“Made in Black”
This episode of The Simpsons has an interesting sidebar. Summertime Render – it was outsourced to Gainax Kyoto. It is unclear if there are any links between the former sub-studios and the legendary studio of legend, but Yasuhiro Toda, founder Gainax, does. It is the managing director there, so this ep is probably as close to an “official” Gainax anime as we’re going to get these days. That has nostalgia going for it if nothing else, and on the whole I thought this episode – which had a good chunk of action – looked rather good. OLM actually has outsourced a large portion of the work. Summertime RenderHowever, it hasn’t had an overwhelming negative effect.
The episode was a barnburner that took up most of my notebook and lasted about ten minutes. Shinpei still has to pay the price for his inexcusable behavior in the last loop. Team Haine now holds the advantage. What’s more he’s made two huge oversights. Haine has been watching him (through a Crow), and can transform into him using the body she copied in the third loop. Make that three oversights actually, because Haine also has a working copy of Shinpei’s phone – which will prove to be a major factor in her next attack.
Why didn’t Haine finish off Shinpei and the children when she seemingly had them dead to rights in the woods? It seems to have had something to do with the shell in Shinpei’s hand – Ushio’s shell. Is she still there, perhaps? While survival is a positive, things still look grim for Shinpei. Haine uses his phone to lure his allies to two different spots – Hizuru, Nezu, Tokiko, and Tetsu (“why are you here, again?”) to the small tidal island of Terajima, and Mio and Sou to Alan’s garden. She has Shide call Shinpei from his own phone and offer him a stark choice – which group do you want to try and save?
There’s only one hole card left for Team Shinpei at this point, and that’s Shadow Mio. Because Mio worried she’d flip back with Ushio gone (and because she likely wanted to all along) Mio nails her shadow to the floor of Shinpei’s room when she goes off to meet “Shinpei”. But S-Mio seems to have stayed loyal, and she gives him options he wouldn’t have had otherwise. Perhaps even to split up and have her go after one set of allies while he chases the other, though Shiinpei’s combat ability is so low without her that it might be unwise to split up.
Hizuru is of course too suspicious to have taken the Shinpei on the phone at face value, but she’s unaware of the copy floating about and as far as she knows, it shouldn’t be usable anyway. As a hedge she leaves the others – including Nezu with his sniper rifle – behind when she goes to Terajima. Because of Ryuunosuke she immediately knows who Shinpei really is, and tries to lure her into Nezu’s line of fire. But soon Shide is joining the fray and it’s all Ryuunosuke (who takes command of the body) can do to stay alive.
“Shide” is apparently an armour of dead shadows that Karikiri wears, but I’m still not entirely sure just how he has duplicates of himself running about. Haine, meanwhile, clears up the mystery of the siblings’ dual identity – in effect, she vomited up Ryuunosuke’s data after eating him when her human personality rejected the notion that she’d eaten her only friend’s brother. The whole thing about it being two seconds out of phase when it merged with Hizuru is one of those “just don’t ask” sci-fi conceits I think, but at least it explains his/her predictive ability. Problem is, Haine can also see ahead and project it to Shide telepathically while they fight.
I believe those little nods at death flags shouldn’t be ignored lightly. Hizuru’s plan there at the end, whatever it is, has the feel of her making the ultimate sacrifice for the team – I’m not sure there are any more loops left for her to count on, and she clearly has no plans to survive this. Shinpei and Mio were conspicuously absent for the second half of the episode, so we don’t know what his desperation ploy will be, but Shinpei is never passive – however he plans to deal with his no-win decision, he’ll have launched some sort of counterattack that will factor into next week’s episode with certainty.
Image Source – Anime Daily