Excuse me, stewardess? There’s a bahamut on the wing of the plane.
Th gang is on their way to Victo’s hometown by plane, but they discover a shady-looking guy aboard. Though dressed up as a cowboy, he has strangely colored hair and a ring the reeks of horolog. Mina decides this is a discussion best had outside. Mile high fight club? He unveils his power, control over a powerful animal-type horolog in the shape of a giant black dragon. Victo shatters the ring, and the dragon goes free, leaving the boy powerless. However, his pleas of regret and sorrow spark something inside Victo’s mind that clearly disturbs him. Are they lost memories, or something more?
This episode may have started with almost all action, but it didn’t have real impact and meaning until the fighting was over. Down on the ground, Bill Raiden the Baddy has his entire world fall apart. As long as he could go back and show his mother he appreciated her, everything else was a game. When the power to do that was taken from him, he finally had to deal with it. He actually looked back on his behavior. Is this the new MO for the enemy? Find people who have intense regrets and use them as brains behind powerful horologs? It’s true that having someone command the horolog to feed outside its typical prey certainly gives it the opportunity to eat far more time and become even more powerful.
There were two parts of this episode I enjoyed. The first was the Horolog Scanner App. Sure, the app was an exercise in “Talking is a Free Action”, but it was full of the funny. The episode’s first half tempered its action with humor, and this aside was the majority of it. The app was designed by Pervy Snake (you know, Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, Pervy Snake?), and obviously has an adorable girl avatar as an interface. In order to activate the app, you have to scream out something that only he (and Victo) are comfortable screaming. Even then, the reticle is in the shape of panties, which is totally in character. Question, how does this app work? Does it gauge how much time it’s eaten by its size? Does it emit some sort of radiation that can be picked up by a camera or compass? This looks to be an ordinary cell phone, and they don’t state it to be anything but, so how does it know? Ooh, it measures temporal distortions using the system clock and accelerometers vs. the cell network time. There you go.
The other scene was Victo’s vision. The leap into it came off the boy’s emotional epiphany and was a sudden burst of graphical bits that made you almost as dizzy as Victo felt. Once there, he’s on the beach with two empty coffins. What could this mean? Are Kiri and his real mother actually dead? Is Victo really dead and the result of someone tampering with taboo human alche- wrong show. What’s even better about this scene is how everyone else reacts. Each for their own reasons, they realize that something is horribly wrong with Victo. Kiri because of experience in traveling with him for 12 years, and Mina because of her love for him. But Blaze is, in his heart, a kind, caring man who only acts tough and evil as a shield. So he obviously sees that something is wrong. This scene, especially after the boy’s revelation, was visceral character development. It showed who they really were without saying a single thing.
As good as this episode was at storytelling (are we done with the whole double fake thing, Mister Writer?) Its action was rather lackluster. It starts with Mina kicking everyone off the plane, then Bill rehashing everything WE JUST SAW. Each character took their own swing at the dragon, revealing their element, and from it the bad guy said out loud what their personality was like. If this had been the first episode, I would have been A-OK with it. It’s an intro for the characters. But here we are in episode seven. Once Victo whips out his Ace Spring attack, the fight is over. Not to mention the copious amount of time wasted while everyone is fighting a giant dragon on top of a moving jet plane. Yeah, I’m just gonna stop messing with my phone. Not even gonna deal with the fact that the wind pressure alone should knock me right off the plane and the dragon is trying to eat me. The baddie is horribly written until he gets grounded. He’s just a walking stereotype of a NEET gamer, constantly trying to pigeonhole things into game mechanics and tropes. Well, in this series, he’s kinda right, given the fact the Jea Pon gets all of his ideas from playing video games. We’ve covered that.
My other issue with this episode is the continuity errors that have been flung all over the place. When we see in the hook that they are confronting the baddie on the top of a plane, it’s just him and them. But when we get to the actual scene, it’s him, them, and a giant dragon. Almost the size of the plane itself. It’s not just a thing of “oh, it was out of the shot, you couldn’t see it”. Nope, that thing IS the shot if it’s there. You might say that doing so would give away the big reveal of the dragon. If so, why do the scene at all? You could have the scene where the guy is in the lavatory going on about his ring and his power show up there instead, and it would give nothing away. Oh, and while he’s doing that, you really should pay attention to which hand has the ring and which one has the glove. They flipped it on the first shot. When you throw this against all the “Talking is a Free Action” stuff, it feels like the director really didn’t pay attention to anything he was telling people to do. It’s a show about time manipulation, people! Continuity is king!
Other than that, the animation really isn’t all that bad. I’d like to see more of the CG that we had in previous episodes, and this was a great opportunity to do that. They could have had the dragon and plane in CG, and have the dragon flying around it for attacks while traditionally animated characters went after it. It would have been far more compelling and epic. As it is, the dragon was kinda ho-hum because he’s just another anime dragon moving in small, simple ways to keep the animation easy. The other characters, and especially the avatar on the scanner app, are well animated, and I didn’t spot any errors in the animation (just the continuity).
The voice acting was hit or miss. While Kiri (Chris Wehkamp) and Blaze (Austin Tindle) were well done, Mina (Jad Saxton) needed work. She’s getting kinda shrill in points where it doesn’t even seem like she should. The boys had a good amount of depth to them, which only complimented the quiet, thoughtful scene at the end. The real star was Bill Raiden. I’ve been looking around. I can’t find this guy anywhere online, and his voice actor is not listed on any of my sources. I had to re-watch the beginning to even figure out what his name was. Oh, don’t look him up. You have to go half a page down on Google Image search before he even shows up. All the same, his voice actor really brought out all that anguish during the epiphany scene, and makes me hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Raiden.
So, good animation, great storytelling, but a serious lack of directorial attention. This episode had all the makings of something really great, but it ended up just kinda crapping out until the second half. I give it six “airplane passengers who really should be worried about that door opening, but for some reason don’t even notice” out of ten.