This episode of Tegami Bachi doesn't add much to help clarify the Gauche situation, but we're back to learning a little more about what the government of Amberground has been up to, which is welcome territory. But the details ain't pretty...
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.
Zazie tracks down the Cabernet to the town of Shark Cape, where he also finds a Reverse cell. There, he clashes with a Marauder who calls himself Jeel - but when he fires his shindan at Jeel, the Marauder's hatred for those he perceives as his enemies makes the shindan ineffective, and Zazie in trouble. Lag, meanwhile, is also headed for Shark Cape after learning of the cell from Zazie, but is drawn into an encounter with Lawrence, Reverse's leader. When Lag tries to fire his own shindan at Lawrence, though, he finds he can only fire blanks...
In a way, I'm at a bit of a loss for what to write about this episode, but let's see what I can come up with. The problem is that there isn't a huge amount of new stuff this time around, be it to do with the overarching story or the interpersonal relationships - instead, the episode is spent reinforcing things that we already know: that Zazie's obsession with defeating Gaichuu is dangerous to those around him, that the government are up to something very sinister, and that Lawrence is a bit of a bastard.
Without Lawrence, you see, I could easily see Lag and some of the other Bees around him turning their back on the government and joining Reverse. It's becoming ever more clear that the Amberground government is working solely for the interests of those in the capital, with the rest of the population disposable raw materials, and that something has to be done about them. Reverse are the best option for that, on the surface - but with Lawrence in control, the ends absolutely do not justify the means. If Lawrence were to lead the revolution, what you'd get afterwards may well be worse that what was overthrown. Although that does seem to be more the rule than the exception in human history.
While it's refining ideas rather than introducing new ones, though, the episode is still a good 'un, once we get away from the Yuusari Bee Hive, where pointing out the obvious seems to be the order of the day. Zazie and Lag are both having very bad days, in rather similar ways, while for Reverse things seem to be coming together nicely - and with the approaches that Lawrence and new Marauder Jeel, there's the possibility of things being turned nicely on their heads, depending on how Lag and Zazie respond.
Another good episode, then, which gets up back on the upside of Tegami Bachi's up-and-down form. Hopefully the next episode continues that trend, but that will be down to Lag and Zazie and the decisions they'll have to make very soon. I just wish I had faith that the series would "do the right thing" when it comes to key moments like this.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.