With sixteen episodes under our belt, may as well keep trucking on with the seventeenth. Besides, I only drop a show at this late stage of the game if it’s either reprehensible (e.g. Kamisama Dolls) or I already know how it’s going to end (e.g. One Week Friends).
— So we have ourselves a new character: a cold-looking blonde woman by the name of Ando. She says something about HQ overriding Tsutomu’s attempts to bar Salty Dog employees from entering his control room. This reminds me how we’re on the seventeenth episode of the season, and I still don’t really know all that much about Globe or Salty Dog. For instance, Tanegashima is just one of many Globe bases across the entire world, and yet, it never feels like anyone’s doing anything but the Tanegashima Base. Is the rest of Globe just twiddling their thumbs or what? And who’s funding all of this? Where do they get the money to build three special mechas? Salty Dog seems to be full of investigators, but is that it? The entire organization? If not, then what do they even do? Y’know, maybe… maybe there just isn’t that much to know about Captain Earth‘s universe, but then seems kind of sad if you think about it.
— According to Tsutomu, rumor has it Ando is here to arrest Hana. That’s right, arrest. Under whose authority, though? Can she really just arrest people if Salty Dog wants her to? Are these characters under a completely different jurisdiction, and if they say, “Hand over Hana Mutou,” Tsutomu has no choice but to comply? I suppose I could just presume this, but that’s my beef with Captain Earth. Everything is just presumed, and nothing has been fleshed out. Its world feels hollow and gimmicky.
— Sorry, but Ando can’t arrest Hana even if she wanted to. Why? ‘Cause she’s in space, sticking her butt in our faces:
Proper world-building? Nah. Constant fanservice? Sure! When Hana finally takes her seat with the other two “sunbathing” girls — employees of the Tenkaidou — guess what the three them proceed to talk about. Guess! Guess! That’s right! They talk about who Hana likes! You know, the female characters on this show constantly take breaks from the action to relax and enjoy themselves, so you’d think they have the time to talk all about all sorts of interesting topics. But no, even on their vacation, they talk about boys. Fucking lame. Basically, strip these girls half-naked, then have them giggle over boys for an entire scene.
— Oh lord, Ando does that thing where she talks into her coffee cup. What gets me is that her coffee cup is even branded with the Salty Dog logo. Why do you guys even have branded coffee cups? Why! I realize it doubles as a communications device, but that makes it even dumber to brand the item!
— Belly Button Forte makes its lame comeback:
And it’s just as cringe-inducing as before. The characters even break the fourth wall today when Akari points her belly button in the audience’s direction. Right, right, I’m so hard-pressed for sex that I would get excited over a fucking belly button. If you counter with, “That was supposed to be funny,” what on earth is funny about a belly button? Why are you laughing at a belly button! What is wrong with you!
— So Puck’s just eye-fucking every pretty thing that crosses his path…
…at least someone’s enjoying himself. I didn’t know artificial intelligence could have sexual inclinations, though. Anyway, that’s it. That’s the entire scene. Puck tells the new girl that he’ll be free later that night, then we cut to Setsuna singing a song. Not only that, this is the only time Puck even appears in this week’s episode! And that’s a damn shame.
— For some reason, we get a scene in which Teppei explains the nature of the pendant that he and Daichi share. Okay, that is really new and exciting territory to cover.
— There are mechas shows out there with better action. There are certainly mecha shows out there with better stories. And if fanservice was all we cared about, there are mecha shows out there with better fanservice too! Captain Earth isn’t even all that silly. Like if we’re talking camp, this show doesn’t even come close to something like Star Driver. What does Captain Earth even excel at? What does it even do right? Why have you done this to me, Bones? Other than Space Dandy, which isn’t my thing but I can respect it, everything you’ve churned out since Un-Go has been utterly and painfully mediocre.
— Ando takes a look at three of the kids, then confirms that they are kids. Did she really need to come all the way out here to come to that conclusion, though? If Salty Dog is an intelligence-gathering organization, shouldn’t she have already known this? Seen pictures of them? Read their bios?
— Setsuna has two — two! — capsules ready for her friends to use, but… uh, only Amara, Moco, and Zin are ready to deploy. When Amara naturally wonders why the other designer children arenot around, Lin replies with — get this — “Leaving it to you.” As with Salty Dog, what do they even do? No, really, what are they fucking doing in their free time? We don’t know anything! “We have issues with teamwork,” Amara says. Hah.
— Apparently, Setsuna’s soft heart hasn’t gone unnoticed. Amara launches into a spiel about how Earthlings are unworthy of compassion: “They aren’t like us. Their lives are finite. When a finite life form evolves sentience, a destructive desire manifests deep with its heart. In the end, their race’s only purpose is to be eaten by us.” Obviously, he sees himself on top of the food chain, so we’re nothing but livestock to him. You can argue how we’re not supposed to eat anything that’s intelligent. For example, most of us wouldn’t eat dolphin meat. But still, that’s not even what I want to quibble with. Rather, it’s the third sentence that sticks out to me. “A destructive desire?” A destructive desire for what? Love? War? Bacon? I mean, c’mon, could you try explaining yourself a bit? But the show won’t. Therefore, I have no clue what Amara’s argument even is. I’m not saying he’s wrong. In fact, I can’t even say he’s wrong, because I have no clue what he’s talking about.
— Oh well, the episode is half over, so you know what that means: the designer children will attack. The action is actually starting a bit earlier in this week’s episode, but you’ll see why. Anyway, both Moco and Zin are on the move! Say, this is the first time we’ve seen Zin taken to space as Zimbalt, right? Oh boy, a new mecha!
— Can someone say e-e-e-expansion sequence?
Must be easy to keep the budget down when you can reuse so much material. Of course, I wouldn’t complain if the show was actually good. If the anime was actually enjoyable, then I’d just chalk these scenes up to mecha convention. When a show is bad, however, it fucking pours. Who the hell wants to watch the Earth Engine expand for the billionth time when you know you’re not even going to get kick-ass mecha action out of it?
— Since there are two Kiltgang threats, we must watch two expansion sequences. Yaaaaay! And this is why the “fighting” started earlier this week. We had to make room for two whole sequences. Fucking sweet, huh?
— Tsutomu gives the launch orders at around 11:12 on my media player. The two expansion sequences are complete at 14:04. That about says it all.
— After both Impacters have launched, Ando finally tells Tsutomu that she has already given the orders for Cerberus to launch. Well, gee, if you could’ve handed the problem yourself, then why didn’t you say so?
— Don’t worry, because we don’t have to watch Cerberus go through an expansion sequence.
After all, it’s unmanned: “Manned Impacters are behind the times, Science Chief.” I wonder if we’ll get some thinly-veiled commentary on how drones are bad.
— In just an instant, Moco has taken control of Cerberus. Welp, so much for that. As you can plainly see, unmanned Impacters suck because they can be turned against you. Meanwhile, our trusty shounen heroes can never be turned! Onward, Midsummer’s Knights! Anyway, Akari’s a super special hacker, right? Why doesn’t she hack Cerberus and reclaim control of it?
— Fighting between our heroes and the Kiltgang finally breaks out at 16:58, nearly six minutes after Tsutomu’s launch orders.
— “So you’ve been bitten by your own dog?” Groooooooan. But hey, Akari is typing furiously away at her station, because we all know hacking is basically just thinking up a billion strings of code on the fly.
— On the Tenkaidou, everyone’s looking all concerned and shit until Hana goes, “It’ll be okay.” Tsubaki then looks all stunned and wide-eyed for no reason.
You mean… you mean you’re actually optimistic about your friends’ chances? No way! Hana doesn’t even have anything profound to say: “Teppei and the captain won’t lose to them. They won’t!” Whoop-dee-fucking-doo.
— But like every battle scene we’ve ever seen in this anime, the good guys are losing until… they simply stop losing. Daichi and Teppei are on the ropes? Teppei’s Nebula Engine is still damaged from the previous fight? It’s okay. In an instant, the two kids become one and turn the fight around:
“It’s crazy, but they’re working well together.”
— “I’ve retaken Cerberus,” Akari exclaims. Yep, the anime is so goddamn predictable.
— Somehow, Akari hacks the Kiltgang themselves, causing the bad guys to lose control of their mechas. Not only that, their Ego Blocks are revealed to the world:
As you can see, Moco’s Ego Block is located in her mecha’s crotch for some reason. The good guys then try to destroy said Ego Blocks, but it fails anyway. It turns out the Ego Blocks can only be destroyed by their respective owners… “[f]or now,” Teppei adds. Still, another episode, another fight, another victory. Conflicts never seem to span more than a single episode. The good guys always come up with a victory plan somehow. Yawn.
— How can Hana be so confident in her friends? ‘Cause they’re a team! Yay!
— Frustrated with their losses, Amara suggests that the next time they launch, they all launch at once. Setsuna’s been having trouble gathering up enough Orgone energy to supply her subjects with enough capsules. But who knows! Maybe something will change and she’ll somehow find enough energy for all seven of them! In any case, even though this is the first time we’ve seen Zimbalt in action, I can’t really tell if there’s anything special about him. And if the bad guys are all going to launch at once the next time they fight, will we even get to see anything special about Bugbear and Siren? Probably not…