Robbi Who: “The Myth Makers”
Robby narrates some exposition about mankind’s first contact: In 1969, As America was getting ready to land on the moon in 1969, Japan beat them to it by a few minutes and also met the first alien, marking the age of the Galactic Century.
In Present Day, 50 years later, the Nagaya Voyager arrives at Yokkamarche, an industrial planet, to repair the ship and Hizakuriger after it got so beat up last episode. It’s also apparently where Ikku was made, so there’s that. Once there, they meet with Armeni, turns out to be a huge classic anime nerd who made an arrangement with Robby’s dad Luci to take any repairs in exchange for stuff like sketches, scripts, or anything from classic anime from before First Contact. And his favorite was the show that Hizakuriger came from, though apparently its twelfth episode has been lost. It also just so happened that Robby’s parents had a ton of Hizakuriger production goodies lying around and sold them to get their riches, the Nagaya, and the Hizakuriger mech…and the reason they had them was because Yuma Yarge, the director of the series, was Luci’s father and Robby’s grandfather.
For whatever reason, Robby never knew about his grandfather’s history making anime because his dad never told him about it. Now he’s getting it in full force because Yokkamarche is obsessed with old anime, including a fan club that Robby gets to sit in on and learn of their plight and the troubled history of the Hizakuriger series: turns out they had a troubled production from the start, but once humanity made first contact and aliens were nothing like how shows portrayed them, their ratings sank and the show ended prematurely, with the twelfth in particular having needed to be pulled from re-runs for mysterious reasons. However, as the nerds talk shop, Robby remembers that his grandfather showed him that episode a few times, meaning he’s probably one of the only people living who know what happened in it (and the master film was buried with his granddad).
When the nerds find this out, they forcibly strap him to a machine from Total Recall to pull his memories of the episode out (and everything else), but oddly lucky for Robby, Yang arrives to save him and ends up letting him escape. Robby reminisces about his grandfather as the crew flies off again.
As mentioned, I haven’t seen much of Gintama, the show that RobiHachi’s director is best known for, but I have seen the clips that like to get super meta about the anime industry. So, it’s safe to say that this guy likes to throw in meta humor in his shows from time to time, which means this episode was his chance to let it all out. And while I’m not super familiar with anime production, I AM a Doctor Who fan, and we know a thing or two about missing episodes. Basically, because of the mismanaged archiving (or lack thereof) of the early years of television, a lot of old shows and movies are lost to the ages because the film they were made on was wiped, including the footage of many of the first six seasons of Doctor Who. As such, the past few decades have turned into a bit of a treasure hunt for intact missing episodes, sometimes fruitful and sometimes not. So hearing all this talk about the missing Hizakuriger episode really tapped into my fanboy knowledge of that sort of thing.
But meta jokes, as good as they are, should only be icing in my eyes, so how was the rest of the episode without those? Well, I’m happy to say this was actually the first episode in awhile that felt like it was really making use of the characters, even if it was mainly Robby and his backstory. We get some worldbuilding about when this series actually takes place (apparently modern day in 2019!) and finally get some proper insight to the background of Hizakuriger, which we haven’t really gotten into besides a few hints here and there. It’s troubled history, being from a show that was cancelled in the wake of First Contact because of how it portrayed aliens, is an interesting premise at least. I’ve always wondered how our sci-fi media might be effected if we ever came across real aliens, though I imagine if it potentially offended any of them that we could just say they were a fiction species, but something like cancellations would likely happen too.
In any case, it’s neat to finally get to dig into Robby’s history, though we only have three episodes left to do anything with Hatchi’s. It sort of feels like it took us too long to finally reach a decent episode and now the show’s almost over. Ah well, here’s hoping the remainder can keep this trend going for the remaining weeks.