fighting form. It's just too damn convenient, too obviously done just to help the battle along - and while part of it's done in quite a humorous way (involving her lack of underwear and precisely how she lands on Lag), I was too busy rolling my eyes to really appreciate the effort.
Similarly, there are a few other scenes throughout the episode that leave you wondering 'why did they do that..?, and that's never a good thing. The downsides, though, are more than balanced out by the eventual coming together of Lag and Gauche / Noir (it's left ambiguous as to whether Lag's letter bullet has had the intended effect on him, although if I were a betting man I'd say it has), but circumstances towards the end of the episode leave them with no choice but to work together for a common aim - saving their own skins - that, after all that the two characters have been through since that first episode so long ago, is a joy to see.
The past few episodes have made trawling through all the filler that Tegami Bachi has inflicted on us worthwhile, and this episode continues the trend of running with a serious amount of plot and moving it forward in a way that's really enjoyable to watch. It was good when all that it was working with was the general mystery of what Amberground was to start with - but now that we're well into the plans of Reverse and the quest to restore Gauche, it's kicked up a few gears into one of my highlights of the week. Long may it continue.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.