SUBWATCHER EPISODE 19 – LET THE SHOW GO ON

A NOTE OF WARNING

This post is NSFW. And I mean very, very, very NSFW. As in, naked Skunk and naked Buppa have nothing on this, even though those were most definitely worthy of this same warning. Enter with caution.

LAST TIME ON SUBWATCHER, THE PROTAGONISTS OF ALL FOUR SHOWS WENT IN IT TO WIN IT, WITH VARYING DEGREES OF SUCCESS.

KICKING THINGS OFF WAS GINTAMA, WHOSE RETURN FROM THE UNDERLYING PLOT DIDN’T NECESSARILY MEAN THINGS WERE GOING TO GO BACK TO BEING ALL FUN AND GAMES. THE MYSTERIOUS MASKED LOINCLOTH BANDIT, A VIGILANTE WHO STEALS PANTIES FROM CUTE GIRLS AND GIVES THEM TO THE LOSERS OF THE WORLD, STRUCK OTAE’S PLACE, AND SHE. IS. PISSED. SEEKING REVENGE AGAINST THIS PERVERTED ROBIN HOOD, OTAE CALLED UPON THE HELP OF THE YOROZUYA AND THE SHINSENGUMI TO TAKE HIM DOWN. BUT WHEN YOUR ASSOCIATES ARE INCOMPETENT, FORGETFUL, AND IN SOME CASES PERVERTED, YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR CHANCES… BUT IN THE END, THE MASKED LOINCLOTH BANDIT WAS DEFEATED… AND SO WERE OUR HEROES. OH WELL…

THEN, ON SCI-FI HARRY, HARRY’S ABDUCTION BY THE ACCUSER HAS LED FROM THE NEED TO ESCAPE, TO ACTUALLY GOING THROUGH WITH IT. SO MUCH FOR KATE AND STANLEY… BUT WHAT’S EVEN MORE TROUBLESOME IS JOHN’S SEARCH TO FIND HARRY’S KIDNAPPERS. THE POLICE WON’T COOPERATE WITH HIM, AND THE FBI IS PRESSURING HIM TO STAY OUT OF THE CASE, BUT AFTER MUCH INVESTIGATION, JOHN FINALLY HAS A LEAD, AND THE TRUTH BEHIND THAT LEAD LIES IN RYAL’S HANDS. WITH MIKE ON HIS SIDE, JOHN’S READY TO DRAW OUT THE ACCUSER, EVEN IF IT KILLS HIM.

AFTERWARDS, ON NEEDLESS, THE GANG’S JOURNEY TO LEARN ABOUT SIMEON AND ADAM ARCLIGHT FROM THE AGES-OLD INFORMANT DISC WAS CUT SHORT WITH THE ARRIVAL OF TWO AGENTS FROM SIMEON’S BEAUTIFUL GIRLS’ SQUADRON: THE SPEEDY, TOMBOYISH SETSUNA, AND THE QUIET YET DANGEROUS KUCHINASHI. TO PROTECT THE INFORMATION THEY SO DESIRED FROM IRON MOUNTAIN, BLADE AND EVE WENT OUT TO FIGHT THE TWO NEEDLESS UNTIL IT WAS TIME TO CLOSE THEM OUT. BUT IT DOESN’T END THERE… MIO, THE YOUNG GIRL WHO TAGGED ALONG WITH THE GROUP TO IRON MOUNTAIN WAS ACTUALLY THE MISSING THIRD MEMBER OF THE GIRLS’ SQUADRON, AND WITH HER, SHE BROUGHT ALONG A HOSTAGE. BUT WHETHER IT WAS CRUZ LIKE SHE INTENDED, OR EVE LIKE SHE ENDED UP GETTING, THE ONLY WAY TO SMOKE OUT BLADE NOW IS TO LURE HIM OUT WITH A FELLOW ALLY…

MICHIKO TO HATCHIN CLOSED THINGS OUT WITH MICHIKO’S RETURN TO HER CHILDHOOD HOME OF VERMELHA. IT WAS THERE TWELVE YEARS AGO THAT SHE MET HIROSHI MORENOS, AND IT WAS ALSO THERE THAT HER INVOLVEMENT IN THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE GANGS OF FANTASMA AND PETRO MONSTRO GOT HER ARRESTED. HIROSHI’S FRIEND, SATOSHI BATISTA, IS MICHIKO’S GREATEST CHANCE OF LEARNING HIROSHI’S ULTIMATE FATE, BUT BECAUSE OF THE DANGER THAT’S COMING HER WAY, THIS MEANS A DIFFICULT DEPARTURE WITH HANA. A REALLY DIFFICULT DEPARTURE. NOW, WITH THE NEW LEADER OF FANTASMA AFTER MICHIKO’S BLOOD, AND SOME OF THEIR MEMBERS HAVING KIDNAPPED HANA, THE DIVIDE BETWEEN THE TWO HAS GOTTEN EVEN MORE DANGEROUS.

WHEN YOU’RE FACE TO FACE WITH DANGER, THE THING TO DO IS FIGHT YOUR WAY THROUGH IT. WHETHER IT BE IN THE FORM OF A GANG, A SEA CREATURE, A MAZE OF TRAPS, OR AN UNASSUMING FACE… IT’S BEST TO WATCH YOUR BACK WHEN LOOKING INTO THE FACE OF DANGER. IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO SURVIVE ITS WRATH, AFTER ALL.

UP NEXT ON SUBWATCHER

EPISODE 19: LET THE SHOW GO ON

WHY INTERRUPT WHEN YOU CAN SEE WHERE THINGS HEAD?

Gintama Title

Starting out this post’s Gintama is the return of Ginpachi-sensei, who answers the age-old question, “Does Gintoki have more to his wardrobe than just the one kimono?” The answer is that he does. But much like every main character not from Bleach, Yuruyuri, or any other anime/cartoon with a known variety of clothes, Gintoki has four of the same kimono, each with distinct differences invisible to the standard human eye.

"Let's see... should I go with the one missing a thread, or the one with the extra inch of length?"

“Let’s see… should I go with the one missing a thread, or the one with that whipped cream stain on the left side?”

A miscalculation about the Lupin canon (he wore three jackets, not just one) and some complaints about the budget later, and “Go to hell, Onishi-san” should be pleased.

Anyways, back to the show. As they are normally, pachinko buddies Gintoki and Hasegawa are flat broke after another morning of losing their life savings in their game of choice. This day in particular is a hot one, since it’s the middle of summer and all, which the two use to their advantage in covering up their major losses. That plan, however, goes to bust when some poor sap trying to buy some ice pops (since they’re all anyone can afford in this particular midsummer recession) drops his change, and Madao and Madao Jr. decide to jump on this opportunity while they can.

When the money's on the floor, it's up for grabs. Rules of the Recession, people.

When the money’s on the floor, it’s up for grabs. Rules of the Recession, people.

Scaring the guy off with their rush for his cash, Gintoki and Hasegawa buy two ice pops and eat them while going on about their sucky lives. Gintoki starts to regret the greedy desires of gambling that overcame him before his loss, but Hasegawa focuses on more socially philosophical things, like how reality shaped him from a hopeful kid with dreams to a Dumb Old Retarded Kook, and how money earned is worth more than money found. The one thing the both of them are talking about in their go-nowhere conversation, though, are ways to get quick cash. Soon enough, they find their opportunity when they overhear a couple getting too intimate for public talk about how there’s some sort of mysterious space creature lurking at the beach that’s preventing any potential vacationers from swimming in the ocean, and that there’s a bounty on its head that will go to whoever catches and/or kills it. Gintoki and Hasegawa see this as their best opportunity at getting more to eat than ice pops that even they can’t afford normally.

"Honey, how long have these people been voyeur-ing us?"

“Honey, how long have these people been voyeur-ing us?”

Almost immediately, Gintoki and Hasegawa call upon Shinpachi, Kagura, Sadaharu, and Otae to join them on their trip to the beach to vanquish the beach alien, though they take it less as a matter of work and more as one of play, if their cold opening-proposed change of costume says anything of importance. And by “they”, I mean Gintoki.

"Shut up! This is a rental, and I have to return it by sundown or else it's lights out for our series!"

“Shut up! This is a rental, and I have to return it by sundown or else it’s lights out for our series!”

Although Shinpachi’s summer beachgoer getup and Otae’s white kimono with purple interior lining should receive some recognition as well, since they’re more on topic with “playing at the beach” than Gintoki’s pastel blue kimono is.

Because the group is tight on cash, they can’t purchase a car to take down to the beach (much to the disappointment of Kagura, who made an outdated mix tape for the occasion) and they can’t afford train tickets. Riding the rails in secret, taking a taxi, and even flying there on one of the many Amanto aircrafts flying over Edo won’t do any good, so Otae, the only one with common sense, steps in to suggest how to get to the beach on the cheap.

Her plan: hitchhike their way there. Otae has the men in the group (plus Sadaharu) hitchhike like an attractive woman would, and not by way of a sexy wink or showing some leg.

Not even the ones whose drivers are into drag queens.

Not even the ones whose drivers are into drag queens.

The method is as follows: chest puffed up (to emphasize the bosom), stomach tucked in (to emphasize the buttocks), hands on head (to emphasize the armpits), and because this is Gintama and Otae’s just as crazy as the rest of them (besides Takasugi), she kicks them out in the middle of the road to stop the car since that sort of thing would never work if men were the ones hitchhiking that way.

And yet it hurt much less than when they got hit by Prince Baka's limousine.

And yet it hurt much less than when they got hit by Prince Baka’s limousine.

While the hitchhiking was successful, the trip to the beach is much less so. With Otae sitting up front and everyone else (Sadaharu included) crammed in the back, that would be enough to consider the trip uncomfortable. But to call their entire trip in the car uncomfortable would be an understatement of the highest degree. (Yes, even higher than Sweetie Millie being called a filthy rat girl.) With Kagura trying to find a place to play her mix tape, Shinpachi complaining about Kagura pushing into his wounds, Hasegawa’s nostrils being assaulted by the driver’s cologne, and Sadaharu peeing all over the backseat, sure enough the car crashes and the group is reduced to their last resort option: walking there in the blistering heat.

Anything hotter, and there would be casualties.

Anything hotter, and there would be casualties.

And with the heat as it was, there would’ve been. Gintoki’s so tired that he feels as if 3 kilometers were equal to 200; Shinpachi’s thirsty to the point of having wrinkly grey lips, and he can’t get to their water supply through the wire Kagura applied to it; and Hasegawa actually passes out in the middle of the street and gets the left side of his face cooked by a steaming hot manhole cover. Luckily, their worries about dying come to rest when they see the beach on the horizon.

"UMI DA!"

“UMI DA!”

Luckily for anime fans sick of that cliche, the group instead just marveled at the ocean’s beauty and rushed over as fast as they could without saying a single facepalmworthy word.

When the group gets down there, however, they learn from the owner of the beach (or at least, he operates the sole yakisoba stand along the property the beach is on) that he was the one who put up the bounty for the sea alien, claiming that it would bring back the customers the alien’s appearance drove off. Not to mention that it began as a joke, which pisses off Gintoki and Hasegawa, to say the least. But joke or not, at least they’ll get some pay out of it.

"Oh yeah? It's probably just as worthless as that bleach job and tan. Now way working out in the sun for so long would make it that perfect."

“Oh yeah? It’s probably just as worthless as that bleach job and tan. No way working out in the sun for so long would make it that perfect.”

That pay, however, isn’t of the monetary form, or even of an edible state like the yakisoba Kagura eats off his grill. The pay are shirts that say “Beach Samurai”, which, after asking for proof of their existence, Gintoki, Shinpachi, and Hasegawa wear while waiting for the alien to show up.

"Thanks. Same to you two."

“Thanks. Same to you two.”

After having sat out on the beach for nearly long enough to make the beach manager beg them to untie him from the binds they trapped him in, Gintoki thinks that maybe he should do something else on the beach than wait for the alien to appear. It says nothing of whether he still wants to do it or not (probably not, since his pay was just a crummy shirt), but for Hasegawa, he definitely wants to go through with taking down the alien, not just for the shirt, but as part of his personal duty.

This complicated duty starts with the topic of picking up one’s self when they are down, be it emotionally or literally. According to Hasegawa, there’s two categories people fall into when it comes to picker-uppers: those who place themselves better than those worse off, and those who raise themselves to the challenges placed before them. As expected, Hasegawa belongs to the latter category. This ties into the fact that he’s also sticking with the mission due to his connection with the ocean. Whenever he found himself in trouble, Hasegawa went to the ocean to help realize how tiny he was in comparison to the might of the Pacific. He went there often, and learned a lot from the ocean, to the point of considering it his teacher and his textbook.

"It was a special relationship because when she left me for a younger, handsomer man, she cared enough to not consider me Madao."

“It was a special relationship because when she left me for a younger, handsomer man, she cared enough to not consider me Madao.”

Basically, what Hasegawa is trying to say is that if he needs something to fall back on when he’s down, he relies on the ocean every time. And because this job he took involves the ocean, he feels that the job is of higher significance to him than the money.

Wise words, but like most of his words, they fail to draw the others into listening. But even though they deserve listeners, Gintoki and Shinpachi failed to listen to the last minute or so for good reason: Otae reached an agreement with the community association in charge of the beach, and promised that they’ll get something more valuable than a T-shirt (hopefully in monetary form) in return.

That plan in place, the group stands on the beach and waits, having tied the beach manager to a wooden cross and set him out in the ocean as bait for the alien.

Dude, your noodles suck. That's reason enough for your job as sacrifice to the ocean.

Dude, your noodles suck. That’s reason enough for your role as sacrifice to the ocean.

After waiting long enough for the beach manager to start complaining and whining and begging to be let down, Gintoki and Shinpachi start wondering if the alien’s even in the sea anymore. Hasegawa assures them it is, and that he’s more than ready to take it down like a true man would: with a harpoon.

And the mandatory hot-blooded art shift in both animation and background categories.

And the mandatory hot-blooded art shift in both animation and background categories.

Again, nobody bothers to pay attention to Hasegawa. Gintoki and Shinpachi have gone with their guts and went out in the water to lounge around, while Kagura stands by with her parasol to protect her from the sun, since she can’t go out into the water with her Yorozuya comrades. Otae, however, did listen to Hasegawa’s claim, and understands his feelings more than the rest, but Hasegawa thinks that taking her word for it would be kind of a stretch, especially when she offers him some of her homecooked omelets to sate his hunger before the fight, one of which he reluctantly eats. Now, I don’t know how these poor, innocent, abused eggs would taste, but they’re definitely crunchy, which is what eggs, blackened on accident or no, should not be.

Unless burning them to a crisp was your intention... but still. That shit ain't natural.

Unless burning them to a crisp was your intention… but still. That shit ain’t natural.

Back to Kagura, her inability to bask in the happiness of swimming that Gintoki and Shinpachi are able to experience inspires her to pick up a large boulder and prepare to throw it at them. But before she can, the alien finally makes its appearance, taking the bait of the beach manager on a wooden cross and chasing Gintoki and Shinpachi back onto land. So much for facing the monster like men… But because the beach manager is pissed about all that happened to him today, he starts rooting for the alien to win… while the cross he’s tied to is still in its mouth.

"And you better believe that I'm not gonna clean it up like usual!"

“And you better believe that I’m not gonna clean it up like usual!”

Taking note of the boulder Kagura picked up earlier, Otae tells her to throw it at the alien in an attempt to take it out. Kagura agrees and hurls the boulder at the alien. However, there’s two problems with that: first, Hasegawa was holding onto the boulder, so he got hurled as well; second, the boulder missed the alien and hit Gintoki and Shinpachi instead.

"Serves them right for swimming without considering that Yamato can't swim without bigger protection than a parasol!"

“Serves them right for swimming without considering that Yamato can’t swim without bigger protection than a parasol!”

However, as Hasegawa discovers, after surviving the boulder and losing his sunglasses, the alien wasn’t the enemy after all. It somehow sensed that Kagura was going to throw the boulder at it, and while it was luck that the boulder missed its target, it saved Gintoki and Shinpachi from being crushed by it.

Some time later, Hasegawa and Gintoki, having scrounged up enough stray change from their pachinko losses to purchase more ice pops and a newspaper, discuss it. Hasegawa comes to the conclusion that the alien was just there to have some fun with them, frightening appearance aside, and that it understood his feelings more than anyone. Even Gintoki, who actually bothered to listen to Hasegawa talk about his feelings, and tell him that his beliefs come more from the soul than the mind. In the end, Hasegawa comes to the conclusion that the alien is a good person, not just because of its actions that day, but because only good people live at sea. All the dirt and scum is washed off in the process. Well, most of it.

It's one thing to lie about the monster, but exploit it for cash? Low blow.

It’s one thing to lie about the monster, but exploit it for cash? Low blow.

This episode, like a lot of the others, was alright. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t think it was the best thing to come out of the series thus far (through my perspective). Though I have to say, the fact that it involved Hasegawa quite a lot was a plus, and nothing managed to break continuity or cause plotholes, which people just love to complain about for the sake of complaining about it. Other than that, there’s not much to say. It’s probably the stress of a new year (and the five months following). Yeah, that’s it…

However, there’s plenty to say about Sci-Fi Harry. Especially seeing how the first major series arc has reached its conclusion.

Last episode, Harry successfully escaped the Accuser’s (presumed) central testing facility by way of psychic powers. His biggest test now is to pull it off. Because the Accuser views Harry as important to their cause, Kate immediately assigns (and leads) a search party to find Harry and bring him back to the facility as soon as possible.

"Smells as it looks: dirts, leaves, and twigs. The McQuinn kid clearly isn't here."

“Smells as it looks: dirts, leaves, and twigs. He’s not here, that’s for sure.”

Harry manages to avoid the Accuser’s forces by hiding under the body of water surrounding the facility, and once on land, hiding from any passing cars and soldiers that belong to the “rescue” party. He keeps running to avoid the helicopters sent out, and manages to avoid them through his own clumsiness, which is basically tripping over a stray tree root and running down a steep hill. So far so good, but it still causes Harry some pain and fear. That is, supposedly, until help arrives. And guess who it is…

"I heard the main character was in trouble. Care if I assist?"

“I heard the main character was in trouble. Care if I assist?”

"I don't really get what's going on here, but... sure, I guess."

“I don’t really get what’s going on here, but… sure, I guess.”

Yep. The girl from before – the one who looked down at Harry in his Accuser-provided room, the one who gave Elliot psychic powers – arrives to help Harry escape the Accuser. Seeing no other option, he accepts.

Let’s put that piece of plot aside for later, and focus on the more deeply involved/developed plot: John’s plot. Earlier that day, he got a phone call from Ryal confirming that he had a copy of Harry’s performance – not a master, but a definite clue as to what was behind the mass broken neck events that occurred – and was told to come pick it up. He and Mike made it over to Ryal’s house, but much to their surprise, when they get there, Ryal is dead.

The funny thing is, I actually expected this to happen.

The funny thing is, I actually expected this to happen.

But much to my surprise, the Feds weren’t the ones who killed Ryal, nor did he get killed just as he opened the door Landshark-style. According to the on-site testimony given by Ryal’s wife, Myscylus Mick was the one at who came to the door, and after who-knows-what (most likely a continuation of an earlier over-the-phone argument), Ryal’s neck snapped just like all the other broken neck cases, and Mick ran off right after. This makes him the prime suspect in Ryal’s death, and confirms John’s suspicions about who did it; because if anyone had a grudge against Ryal, it was Mick. John believes this is piece of evidence is good enough to prove that Mick might have been the one behind the TV station incident, but because psychic powers and other supernatural paraphinalia aren’t in the jurisdiction of the regular police, Mike claims that they can’t use it to back anything up, let alone connect Ryal’s death to the TV case. The only thing to do now is wait.

"But even then, it's about a hundred stone's throws away before we can even connect him to Harry's case."

“But even then, it’s about a hundred stone’s throws away before we can even connect him to Harry’s case.”

And then there’s the matter of the tape. Ryal’s place is filled with VHS tapes – one of the necessities of being a TV producer – but there’s too many to tell which one has the recording of Harry’s special on it. Mike has all the tapes confiscated and taken to the station for further investigation, but there’s also the chance that Mick took the tape with him when he fled the scene of the crime.

And as it turns out, he’s right.

Putting the order the screencaps appear in the episode aside, wouldn't Mick having the tape make him "the criminal"?

Putting the order the screencaps appear in the episode aside, wouldn’t Mick having the tape make him “the criminal”?

As per the instructions of his #1 fan (who is hooked up to medical equipment and is able to see all of the town through numerous surveillance devices; the same ones used in the beginnings of episodes 1 and 3), Mick went to Ryal’s house and took the tape. Whatever this has to do with the #1 fan’s initial piece of intel on where to find Harry is not spoken aloud; my best guess is that the #1 fan told him “Go to Ryal’s, the tape he has will give you a hint.”

But it also turns out that Mick wasn’t behind Ryal’s death; just the tape theft. In fact, Ryal’s death, as reported in the evening edition of the town newspaper, comes as a shock to Mick, and makes him fearful of being tried for murder. Despite his creepiness, especially to Mick, and the fact that he knew Ryal would die from the beginning, the #1 fan trusts him and assures him that he didn’t do it; most likely, it was Harry.

"And last I checked, your psychic power level was 0."

“And last I checked, your psychic power level was 0.”

The #1 fan doesn’t confirm it’s Harry, though; just that the same criminal as the one behind the broken neck cases is after Mick. But in all honesty, this revelation explains, as John brought up, what American Disc said about there being another victim before Ryal died. Not to mention that Ryal’s death happened around the same time Harry used his psychic powers to escape the Accuser facility. So all in all, it was just another case of psychic backlash, much like the rest of the broken neck cases.

But John doesn’t know that. While the police finish things up at the crime scene, he goes outside and calls Catherine to let her know the details as he learned them: Ryal is dead, Mick is the assumed culprit, and he believes that Mick was behind the TV station incident as well.

"Seeing how it ended up killing more people than either he or Harry bargained for, I doubt he got them back at full strength."

“Seeing how it ended up killing more people than either he or Harry bargained for, I doubt he got them back at full strength.”

John claims this is enough to prove Harry’s innocence, disregarding the police’s refusal to accept his claim and the truth that Mick discovered, and promises to tell Catherine more. However, Catherine, still in shock about her brother getting psychic powers, and even further in regret about inspiring Harry to improve upon his psychic abilities, denies John’s request to visit her, claiming that she needs time to think alone (read: mull over her past mistakes). That, and prevent Elliot from becoming a psychic killing machine like Harry.

Well, there goes his dream of finding meaning in the Tick's greatest catchphrase.

Well, there goes his dream of finding meaning in the Tick’s greatest catchphrase.

Later that night, at the police station, Mike and another detective named George take a break from searching Ryal’s collection of tapes for the one that holds footage of Harry’s special, and instead search the police database for information on The Accuser. No dice. Their only other choice, as suggested by George, is asking the NSA for intel on the Accuser, since they’re loaded with private information they’re willing to give away for free to those who can keep a secret.

"George, you're a genius! I'm going to make you my new Bob now; you even have his voice! Looks like I'll have to tell Rod-"

“George, you’re a genius! I’m going to make you my new Bob now; you even have his voice! Looks like I’ll have to tell Rod-“

"Tell me what?'

“Tell me what?’

Mike takes Rod’s sudden appearance as the perfect chance to ask him to retrieve information on the Accuser through his connections to the NSA, but Rod, instinctively knowing that Mike’s nosing around in the case he was told to stay out of through a signed contract, calmly denies Mike’s request, as Norio Wakamoto would. As if through telepathy, the department chief calls to tell Mike that he’s being forced into taking a vacation from police duties.

Mike spends the first day of his forced leave of absence, seeing how he has nothing better to do in his vapid life, doing what he usually does when he’s off-duty: he heads to the local school to meet up with John.

"I know that feel. Though it was more the Grim Reaper that did the dumping than him."

“I know that feel. Though it was more the Grim Reaper that did the dumping than him.”

Once at the school, where John has put his character over his stereotype by sitting out of a game of basketball with his peers, Mike tells him that his role in the case is over. He then tries to start up a conversation with him by bringing up his apparent worries of Catherine; and because he’s a detective, meaning that he detects everything, he points out her absence, which disturbs John as much as Mike’s laughter at his own reaction to John’s reaction to his detective work.

Meanwhile, after a long night of running from the Accuser and a presumably short sleep, Harry and the girl from earlier finally make it back to his nameless hometown, but stop once the girl says that she’s going to take him to Catherine’s. Harry is hesitant to go, fearing that Catherine may be mad at him for the TV station incident, but the girl convinces him to go along with the same trustworthy tricks she used to get him to follow her in the first place.

As they head back on track, however, Nancy, driving back from wherever, notices Harry on the street, and heads to the nearest gas station to alert Catherine. No answer.

"Three rings and still no answer? Either she's gone out, or shit just got real."

“Three rings and still no answer? Either she’s gone out, or shit just got real.”

Eventually, Harry and the girl finally make it to Catherine’s place. Once the girl disappears, Harry goes out back to find Catherine, outside on her back porch, having spent the early morning hours staring up at the sky in a daze, and the last several minutes being held at gunpoint by a rogue Myscylus Mick.

"It may be small, but it packs a big punch!"

“It may be small, but it packs a big punch!”

LEGENDS, people. LEGENDS.

That piece of not-so-nostalgia aside, Mick, untrustworthy of the tape in his possession, went over to Catherine’s place to interrogate Harry’s location out of her. Catherine doesn’t know, but Mick calls bullshit. And in a move that makes Catherine even more afraid and leads her one step closer to the truth (and arguably undoes the progress John made in convincing her), Mick tells her that Harry killed Ryal, and not him. His fear of Harry coming after him next is why he’s there at Catherine’s: he’d rather ask an acquaintance of his rather than watch a VHS recording, so he can kill Harry as soon as he can.

Catherine refuses to fess up, because she really has no clue as to Harry’s location, so instead of watching the tape (which is the better option, given the time it would take to watch, study, and travel), Mick hides in the bushes until Harry comes back, which he knows he will. And he does.

"Uhh... Catherine? I'm over here."

“Uhh… Catherine? I’m over here.”

What Harry sees looks harmless enough, with Catherine sitting on her porch in a “welcome back” position, but the “run away” look on her face speaks different. It’s quiet for a while, but when Elliot notices Harry and calls out to him, that’s as good a signal as any for Mick to come out of hiding and start firing at him. Catherine, sticking with this show’s pattern of making the main girl and supporting guy not look like complete assholes, tells Harry to run and attacks Mick, failing to keep him at bay but managing to knock the tape out of his hands.

I'd put something related to the tape here, but I can't pass up the opportunity to show a sakuga still shot that's bound to be mistaken for QUALITY by /a/.

I’d put something related to the tape here, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to show a sakuga still shot that’s bound to be mistaken for QUALITY by /a/.

Harry runs as fast as he can, and as far away from Mick as he can, but the ledge over the side of Catherine’s driveway brings him to his knees, and Mick very, very close to splattering his brains all over the concrete he’s lying down on.

Okay, maybe not that close, but it's still rather suspenseful.

Okay, maybe not that close, but it’s still rather suspenseful.

But just before Mick can pull the trigger, Harry’s psychic powers kick in, paralyzing his shooting arm and keeping him from firing. Catherine tries to stop Harry before he goes into full neck-breaking backlash mode, but just before he can put it into action, and before Mick can pull the trigger with success this time, it all comes to an end.

A shot is heard. But was it Harry who died?The answer is no, as Mick was the one who ended up dead. And Mike (with John in tow) was there to fire the killing shot. Supposedly, even when on a forced leave of absence, police officers still have the right to shoot anyone with the intent to kill, especially suspects in a supernatural murder case.

John: "Wow. I guess walking and talking my problems out was a good idea after all."

John: “Wow. I guess walking and talking my problems out was a good idea after all.”

But really, after failing to call Catherine, Nancy opted to call John instead. He had a feeling Harry would be going to Catherine’s, so he dragged Mike along, and now you know the rest of the story.

With Mick dead and Harry found, it appears that everything’s coming to its end… save the remaining fourteen episodes and the huge number of plot threads hanging. The Accuser’s still looking for Harry, the identity of who’s behind the pulling of Harry’s psychic strings is still a mystery, Catherine is once again afraid of Harry, and most importantly, there’s the matter of the omnipotent little girl, who is now in possession of the “all-important tape”.

Whatever she's planning to do with it, I have no doubt that it'll be something sinister.

Whatever she’s planning to do with it, I have no doubt that it’ll be something sinister.

This episode was certainly a step up in the entertainment category from both this post’s Gintama, and the rest of the Sci-Fi Harry episodes thus far. Harry’s away from the Accuser and is back in his nameless hometown, but two characters are dead, one is on a leave of absence, and another is now in possession of the series MacGuffin. Not to mention that Mick confronting Harry put me on the edge of my seat (figuratively), and the twist ending certainly had me surprised. The order of time in the day still had me confused, but it’s much more straightforward now, considering that starting from this episode, series director Katsuyuki Kodera is taking charge of the storyboard for each episode. He apparently couldn’t trust anyone else with organizing the scenes.

Speaking of the little girl whose name we not yet know, I have a feeling she’s some sort of omnipotent being. This easily explains how she can appear and disappear the moment no one is looking. Building on that, I personally think she’s been spying on the main cast from the very beginning, namely in regards to Harry and Catherine. At the very least, this explains why she decided to take Harry to Catherine’s house.

Even so, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future of Sci-Fi Harry. But until then, here’s some NEEDLESS to bring some light – bright, annoying light – into my Subwatcher schedule. And also fanservice worthy of a parental advisory warning.

Last episode, after failing to capture Blade so Arclight could use his body as a replacement for his degrading one, and failing to use Cruz as a lure for Blade, the (Beautiful) Girls’ Squadron of Mio, Setsuna, and Kuchinashi decided to take Eve captive instead. But much like every trip from one place to another as long as the distance between Iron Mountain and SIMEON HQ, the trio takes a break to rest up and escape the heat of their custom-color Testaments.

But much to their dismay, Eve proceeded to escape during their short stop, and ran off when they weren’t looking. The three girls fear punishment from Riru once they take notice, and it’s safe to say that she’s already mad enough for them capturing a lure rather than the real deal.

"You've suffered through her special spankings before, Setsuna. Bad doesn't even begin to describe what we're in for."

“You’ve suffered through her special spankings before, Setsuna. Bad doesn’t even begin to describe what we’re in for.”

And much to Eve’s dismay, the use of her Doppelganger abilities to escape used up a good amount of her calories, which, coupled with all the calories she used at Iron Mountain, makes her too weak to even make a getaway attempt that wouldn’t tip the Girls’ Squadron off. Without all the Derodoro Drinks that they brought along with them (thanks to Cruz’s shitty hold on the group knapsack), Eve appears to have no hope at re-energizing herself. Until she happens upon a place that might have what she’s looking for.

That, my girl, is a big-ass cannon.

That, my girl, is a big-ass cannon.

The castle Eve happens upon, and where the Girls’ Squad tracks her to, is called “The Admiral’s Mansion”. It is the secret (as in, it’s hidden in the middle of nowhere) residence of the old Japanese army Admiral Kanematsu, and was used during World War III as a storehouse for the military’s fortunes. To prevent any intruders from getting their hands on the fortune – or getting through the front door, for that matter – Kanematsu set up a state-of-the-art security system known as “Goldy Locks” (and not “Goldilocks” like Hulu wants you to think with their state-of-the-art alien technology) to protect the mansion. And while the Squadron goes in to get Eve back, Setsuna has doubts that the Goldy Locks system is still functioning.

But it is, and they fall victim to it more than Eve does. Their first obstacle is simple enough: lasers that shoot out of the eyes of a portrait of the long-dead Admiral himself.

Although the appearance of an older, fatter, Japanese Hitler would be enough to scare most teenagers away.

Although the appearance of an older, fatter, Japanese Hitler would be enough to scare most teenagers away.

Obstacle #2 is slightly saner, and much easier to bypass: the dreaded metal detector. So in order to go further into the mansion, Kuchinashi leaves behind her Jet Coaster (which will now be called Tekka Roll), and Mio her teddy bear packed with the world’s heaviest steel wool, which she considers to be a different species than implied.

I swear, that girl ain't right.

I swear, that girl ain’t right.

With that obstacle cleared, Mio, Setsuna, and Kuchinashi spot Eve and start chasing her around the mansion. After losing track of her and running into a couple dead ends, the Squadron spots Eve having gone through a hallway marked with a warning sign prohibiting further entry. As expected, another one of the Goldy Locks System’s measures is there: in this case, a wall that shoots fire.

"It's a good thing I used my Speed to test the system, or else we'dve been fucked!"

“It’s a good thing I used my Speed to test the system, or else we’dve been fucked!”

Setsuna could make it through with her Speed, but Kuchinashi’s Fragrance and Mio’s Power have no chance in hell against it. So, in an action that begun this Subwatcher episode’s plunge from “intense” to “graphic”, Setsuna strips her outfit of its buttons and uses them to plug all the muzzles from which the fire shoots out. However, she runs out of buttons before blocking the last one. Luckily, Mio and Kuchinashi aren’t severely burnt to a crisp. But for the sake of fanservice, their clothes took a major hit.

And so did the last bits of Kuchinashi's heterosexuality.

And so did the last bits of Kuchinashi’s heterosexuality.

After making it through that obstacle, the Squadron makes it to the end of the hallway, where they find the kitchen. Surely, Eve went in there, based on the girls’ tracking and the fact that it’s the most likely place for Eve to find her Derodoro Drink. But the Squadron finds themselves drawn into another obstacle: an touch-activated trap door that the three of them fall into after so much as touching the doors into the kitchen. Luckily, their time in there is short-lived, as the girls climb out of the pit using some of their clothes as a makeshift rope ladder. Needless to say (no pun intended), this also provides some otaku-baited fanservice, and pushes the episode ever closer to getting a parental advisory sticker.

Kuchinashi's newfound lesbianism has a tendency to do that.

Kuchinashi’s newfound lesbianism has a tendency to do that.

Once out of the hole, the trio enters the kitchen and, after determining what to do after realizing switching on the lights means certain death (and that avoiding them means losing even more clothes), they find just what they’ve been looking for…

Why yes, I definitely mean that fridge packed with the nastiest-tasting shit on the planet post-WWIII.

Why yes, I definitely mean that fridge packed with the nastiest-tasting shit on the planet post-WWIII.

With Eve in their sights at last, the Girls’ Squadron prepares to fight. Eve sees it as no problem, since the Derodoro Drink she happened upon regenerated her calories. Right?

Not so. As it turns out, Kanematsu’s fridge only contains Derodoro Drink Light (he must’ve been on a diet), which has zero calories, so Eve is still as screwed as she was when she first walked in.

For one, it tastes better.

For one, it tastes better.

And so the hunt is afoot… again. Much like last time, no matter how much Eve manages to evade the Girls’ Squadron, they still manage to find her, and follow her all the way to the unnecessarily large vestibule to Kanematsu’s personal safe, which is supposedly filled with all his treasure. Assuming Eve is hiding in the safe, the obvious thing for Mio, Setsuna, and Kuchinashi to do is open it. However, the Goldy Locks System has sought to it that any trespassers are disposed of in that room.

The key to Kanematsu’s safe is actually the scale in the middle of the room, which is designed to open according to Kanematsu’s last checked weight. Luckily, the system waits thirty seconds for errors to be corrected in the weighing before expelling the intruders from the grounds. The three girls weigh just enough to bypass the system, but their clothes are weighing them down by a couple ounces, which is enough for the Goldy Locks System to activate its Intruder Expulsion System. So they discard every piece of clothing they have that doesn’t result in their chests being exposed. Meaning  that yes, the panties come off too, meaning that partial nonsexual loli nudity is what makes this SUBWATCHER post more obscene than naked short people or naked fat people.

But at least the nightmares will be minimal.

But at least the nightmares will be minimal.

But before the three have a chance to get off the big-ass scale, they find Eve. As it turns out, she wasn’t in the safe, but hiding on the ceiling. And much to her dismay, her Doppelganger power finally runs dry, and she lands on the scale, reactivating the one-second-away-from-detonation Expulsion System.

How the system works: the room floods with water, which filters the intruders out into a very cramped space, presumably the disposal system. And I say very cramped because, well… with four girls trapped in there, tied in metaphorical knots, what else can you call it?

Though under the right circumstances, a clog would be an appropriate alternative.

Though under the right circumstances, a clog would be an appropriate alternative.

Escape is impossible for the four of them: Mio’s Power would result in broken bones, Setsuna’s Speed won’t work unless there’s open space, Eve’s Doppelganger is outta juice, and Kuchinashi’s Fragrance is useless in situations like this. So the trio plus their enemy resign to their fate of being shot out of a cannon and into… well…

While all those slapsticky, fanservicey, vaguely lesbian hijinks went on, here’s what happened with the rest of our group:

After the Girls’ Squadron left Iron Mountain with Eve in tow, Cruz, Blade, Momiji, and Gido return to inform Disc of what happened. Gido questions what they should all do, now that Eve’s in the hands of SIMEON. Blade suggests attacking them head-on and causing a war, which Momiji agrees with. (Anything to get back at that bastard Arclight.) Disc tells them that it isn’t a good idea, and that not only does one need to have a plan if they want to beat SIMEON, but there are several NEEDLESS in Arclight’s employ ready to destroy any attackers. And since the group’s NEEDLESS count is down from three to two, Disc decides to fill in as the group’s third NEEDLESS.

Yeah, that’s right. She’s not just a Half, but a NEEDLESS as well.

Not to mention a master in the art of cool poses as well.

Not to mention a master in the art of cool poses.

Disc’s attributes as a Half contribute to her Fragment of Scan, which allows her to measure power levels, analyze physical attributes (including body measurements, much to Blade’s delight), and obtain all the information she stores in Iron Mountain, which she can pull out any time intel is needed. That, plus her personal following of the group, is reason enough for her to justify why their beef with SIMEON is her beef as well.

But before they can disembark on their journey back to the church to formulate their plan, Disc switches into some outdoor wear so her indoor clothes don’t draw as much attention as Blade’s muscles, Momiji’s jacket, Cruz’s hair, and Gido’s bald head already are. Considering the amount of information Iron Mountain holds, the group assumes that she’s going to ride around in a giant robot with all the information they need stored on its back.

My biggest concern about that speculation is how flimsy the legs on that thing look.

My biggest concern about that speculation is how flimsy the legs on that thing look.

In reality, however, Disc settles for a simple button-up sundress. As for all the information in Iron Mountain, her cyberbrain hard drive has enough terabytes (petabytes?) of information to store all Iron Mountain has to offer; a back-up procedure, so to speak. But to drive the point home to the group, of which half are dumbasses and one quarter is a pervert, that her body has all the information they need, she flashes them.

Give it a rest, you guys. She's over 100 years old, so she's practically legal.

Give it a rest, you guys. She’s over 100 years old, so she’s practically legal.

The group then heads back to the church, spends the night formulating their attack plan (SPOILER ALERT: there is none), and set out to kick SIMEON butt the next morning. However, they are interrupted by a special public service announcement from Adam Arclight himself.

Which itself is interrupted by Eve, Mio, Setsuna, and Kuchinashi smashing right into him.

To have a big-ass cannon, you need a big-ass impact.

To have a big-ass cannon, you need a big-ass impact.

The broadcast goes offline temporarily, but it comes back on because what Arclight has to say is too important for “technical difficulties” to interrupt. The event in question is an inaugural event – or should I say, a show of appreciation for the Black Spot’s inhabitants’ cooperation with the construction of the building in the middle of it – being held at SIMEON Pharmaceuticals’s Black Spot branch the following day at noon. It appears to be innocent enough, but there is, of course, sinister intent behind it. Those who come will be given food and supplies. Those who don’t will receive the death penalty.

"But surely, no NEEDLESS would ever think to attend an important event such as this!"

“But surely, no NEEDLESS would ever think to attend an important event such as this!”

Essentially, the group as a whole is screwed. While the Girls’ Squadron had their little adventure chasing Eve around Kanematsu’s Castle, they succeeded in handing her over as a hostage, and gracefully avoided getting punished by Riru. But this means that while they get to rest up for tomorrow’s big event, Eve remains trapped in a hostage holding area/testing facility.

At the very least, they could've hooked her up with an IV of Derodoro Drink. But they wouldn't want her to escape, now would they?

At the very least, they could’ve hooked her up with an IV of Derodoro Drink. But they wouldn’t want her to escape, now would they?

As for the group as is, seeing how Arclight is already going after them just when they’ve decided to go after him, decide to rethink their plan; presumably, how to infiltrate the event while making themselves seem less obvious than they already are. Or, at least, they would, but Momiji instead decided to throw out a comment comparing Arclight to Blade, which served to piss him off. Cruz, trying to get the two hotheads back on track, ends up getting beaten for interfering. That leaves Gido and Disc, the only two sane people in the group, to think up what they should do now themselves. That, and act like the sane men they are.

"Dumbasses, right?"

“Dumbasses, right?”

"Complete dumbasses."

“Total dumbasses.”

While this episode had a significant amount of plot relevance – Disc joining the group, Arclight putting his plan into motion, and Eve starting and ending the episode as a hostage – the real meat of the episode came from the period of time where Eve wasn’t a hostage. The Girls’ Squadron’s chase of her inside Kanematsu’s mansion not only took place at the center of the episode, but it also provided some of the biggest laughs. The girls plus Eve ramming into Arclight on live TV counts, since it was the aftermath of the end of their little adventure. Anyways, it was really fun, really funny, and quite perverted at points. The ending theme may be more fantastical than the actual series, but if there’s one accuracy, it’s that Kuchinashi is lez for her teammates. The best part of it, though, was that, without getting all serious and into backstories and stuff like usual, it fleshed out Mio, Setsuna, and Kuchinashi enough to make them the kind of villains who you really wouldn’t consider villains, mostly because they’re just too fun to even think of as enemies. Their antics in the mansion certainly were a blast… Moving the meat of the episode aside, I’m glad that Disc is getting more screentime, not to mention being designated one of the sane men, despite being a Half, a NEEDLESS, and someone with enough bravado to flash people to drive a point home. And no matter how many times I say it, I’m glad Eve has gone an episode (or should I say three) without beating Cruz once. Apparently, that’s Blade’s job now, and it’s only when Cruz interrupts his Momiji-beatin’. In short, love this episode, would watch again despite the antisocial air.

PREVIEW
Bank Manager: BWAHAHAHAHA!! I am the manager of the biggest bank in the Black Spot, protector of Adam Arklight’s fortunes, and next episode’s disposable minor character! I will stop at nothing to make sure Arclight’s riches are protected!
Mio: Too bad you have to deal with us for an afternoon.
Girls’ Squadron: That’s right! Wanna play?
Bank Manager: …crap.

Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for the conclusion of the first Michiko to Hatchin two-parter. Bigger, better, more informative, and without the video lag the first half’s second half suffered through. Don’t be surprised if the image file/quality size varies. It’s a writing as you go along thing. Besides all that, enjoy.

Ignore that watermark. It'll disappear soon enough.

Ignore that watermark. It’ll disappear soon enough.

Last time on Michiko to Hatchin, tragedy struck. Michiko and Hatchin parted ways, the latter was kidnapped by men from the crime syndicate Fantasma, and whoever mixed the subs for the episode screwed up the video to a horrifying degree. After that guy was fired and they hired a new guy to mix it, Michiko returned to her old apartment, most likely having decided to search for Satoshi in the morning. What she gets is her wall graffitied by Fantasma, telling her they kidnapped Hatchin.

"The only thing to do now is burn it. If only I had a lighter instead of this dumb piece of paper."

“The only thing to do now is burn it. If only I had a lighter instead of this dumb piece of paper.”

The first thing Michiko does, after a long night of cursing and whatnot, is going to the bar where Zeria, the owner admissions officer at the House of the Loving Liliana, drowns her sorrows, even in the early morning hours where she shouldn’t be drinking. She demands to know why Zeria denied Hatchin’s acceptance into the House of the Loving Liliana, only to be met with no answers. She does, however, receive a surprising amount of ass-kickery from someone of the old woman’s age.

90% of it involves that bottle of tequila alone.

90% of it involves that bottle of tequila alone.

Even though Zeria has nothing to say to Michiko, she does question why Hatchin was even dropped off there. Michiko simply responds that Zeria, who was like a parent to her during her own stay in the House, is more trustworthy than herself, which is really saying something, considering how she didn’t trust her back in her days living there.

With Michiko’s encounter with Zeria ending in her ass getting figuratively beat, I might as well reveal some truths.

For starters, the House of the Loving Liliana isn’t your average orphanage. It’s essentially a money-making operation behind the facade of an alternative to your average orphanage of fear. Part of the money comes from what the children pay Zeria when they’re admitted, and the other half comes from the payments they receive from the adopters who come in. Now how is this a money-making operation and not just several acts of kindness? Well, as it turns out, the House actually sells children. Meaning that instead of being a foster home with an unlimited length of stay like your standard orphanage, it’s… well, the only way I can describe it is that once the landlord’s fed up with you or wants you to go somewhere else, he kicks you out. Only in this case, it’s for money, and instead of going to the streets, the former tenants are bought up by various clients, from loving wannabe parents to a sadistic family of churchies.

Michiko was one of the few “tenants” to realize this truth, and tried to make a daring escape, stealing Zeria’s safe while she wasn’t looking. She failed. And while that’s interesting by itself, the real stand-out thing about this flashback to her youth is that Atsuko Jackson, the lady cop from episode 2, was also a tenant, and basically held the position of being Michiko’s lap dog.

At least it explains why she holds severe animosity towards Michiko.

At least it explains why she holds severe animosity towards Michiko.

In a case of history repeating itself, Joachim, one of the orphans “currently” living at the House of the Loving Liliana, did the same thing Michiko tried to do many years ago: upon realizing the correlation between the disappearing children and increasing stockpile of money in Zeria’s personal bank, he took the cash and ran off, only unlike Michiko, he was actually successful. Just before she went to drown her sorrows, Zeria was alerted of Joachim’s escape by the true head of the House of the Loving Liliana, being warned of how he might rat them out to the police and get them arrested for child trafficking. That, combined with Michiko’s sudden reappearance in her life bringing back that memory, brings Zeria out of her almost-drunken senses and follows the route Joachim most likely would have took to find him. She finds him and brings him back, much to his dismay, but she convinces him to go through with it when her attempts to tell him to stop crying fail. Not to mention that she lets him keep the money he stole, even though it’s a small amount.

"I could use this to buy myself enough tequila to fill me for the rest of my life! Although, I have been meaning to cut back..."

“I could use this to buy myself enough tequila to fill me for the rest of my life! Although, I have been meaning to cut back…”

Later that night, Michiko returns to the still-unintelligible bar owned by Gaybro (who shall now be referred to as Ivan) and his brother. And while the two do share screentime (confirming that they are, in fact, different people), Ivan’s brother leaves just as Michiko enters.

"She's here again? I'm outta here."

She’s here again? Fuck this shit, I’m outta here.”

Once inside, Michiko lets him know of the situation involving Hatchin. She asks him where Fantasma’s base is, but he refuses to tell, not only because it would be dangerous for Michiko, but he doesn’t know himself. Though acting as a decoy to lure them out would be the most effective (but stupidest) way to kick their ass, Ivan suggests that if Michiko wants to get Hatchin back from Fantasma, she’d better do it the following day. Remember the ESPN8-broadcasted bullfights Ivan was watching last episode? As it turns out, Fantasma plays a major role in gambling on these bullfights (which Zeria does too), and of course, they’re obviously letting plenty of cash ride on the fight everyone’s been waiting for: Marco vs. Roman the 4th. Because this fight is big not only for Ivan, but for Fantasma as well, as Vasili will be there in the stadium. What better way to get back at Fantasma than to go after the leader himself?

With a description like that, victory should be in the bag.

With a description like that, victory should be in the bag.

However, unlike last episode made him out to be, Vasili isn’t as Buppa-level fat as I initially expected. He’s still visibly fat, but it’s more of the kind of fat you’d find on a jolly person, rather than a gay rapist mafia don. This is revealed as he shows himself outside of Fantasma’s personal bathhouse, completely clothed and ready for business. And since Fantasma’s gamble on the bullfights brought them to the Vermelha Bullfighting Arena, this reveal happens in the back near the bull stables, where they’ve been keeping Hatchin. She isn’t tied to a machine and tortured like Eve; while she is kept in a stable, it’s rather large, and she has the freedom to move. And when Vasili shows up, he sits with her and offers her some of his steak, straight from one of the losing bulls.

"Really? All I smell is barbeque sauce."

“Really? All I smell is barbeque sauce.”

Ignoring the fact that one Fantasma member is feeding Roman the 4th the flesh of his fallen bull-in-arms Shirkov the 3rd, Vasili ends up going into a rage remembering Michiko as he sort-of-interrogates Hatchin about what her relation to her is. She doesn’t say, but she does admit to being Hiroshi Morenos’s daughter, despite the sizable gap between his death and her birth. As if he’s psychic, Vasili expects Michiko to go and save Hatchin, since they’re friends and all, but before he can break her spirit by telling her Fantasma will kill her before she can save anything, he’s interrupted by a phone call. From Satoshi Batista.

And his thin mustache of terror.

The thin mustache and girly hands kinda kill the suspense, but you get the idea.

The connection between Petro Monstro and Fantasma beyond their rivalry is unknown, but from their discussion, Satoshi is pissed that Vasili hasn’t sent the money Fantasma won in the bullfights (read: they have none) to the government. Vasili, not wanting to be attacked by Monstro’s forces, promises to send the money when Roman the 4th wins – something they’ll see through by sniping Marco – and even throws in the possibility of Michiko being sent as a present along with the money (which will, at that point, be considered compensation) and Hatchin.

A smile, an apology, and realizing that the House of the Loving Liliana’s orphans are the reason Marco bullfights later, Michiko joins Ivan in formulating their plan to infiltrate the stadium and rescue Hatchin. The plan is simple: Ivan and his brother will infiltrate the arena as caterers (which wouldn’t be too out of the question, given that they run a bar) and smuggle Michiko in via one of the pots they brought along with her – a reasonable precaution, since Vasili set up several men from Fantasma around the Arena to take out Michiko once out in the open. Avoiding a surprise raid by them on their way to the Arena was just plain luck.

"That pot saved your life! You should at least be a little grateful."

“That pot saved your life! You should at least be a little grateful.”

Once she’s inside, she’ll come out, disguise herself as a sales girl, and rescue Hatchin without any notice. Only there’s a few problems with that.

First, Hatchin is no longer in the stadium, but in a bag in the trunk of a car that’s about to head off to where Satoshi is. Second, Ivan took the wrong pot, and left the one with Michiko behind where the Fantasma men set up to look for her would snoop around the suspicious van they raided earlier. Unluckily for them, they happen to open said pot, and out comes Michiko, from what can only be considered a literal can of whoop-ass.

FUN FACT: The whoop-ass always comes out feet-first, usually with a kick to it.

FUN FACT: The whoop-ass always comes out feet-first, usually with a kick to it.

After taking care of those guys, Michiko runs into the stadium to give the Fantasma goons with enough willpower left to run chase. She ends up hiding in Marco’s dressing room to lose them, and, as if she psychically heard Ivan’s instructions, she comes out dressed as the main man himself, with a mask on to throw off anyone who would recognize her on sight.

"I think it's Michiko. The tan skin and womanly appearance are familiar, but that mask is really confusing me."

“I think it’s Michiko. The tan skin and womanly appearance are familiar, but that mask is really confusing me.”

Just like how it is with disguises in real life, Michiko not only has to look like Marco, but also act like him too, which means going up against Roman the 4th herself. She does a decent job at it, but because she isn’t a pro, Roman’s horns end up giving her away, resulting in a negative reaction from the audience.

But I'll be damned if she doesn't rock that outfit or what.

But I’ll be damned if she doesn’t rock that outfit or what.

What ensues afterward is what is possibly the most interesting bullfight in the world.  While dodging trash thrown at her from the stands, Michiko manages to pierce Roman in the side and elicit cheers from the bipolar fans of the sport. However, not only is Roman still alive and running, but Vasili now knows that she’s in the stadium, and directs the snipers to shoot at her. So now, Michiko has to deal with both dodging the sniper shots and taking out Roman using the traditional sword used to slay bulls. But being the badass she is, she opts for the third option of jumping off of Roman into the stands, and climbing up to engage in a swordfight with a surprisingly spry Vasili, who for some reason claims to have fought Michiko in the stadium a century prior, probably in some sort of past life.

"Well, it certainly felt like it!"

“Well, it certainly felt like it!”

And just when things couldn’t get interesting enough, Hatchin makes her way into the stadium. Having seen Michiko just as Michiko saw her, she decides to save her the trouble of saving her by escaping herself (resulting in injuring the guy who already got his face kicked in by Michiko earlier) and running into the stadium to find Michiko fighting the bull. After having her ropes cut by Ivan’s ever-silent brother, Hatchin rushes in with a ladle in hand, bringing up not only the insanity level, but the viewership stats.

True, ladles can cause some serious damage when thrown hard enough.

True, ladles can cause some serious damage when thrown hard enough.

Michiko fights with Vasili for another few minutes, ending up on the losing side for all of a few seconds when he disarms her and prepares to cut her down, but she comes back with a hand block and a kick to his stomach, sending him down into the center of the arena to be attacked by Roman. But before she can enjoy watching the Russian (if his last name Bakov and his farewell cry to Michiko of “Dasvidania” say anything) former errand boy getting gored by a bull, she notices Hatchin and drops in to rescue her by using one of the red curtains as a swing. She fails in her first attempt, but gets it right the second time.

I'd say something about this being lewd, but since there's no romantic intent, and because I'm not like the rest of /a/, I will keep quiet about it outside of relief for the two.

I’d say something about this being lewd, but since there’s no romantic intent, and because I’m not like the rest of /a/, I will keep quiet about it outside of relief for the two.

And with their exit ends ESPN8 the Ocho’s highest rated bullfighting broadcast in recent history. Given how hyped the event was, how interesting it ended up being, and how crowded the bar where Zeria (who was amongst those who watched it; she was amused by the turns of events) frequents was, it’s only a given. And the supposed star of the show missed the whole thing.

"We think it was pregame anxiety, but we can't be sure. There were a lot more bruises on his head than one gets when nervous about such an event!"

“We think it was pregame anxiety, but we can’t be sure. There were a lot more bruises on his head than one gets when nervous about such an event!”

As for the titular duo, they embrace after the rescue is pulled off. Acting like the unofficial legal guardian to Hatchin as she always has since their first encounter, she (lightly) scolds her for doing something stupid, which  Hatchin backs up by saying that it was to save her life. But Michiko doesn’t need someone to save her to ensure that she won’t die.

The next day, after resting up at Ivan’s place, Michiko and Hatchin head back out onto the road, with the new official objective “find Satoshi”. Ivan warns Michiko that it’ll be hard to find Satoshi, and not just because of Fantasma goons they may run across; even though it’s practically known that he’s in Osso, he’s also gone underground, so it’ll be hard to pinpoint his exact location. Michiko, in a surprising move, passes up the chance to give supply some degree of backtalk, and instead takes Ivan’s advice and heads out.

"Is she outta sight yet? I can't keep holding my fear in forever, y'know."

“Is she outta sight yet? I can’t keep holding my fear in forever, y’know.”

This episode was most definitely better than episode 5. In technical watching terms, that is. Compared to the general makeup of last episode, it was about equal, with a lot more action, and plenty of great moments, the most stand-out of which was the whole bullfighting scene. That was certainly epic, made even more interesting by the goofy-sounding background music which oddly fit. And while not my favorite part, I still found this part of the episode good (plus I couldn’t find a place for it in the sum-up). This “part” I’m talking about is the whole “express train to hell” metaphor Michiko uses on Zeria for a more thorough attempt to kick her ass. Michiko used this metaphor twice in the episode: first in the flashback where she lets out her thoughts about Zeria out after failing to run off with her safe, and again when, after more or less telling her about Hatchin’s kidnapping, uses it as a threat for if she doesn’t pray for Hatchin’s safety and eventual escape. In a sort of brick joke/punchline, it came back in the end when, after Michiko saved Hatchin (on live TV no less), Zeria comments that she missed the aforementioned “express train”. It was a metaphor I certainly appreciated, especially during the watch I did to screencap all these pictures above.

Overall, this watch session was much better than the last. Michiko to Hatchin ranked higher than last not just because the audio and subs matched the video again, but of the excitement it usually entails. I can’t decide on whether NEEDLESS gets second and Sci-Fi Harry gets third, or vice versa (as usual), but Gintama gets last place. I guess now I’m starting to understand why people think the earliest episodes are the weakest. But hey, it had Hasegawa as a main player, and because Fumihiko Tachiki is awesome, it wasn’t a complete waste of my time.

LET THE SHOW GO ON
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

NEEDLESS and Michiko to Hatchin shared a moment where a certain broadcast should have cut out, but didn’t. In the former, Eve and the Girls’ Squadron knocking out Adam Arclight during his PSA to the people of the Black Spot should have been the end of it, but he got back up and continued on. As for the latter, the Bullfighting World Series should have cut out when it turned out Michiko was doing the bullfighting rather than Marco, but because South America made soccer exciting, they kept it running to see how things played out, in spite of the boos of others. And in the end, things turned out better than expected. And let us not forget that this blog survived the Mayan Apocalypse.

Best Scene: Disc flashing the group to drive the point home that she doesn’t need anything big to store all of Iron Mountain’s information.
Worst Scene: Gintama had a lot of awkward moments, but the scene with all of them packed into and crashing a car takes the cake.
Funniest Scene: Disc flashing the group to drive the point home that she doesn’t need anything big to store all of Iron Mountain’s information.
Creepiest Scene: Roman the 4th eating a steak that came from a fellow bull.
Sexiest Scene: Through process of elimination, Eve and the Girls’ Squadron getting stuck in the tube after their explusion from the Admiral’s Mansion.
Cutest Scene: Mio had a lot of these moments (as usual), but her playing skull volleyball with Kuchinashi while Setsuna formulated a plan to escape the Pit of Death stands out for some reason.
Awesomest Scene: The most interesting bullfight in the world; honorable mention goes to Harry vs. Mick.
Saddest Scene: This stretch in the Subwatcher is really lacking in sad, so again, nothing.
The Highlight: The most interesting bullfight in the world.
Biggest Question: Was Vasili being poetic when he claimed he fought Michiko in the Vermelha Bullfighting Stadium 100 years prior, or was he completely serious?

A freaking five month-long lazy/busy streak kept me from posting this when I should have, but at least it’s out there now, and the metaphorical monkey on my back has finally climbed off. But it’s not over yet. I still have, what? A hundred or so more episodes to go? If that’s the case, then I’m speeding up. It may still take a while, but by God, episode 20 will make it out in as long as the gap between episodes 16 and 17 (about over 2 weeks, maybe less). And by that time, there will be many more episode synopses featured. In the case of next episode: the Yorozuya helps the Shinsengumi exorcise their headquarters of the Ghost of Conveyor Belts, Harry is moved to a safehouse that protects him from the Accuser but not the mysterious loli, and the Beautiful Girls’ Squadron – the complete package, not just Mio, Setsuna, and Kuchinashi – make life for the normal people at SIMEON a living hell. What happens on Michiko to Hatchin remains a mystery, but mystery is what protects us from spoilers, right?


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