Took me a while to get around to writing this up - a combination of other things to do, and the amount of time I was spending banging my head off the table at the enormity of the missed opportunity that this series has turned out to be. When you've got a problem that genuinely involves the fate of the world and a lead on the location of your missing mother, could you really just go back to delivering the mail..?
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.
The Cabernet, having gained the strength it needs from absorbing Lawrence's heart, turns and heads for Amberground's artificial sun. If nothing is done to stop it, the sun will fall and the world will lose its light - and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that that would be a Bad Thing-'. With Gauche seriously injured, it seems to be falling on Lag to be the one to deal with the Cabernet - with the added incentive that his mother will be waiting for him at the sun. And so Lag, carrying with him the hopes of everyone in Yuusari Central, undertakes one more delivery...
Gaaah. The thing that most drew me to Tegami Bachi across both its seasons was the setting - it seems to be an artificial world, with an artificial sun, and what this season reveals about it is really, really intriguing stuff. I wanted to know more about that side of things and, early in the season, the storyline seemed to be going in that direction - and I was loving it at that stage, in anticipation of the big reveal about this fascinating world.
It never happened. Instead, the series picked two lesser arcs out of the big picture and concentrated on them, leaving things about the wider world unresolved in what seems to be a "go read the manga" move. That would be fine if the arcs that got focussed on were particularly interesting, but they're not. This episode ties up the second of those arcs, dealing with the Cabernet that Reverse has unleashed on the land - and with us having taken so long to get to this point, it's such an anticlimax that my response was just "Great, thank **** for that...". Move along, nothing to see here. And from there, rather than try to find out more about the artificial sun that's quite literally draining the life from the land and the heart from its people, or head for Akatsuki to find Lag's missing mother - who we know from earlier episodes is alive and intricately linked with that artificial sun - the series sends the remnants of Reverse sent off into early retirement, the Bees returning to their normal deliveries, and Lag settling down to life with Niche and Sylvette - which I hesitate to call normal, but still. There are far bigger things going on in this world that they've all played a part in, and they all just move along and seemingly forget about them. And that makes no sense so me.
As an episode taken on its own, this is okay - it ties up its arc in a decent enough way. But as an ending to a series that at one point looked as though it was going to deal with far bigger fish, it's woefully lacking. Very disappointing.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple MacBook Pro 17" with 4GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.