Deep breath. NNNNNGGGGG. Deep breath.
...Yeah, Tegami Bachi's frustrating me again this week. So what else is new..?
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.
Connor and the others have finished mining the area where they expect the Cabernet to surface, and are now just waiting to see what happens next. Meanwhile, in an effort to stop Lawrence's plan and protect the ones he's planning on sacrificing, Gauche heads to the bread and weapons shop, Sinners. There, Gauche asks Jacob, who is surprised and somewhat worried to see him, to give him a shindanjuu - and when he leaves the shop he runs into Sylvette, who won't let him leave without talking to him first. But Gauche is still not seeing himself as the Gauche that Sylvette wants him to be...
Desert folk have some really creative methods of getting rid of people who annoy them. I was thinking of detailing some of them here, but I'll setting for running thought of inflicting on the Tegami Bachi writers through my head. I had considered putting in a call to Ai Enma, but I admit that might be a bit drastic.
When we left Lag and the gang last week, they were all set for the Cabernet to appear. When we leave them at the end of this episode, they're still waiting, and the Cabernet is getting on for two weeks underground, doing little but worry those above. This is perhaps the problem with Tegami Bachi, realised on screen: it takes ages to get anywhere.
There are, fortunately, a few little sidelines this week that makes things just about worthwhile. Aria back at the Hive has put two and two together and found herself in trouble, as something very unexpected is going on in Dr Thunderland's lab; Lag is given perhaps the clearest indication yet that he's really going to have to go to the capital, Akatsuki, if he's to get to the bottom of everything; and a chance encounter with Sylvette gives Gauche a chance to come to terms with who he really is. These are all quite important developments - for Lag and Sylvette they're events that are almost on a lower level compared to the bigger things that are going on around them, but they're important to them and do play to the more personal level that the series has always been quite good at working with. The comments made to Lag about what's really going on in Akatsuki also highlight the mystery that surrounds the title - and that the next episode's title suggests is about to finally be addressed.
But then I've been saying for weeks that the next episode should get us somewhere, and I've been consistently wrong. Like Largo's "business trip", having things happen and then not following up is business as usual for Tegami Bachi, and the biggest frustration that comes from watching it. This episode ultimately continues with that bad habit.
This episode is almost halfway between the filler-ish episodes that I hate so much and the more plot-heavy ones that work so well - landing just enough on the side of the former to be frustrating. There is some good stuff here, but it still feels to be treading water. Hope springs eternal that the next episode will be more of the latter...
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.