We're getting there '" and I don't just mean 'to the end of the story'. Once again, Tegami Bachi takes the scenic detour when perhaps the more direct approach would have been better, but in this case the detour turns out to have a rather significant stop along the way'
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.
Gauche's intervention destroys the Gaichuu that Lag and the others were fighting, but it also leaves Lag confused as to just whose side Gauche is on. That soon becomes clear, when he begins to question Valentine and Garrard over the location of Roda and the others who were "unable to become spirit". While they know what Lawrence is planning with them, though, they don't know where. Gauche isn't willing to allow them to be used as human sacrifices, but how can he stop Lawrence's plan? Before they can do anything else, though, the ground beneath them collapses as the Cabernet arrives, leaving Lag and Gauche lost in a strange underground cavern...
I'm kind of losing track of the Cabernet now '" it's been on the scene and a definite threat for so many episodes now that it's amazing it hasn't been dealt with before now, but this series does so love to take two episodes to do something when one will do. This time around, after the previous episode dropped a few 'whu'!?' scenes into the mix that, depending on interpretation, would leave you wondering just who could be trusted, the series does just what I'd expect of it and ignores them, instead opting to flog the get-back-Gauche's-heart horse one more time for good measure.
This time, though, while Lag yet again fails to do what he set out to do, there's one scene along the way that answers a question that's remained unanswered since the very first episode of the first season: the fate of Lag's mother. Past the fact that she's been picked up by the government and hauled off to Akatsuki, there's been very little said about her in the 40-odd episodes since, although with details leaking out of what the government's been up to you maybe had a sneaking suspicion of what her fate had been. Now, we know '" and it's not what you would maybe have expected. I like surprises.
That one sequence takes up probably around half of the episode, but once it's done we're still left with being back on territory that we've been hanging around on for a while with not much sign of progress. We at least get the final emergence of the Cabernet, although dealing with it is left until next episode '" and that's pretty much it as far as events of note go.
Pacing has always been Tegami Bachi's big problem, and even now that we're down to just two episodes left it's not getting any better in that department. The eternal frustration I feel for the series, though, is relieved this time around by learning of the fate of Lag's mother '" and, if that's explored a little further, it'll be interesting to see how he deals with it. Onwards..!
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.