We’re only two episodes in and we’re already resorting to this.
I have pretty mixed feelings about this week’s episode, so I’m going to start out with the good and end with the bad. The scope of this season is so much larger and the stakes are so much higher that I find myself much more invested in what’s going on. Instead of being focused solely on Kamogawa, we see representation of the two main star systems, Le Garite and De Metrio, and it makes for a much better stage than just the ocean base and city that we got last season.
Seeing so many more problems make the issues feel more real than just this abstract problem of people attacking Kamogawa for no apparent reason. I like the idea of De Metrio and Le Garite both trying to solve the same problem in completely different ways, and how we get a lot of moral grey area between the two empires. Although Le Garite seems to be the more upstanding, law-abiding empire, we see that they are willing to sacrifice another planet to preserve their own. And although De Metrio was behind the attacks on Kamogawa and seem to be almost like space pirates, they don’t want to sacrifice Le Garite in order to save themselves.
This kind of large, sticky situation that involves lots of people doing bad things and good things makes for a setting I genuinely enjoy. Poor Asteria is stuck in the middle of things, trying to mediate between the warring empires and also try and figure out a way to use the Vox that doesn’t end in destruction. We’re seeing her as more of a leader now and less of a little girl running around at the cultural festival.
My issues lie almost exclusively with Madoka this episode. I’m not a blind follower of authority, but unless you have a really damn good reason, I think that you should follow the lead of your authority figures. Just being the hero/heroine of the story isn’t a good enough reason to put situations and people in jeopardy, which is exactly what Madoka did for purely selfish reasons. I like how brash Madoka can be, but she just pushes it to a new level in this episode. She blatantly ignores Todokoro’s attempts to make her aware of how sensitive the political situation is, and she blows him off because she wants to find her friends. That is her only goal, and she started the snowball rolling down the hill for a serious political upheaval that she doesn’t even have to deal with; it all falls on Ateria.
I enjoy heroes/heroines who overcome oppressive authority to do what they know is best, especially when they’ve come into knowledge that the government or system over them doesn’t have and could change the tides in a positive way. That, however, is not what took place in this episode, and Madoka’s constant defiance and insistance to act her own way made me wrinkle my nose. And don’t even get me started on the little lesbian threesome make-out scene at the end. I know, this sounds weird coming from the Yuru Yuri fangirl, but this is not the genre. This is a space opera, not a lesbian comedy.
So although there were things to like in this episode, the unneeded lesbian scenes and blockheaded attitude of Madoka left a really sour taste in my mouth. Although the scope is bigger and the stakes are higher, I don’t think Madoka really has a sense of how big a deal this is and how seriously she needs to take it if she’s going to get involved. I hope she’ll come to her senses.
GO Rating: 2.5/5
The higher the stakes get in this anime, the more I want to throw Madoka off the air carrier with an anvil strapped to her legs. There wasn’t much going on this episode until the last five minutes, so I’ll discuss the other fifteen first. We see Madoka being very concerned that Lan and Muginami are so worried about their brothers, and rightly so; the galactic conference is coming to Kamogawa, and it’s a very high tension situation with the possibility of genocide hanging heavy over everyone’s heads. I don’t blame Lan and Muginami for sitting in melancholic silence while watching the news coverage in the weeks leading up to the conference, but Madoka wants absolutely none of that.
This is a situation that’s so much bigger than her, and while I can very much relate to how badly she wants to help, her insistance that if Vilagulio and Dizelmine sit down and talk it out that they can be ~friends~ just really grinds my gears. It’s the kind of meddlesome, self-righteous attitude that just absolutely drives me up a wall. Madoka has gone from being a heroine that I rather enjoyed and respected to a kind of tropish ~friendship~ leader. I understand that she wants to do anything and everything she can to help her friends, but to believe that a teenage girl knows the best way to solve a high-tension intergalactic conflict through ~friendship~ of all things just really pisses me off. It trivializes the situation and the people involved.
I do have to give the show some credit for throwing not just a wrench but an entire toolbox in the machine by the reappearance of Yurikano (Villagulio’s sister and former Vox pilot) in the most unorthodox way. We saw her briefly in the first season, including a rather peaceful scene with her on the beach with Madoka which is now quite at odds with the shrieking strawberry jelly harpy we saw try to strangle Madoka in the cockpit. And to put the cherry on top of the pie, we see Yurikano as we’ve seen her before, but alive and with Dizelmine. What?!
Yurikano is the mystery in the series that intrigues me the most. Is she alive or dead? Is she just part of the strawberry jelly residue of space? Is the girl with Dizelmine a clone or actually a resurrected Yurikano? And even if it IS Yurikano’s body, that strawberry jelly harpy might be the actual personality of Yurikano, and if so, who exactly is in her body? I was prepared to give this episode a pretty low rating in light of Madoka’s insensitivity, but I am so thrilled by the sudden turn of events that I’m eagerly anticipating the new episode. Excellent plot decision.
GO Rating: 4/5