Ten years ago, we see a younger Setsuna (she already looks incredibly young in the first place) sing at the urging of some man. When she acquiesces, high-density libido starts to materialize. Think about the implications here. A man in a suit tells a little girl to “sing,” and when she does so, sexual energy increases. It’s enough to make you cringe. But here we are again with the latest designer child of the week. Thankfully, once we’re done with Setsuna, there’ll only be one left… I hope. We still haven’t gotten into the matter of the little girl who had given Daichi his Livlaster in the first place, but oh well, that’s for later! Anyway, Setsuna’s Kiltgang name is Siren. Get it? ‘Cause she sings? Clever, clever. Unlike the previous designer children, however, Setsuna doesn’t seem to have much angst to explore. She likes to draw, but all she ever draws are pictures of Lappa, her PItz-like pet. At Mao’s request, Setsuna also goes to the pool daily, swimming at least 1,200 meters every chance she gets. But honestly, this is pretty much all we learn about Setsuna. Whereas the other episodes had focused on the designer children’s insecurities and dissatisfaction with day-to-day human existence, Setsuna seems perfectly content. Well, she was until Mao tried to steal her body or, at the very least, create a second version of herself.
Near the end of the episode, we see Setsuna strapped into one of Mao’s mind-altering contraptions. Mao laughs maniacally (it’s an evil scientist thing), then leans in to kiss her apparently unconscious test subject. This somehow triggers a memory in Setsuna, where she remembers Mao saying that the designer children were possibly created to become vessels for human consciousness. Considering how they are currently human avatars for the Kiltgang, Mao isn’t too far off. Still, it seems as though the crazy scientist wishes to implant her consciousness into Setsuna’s body or something close to that. In doing so, Mao would achieve immortality, but it would come at the expense of a young girl. She’s like some modern day Elizabeth Bathory, I guess, but instead of consuming your blood, she’s toying with your dreams. If you’re so inclined, I suppose you could draw a connection between youthfulness and dreams. But anyway, Setsuna wakes up just in time, however, to make her getaway. Before Mao could stop her, Ban shows up and puts a bullet through her head. It seems our assistant knows more than he had originally let on.
We then see Ban driving off with Mao’s dead body and something called the “Install device.” Oh yeah, Ban is speaking to a “Robin-sama,” the same mysterious person that was supposedly funding Mao’s research. In a previous post, I had wondered if Robin was just another alias for Puck. Robin-sama’s voice sounds nothing like Puck, but we can easily imagine that the AI has the capabilities to disguise its voice. Is Puck truly the mastermind behind the scenes, pulling all the strings? As for Setsuna, I guess this designer child’s story will take more than a single week to resolve. That’s the thing with this episode, though. It’s heavily flashback-laden. Not only that, it seems very disconnected as we jump from one party to the next, and rarely do those parties interact in any meaningful way.
For example, we see Akari and Hana show off a bit of skin at an indoor pool. Hana even starts to feel guilty about the rather limited supporting roles they play in the story: “Akari, do we really have the time to be having fun like this?” Akari replies that the team’s supposed motto is that they should “do what [they] have to, when [they] have to.” The implication here is that the girls never have to do anything. They both provide some intel, and when the boys hop into the mechas, Akari provides some ground support. And that’s pretty much it. Since nothing is going on at the moment, the girls may as well give us fanservice, right? Eh. In any case, this is where they bump into Setsuna, but all that results from this encounter is a rather lame conversation. Pitz and Lappa also run into each other, and the two animals make a lot of ruckus. This is where Hana and Akari should probably have gone, “Hmm, isn’t it strange that this new girl seems to have a magical squirrel of her own?” C’mon, draw the connection! Draw the freakin’ connection! For Christ’s sakes, it’s even pink. When do you ever see a pink squirrel? Instead, all Akari does is moan that she can’t be a heroine without a squirrel of her own. Sigh.
Naturally, only the boys are allowed to see any real action. After all, there’s still the matter of finding Setsuna before the villains get to her. So when we see Daichi and Teppei again, they are about to investigate the very same research facility where Setsuna and Mao are currently residing. Apparently, Akari had managed to connect the facility to Macbeth Enterprises at some point offscreen. We just don’t get to see it though, because it is more important to devote precious screentime to Hana’s giant rack. Hey, it makes Akari boob-jealous, so it’s worth. But I digress. Before our two heroes can even get very far, however, Amara and Moco appear right behind them. The villains seem surprised to bump into the two kids, but how convenient is that? They both run into each other at the same location. Maybe Daichi and Teppei should’ve picked a better place to scope out the research facility.
The designer children quickly whip out submachine guns, but they have the aim of a Star Wars‘ stormtrooper. I like action as much as the next guy, but this kind of action is superfluous. You know it will lead nowhere. Captain Earth isn’t the type of show to kill off any of its major characters at such an early point in the narrative. This isn’t even the type of show where the major characters would suffer any major wounds. As a result, this scene is nothing more than a bunch of useless, flashing lights and rattling, bullet noises. It’s utterly pointless. To top it all off, the pointlessness is reinforced by the way the scene ends. Teppei protects Daichi from a hail of bullets by somehow firing a shield out of his Livlaster. That’s cool. But when Daichi turns to fire his Livlaster at the villains, they have instantly disappeared! Poof! Gone!
Well, that was a fruitful scene. It even had a flashback of its own too! After all, if Amara and Moco are doing all the awakening, Teppei wonders, then who awakened them? We are then treated to yet another flashback in which we get to see a younger Amara and Moco operate the Machine Goodfellows for the first time. It seems that this is how they had originally awakened. Still, I can’t be impressed with how Bones is handling these encounters. Oh crap, we need to waste some time. Let’s have the villains show up, and then we’ll have the two sides posture at each other for a few minutes. The villains will then empty their limitless supply of bullets into the landscape, because they can’t aim for shit. Our heroes will hide for a bit. Oh, have we killed enough time? Great! The bad guys can now disappear into thin air and advance the plot!
As for Rita, she has gone to see some bartender who used to be a detective. She’s pretending to be a journalist, but apparently, he can see right through her: “Women like you give me the creeps. You’re not afraid to lie with a straight face if it’ll get you what you want.” I’m not sure how lying with a straight face is a gender-specific trait, but he’s surrounded by alcohol. I’m not inclined to trust his judgment. In any case, Rita is here to get some information about the Kanda incident. The bartender tells us things like how the CEO at the time committed suicide after the Kube family had pinned the blame on him, the current executives are members of Kube family, so on and so forth. Rita also repeats some of the stuff we’ve known for quite some time, like how Macbeth Enterprises had created the six designer children to operate their Machinie Goodfellows. Eventually, however, she gets to the heart of the matter: what had happened to those six designer children?
The former detective reveals the truth: he had actually been fired. After the six designer children were taken into police custody, all the files on them were mysteriously destroyed one day. The kids were then moved to unspecified locations, and when the former detective had tried to look into the matter, he got sacked. But that’s about it. The bartender knows nothing more. He tells Rita that the children were numbered three through eight, but they only ever found six children. But we already knew there eight designer children, didn’t we? The anime cuts to Kube having a conversation with Puck. He suddenly thinks back to a conversation with Kanda. Right before the former CEO had committed suicide, he told Kube that someone else was setting him up. Hm. Back in the present time, Kube asks Puck if the latter would ever kill anyone. Puck claims he would never do such a thing, but the “camera” lingers on Kube’s face. We then see another flashback, this time with Kanda lying dead on the ground. Who else could’ve had the know-how and the means to set the former CEO up? Puck hilariously adds, however, that “Puck does not lie.” With all the Robin-sama stuff, we know that Puck has definitely been a busy body.
Anyway, this episode feels like one of the weaker ones. It’s full of exposition, full of flashbacks, and low on meaningful characterizations. With only a couple weeks left in the spring season, let’s see if Captain Earth can at least end its first cour on a high note.
— Akari: “Only children come to the pool to swim.” Uh huh…
— This screenshot is pretty funny out of context.