This week: A double whammy of Disneyland parodies and Futurama rip-offs!
The boys arrive at Akka Sakka, a planet devoted to the idea of joy and love that’s basically a giant theme park. The one catch is that you need to be upbeat and happy (or at least pretend to be) the entire time you’re within the park, otherwise the chorus girls who randomly pop up will give you the stink eye and, I assume, kill you. Hatchi takes to it like a fish to water, having apparently never been to an amusement park before, while Robbi and Ikku require a bit more…coercion. There’s also a major event called the Lovely Star Night going on that night, an annual aligning of the nearby asteroids that are celebrated by crowning a King and Queen who are destined to be together forever. But in their commotion, Hatchi gets lost and has to be picked up at the Missing Children Center. There, he talks to a kid who he relates to because he’s from a rich family with controlling but distant parents. Oh, and Yang and the gang are also here on the hunt for Robbi, so naturally, everything goes to shit.
In the next episode, the crew arrives at Mulberry-Seven, a clam centric world…until they realize they’ve actually landed on Mulberry-Eight, where the planet is run by robots. And they’ve been especially dickish to Ikku lately, so now would be a great opportunity for him to turn the tables…but doesn’t. So the boys used Hizakuriger as a disguise to get in with the locals, then reveal themselves to the human slaves harvesting clams. But they also get wrapped up in a duel between nations and find that they can see through the usually blinding particles that would blind the other robots and inspire the humans to rise up in revolution. Also, Yang is there looking for Robby in a Lagann-ish robot of his own.
The premise for the first episode seems almost teed up for a message about how trying to be too happy will only blind you to the ugly truth about things, with Hatchi possibly being willing to defend this by wanting to hide from his bad relationship with his parents through traveling, whereas Robby would retort about how…I don’t know, maybe that he needed to be reminded life was harsh in order to keep himself grounded? Only they both came from rich families and wanted to travel, so their respective backstories don’t really mesh with that. Either way, it would have been better than how they actually chose to resolve it, which is a tacked on message about…making friends?
And then we get to the robot planet episode (I was so sure that “Mulberry” was some obscure sci-fi reference but I couldn’t find anything). Again, with it immediately starting with the guys dissing Ikku, I was about 90% certain this was set up for him losing it and turning on them the moment he realized he was somewhere he could be the one in charge for once. I suppose that be sort of cliché if they had gone that route, but then what we got felt like it sort of spun out of control and randomly landed on “and then the humans revolted and took over the planet”. Being a mecha fan, I appreciated the little nods to other mecha shows that I could find (or maybe imagined), like Yang’s Lagann fighting a bull-horned robot that could be a reference to the first episode of “Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann” OR the DIRECT reference to Mobile Suit Gundam with the mention of Minovsky Particles, but references don’t make up for a sloppy story.
At least next week seems to finally be giving us some answers as we head to the manufacturing planet where Hizakuriger was born! And maybe we’ll find out how it connects to Robby’s parents or something.