Captain Earth Ep. 8: Photo competitions are serious business

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The start of the anime is so chock full of stilted dialogue that it makes me cringe.

Moco: “We still have Setsuna’s capsule.”
Amara: “It’s only our Machine Goodfellows that are broken.”

Surely, Moco already knows that, so who is Amara explaining it to? The audience? Why would we assume that the other Machine Goodfellows would be broken as well?

Moco: “The other six Machine Goodfellows are here too.”
Amara: “And Puck’s given us the data for the other five children.”

Again, this is information that both characters should already know, so I’m not sure why they’re re-iterating it to each other. No, I get it. The audience doesn’t know any of this. Therefore, Amara and Moco are speaking so unnaturally in order to clue the audience in on their plans. But y’know, there is likely a better way to do this that doesn’t involve such stilted dialogue. For example, try removing these two characters from a room. Put them to action, for Christ’s sakes. Maybe open the episode with one or both of the villains closing in on the location of another designer children. The audience can then infer what Amara and Moco are up to. When you confine the characters to a room, however, you remove action as a potential visual narrative that the story can rely upon. After all, they’re just standing around and talking. What visual narrative can you possible derive from that?

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The dialogue is not as bad once the anime transitions back to the heroes. Even so, I’m really disappointed in the way Captain Earth has decided to relay its information to the audience. It’s still just a bunch of people sitting in a room and talking. There are other ways to do this. Why not overlay the dialogue over scenes of the characters traveling to their destination? Why not do something dynamic other than trapping the characters in a room? It might help if the anime would cut out some of the more extraneous bits of information. After all, why should it matter that the Earth Engine Impacter is still undergoing repairs? It’s not like Daichi’s going to intercept the humanoid Amara and Moco in his full-fledged, space-faring mecha that requires an entire minute of the episode’s runtime to assemble itself. So why are you telling me this? Why are you also telling me you can’t use the low-orbit Impacters? It’s just unnecessary information.

Anyway, our four kids get dressed up to the nines for this latest mission in Odaiba. Somehow, this features Daichi wearing an ascot. Who wears an ascot anymore, much less a child? Teppei is certainly sharper-looking in his suit. It’s interesting to me, however, how the anime has decided to dress up the girls. With Hana’s ridiculously large breasts, she naturally has to don a tight, form-fitting dress. Because Akari is the direct opposite — a pettanko — the outfit that she’s got on almost looks like a sleeping gown, i.e. it emphasizes how young and innocent she looks. To me, it’s all just incredibly silly. I don’t think either outfits are necessarily what teen girls would go for in such a situation. It definitely feels like the adults have picked the outfits out for them, which in itself should raise an eyebrow or two as well.

Despite being on a critical mission, however, Akari uses this opportunity for a bit of R&R. And being an anime girl, you know what that means: delicious caeki~

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The macaron on top of it all is what makes the damn thing so ostentatious. It has even been covered in some sort of sauce, so you can’t eat the macaron with your hands, but who eats a macaron with a fork? But I digress. On a more serious note, Akari suggests that they use Pitz’s predicting skills to win some easy money at the casino. Is no one else in this universe taken aback by the fact that there is a furry, little animal in the casino? It’s a bit odd that there are unattended minors in a casino too, but that’s not the strangest thing in the world. After all, our heroes supposedly have an excuse: “I told your manager we were observing for a school project.” But c’mon, there’s a blue, furry squirrel thing on top of Hana’s head. Why is nobody gawking at it?

This fuchsia-haired guy walks up to them and upon seeing the heroes banter with each other, he says, “I don’t have any friends, so I’m jealous.” Who does that? Who walks up to a group of people and announces to the whole world that he’s a loner? He’s obviously a designer children. After all, he keeps doing that thing with his right hand that Teppei liked to do as well. He’s also emo as hell as he goes on and on about how his hands will never hold anything. Furthermore, he tells our heroes that they’re not allowed in a casino because they’re minors, but we find out later he’s only seventeen. So, uh…

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Afterwards, Daichi and Teppei leave the girls behind to go and look for the Machine Goodfellow on their own. Well, it’s probably more appropriate to say that the girls have decided to screw around instead of doing their job. Last week, when we saw the girls put on those multi-colored bodysuits, I had wondered whether or not the two girls would take on a more active role in the story. Y’know, participate in a few action scenes of their own. The way they’ve acted so far in this episode, however, it doesn’t look as though they will. I mean, I honestly wish Akari and Hana wouldn’t just sit back and relegate themselves to playing the support to our two heroes, but maybe the writer thinks girls are too dainty to dashingly dodge bullets like Daichi is allowed to do.

Speaking of dodging bullets, Daichi eventually runs into Amara in a yard full of shipping containers. The latter taunts the former about his father before opening fire. After Daichi finds cover, however, Amara conveniently disappears and Teppei conveniently appears. Okay then… During this scene, Teppei continues to refer to his friend as Captain, which prompts Daichi to pout and whine about it. Sigh, really? Having such a reaction in the middle of a dangerous mission? Yeah, sending a bunch of kids to deal with such a serious situation sure is working out. The kids don’t stop getting any lamer from here on out. After all, I haven’t even told you about Zin, the fuchsia-haired kid, and his angst. Why do you suppose he’s so depressed?

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Naoko, a girl from Zin’s past, has come all the way out to the casino to talk to him. Apparently, he has dropped out of their high school. Why did he drop out though? We see a flashback scene in which another guy had lent Zin a camera. They each took pictures of Naoko, and Zin clearly took the better picture. Nevertheless, the other guy had taken credit for the picture and won first prize in some contest! Oh, woe is me! I lost a photo competition that was rightfully mine to win! Time to drop out of school and go on and on about how these hands will never hold anything. I mean, c’mon, this is the best backstory they could come up with for Zin? Then when the girl asks if it had really been him who had taken the winning picture, Zin doesn’t confess even though he clearly feels as though he’s been wronged. Man, what a stupid, gutless character already.

The casino boss’s right-hand man calls Zin in for a private meeting. Since Zin can manipulate the location of the roulette ball, he is potentially very valuable to the casino. The angsty kid bitterly comments, however, that no matter where he goes, people will always take advantage of him. Come now, bro. You brought this upon yourself. You’re such a weak-willed character. In any case, Amara and Moco eventually show up and crash the party. You’ll notice that blood is never shed in this anime. Amara simply socks the right-hand man hard in the stomach. Meanwhile, Moco walks up to ZIn and plants a kiss on him. This causes Zin’s memories to come flooding back as he now realizes his true identity. Nevertheless, is this memory-activating kiss specifically a Moco thing? Or can Amara do it too but we just won’t ever see it ’cause it’d be too gay even for an anime that goes on and on about libidos and orgone energy? Nevertheless, there are designer children out there that are girls, so I guess we’ll eventually see how their memories get jogged.

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Afterwards, Zin — or Zimbalt if you want to refer to his Kiltgang moniker — gets into an earthbound mecha of his own and does that whole “abreaction” thing. This necessitates a response from our heroes, but even though we’re not in space, the anime has to waste valuable time on an extended sequence in which Daichi and the Earth Engine Ordinary prepares itself for battle. Daichi and ZIn then fight each other, and the animation here is alright. Daichi is racing against time to stop the bad guys from transferring libido energy to the Kiltgang or something; the details aren’t terribly important. Of course, Daichi wins as expected, but of course, Zin gets away. He then swears that he’ll devour everyone’s libido. Cool.

All in all, this is not the worst episode Captain Earth has to offer, but it’s not very compelling either. The episode where Teppei goes to meet his father is still the only stand-out episode of the series thus far.


3 Replies to “Captain Earth Ep. 8: Photo competitions are serious business”

  1. The episode where Teppei goes to meet his father is still the only stand-out episode of the series thus far.

    Amusingly enough, that episode is probably the most disconnected from the series. It didn’t pick up from the previous eps, nor did it contribute to the episodes after it (well, aside from getting the whole Kivotos Plan plot into the story).

    And that’s still the biggest problem CE has. While I do like this episode (except for the clunky exposition), the series still can’t seem to gel enough to become one whole engaging story. I am still pretty much on a per-episode level of appreciation for it.

    1. Maybe it’s good ’cause it’s the most disconnected. And it’s the most disconnected because it’s the most human. The rest of the episodes have been a bunch of teehee libido and I’m-so-smart Shakespeare references that end up going absolutely nowhere.

      1. Agreed. Which is why I felt that it was a wasted episode. Wish they could have integrated it more into the series proper, instead of it feeling like just a ranbdom attempt at human drama.

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