There’s no better time for a Christmas special than the middle of May!
By Space Battleship Tiramisu’s standards, there’s a lot going on here. After “Drifting Without Side Dishes” failed to fully justify its existence, this week’s installment reiterated that a two-story approach is what works best given the show, and Subaru’s, short attention spans. For the most part, anyway, but I’ll get to that shortly.
“Holy Night Scramble” is exactly the kind of dumb fun Subaru is drawn to; honestly, the mere sight of the Durandal adorned with Christmas lights and decorations makes it worth a watch. Yet beyond its humor, I love that the show is again dedicating time to worldbuilding. The battle with the mysterious spider-shaped spacecraft is easily my favorite battle sequence of the season so far and would still be regardless of its bright colors (although, I can’t emphasize enough just how much the animators have outdone themselves). Meanwhile, the opening is downright freaky as the captain outlines a “fake human” threat to the crew, a clever tonal shift to employ given how quickly I’d gotten used to experiencing events from Subaru’s perspective. As much as our protagonist is amusingly self-centered, there’s still a war going on around him. Similarly, it feels as though the flashbacks to Subaru and his mother shortly before and after the latter’s death are definitely building to something. There’s enough foreshadowing that this wouldn’t be unearned, but I can’t help wondering if this is the kind of show that really needs a huge plot twist.
Which brings me to “Dim Memory”. Disguising this kind of format shakeup as a normal episode is undeniably impressive, and there’s hardly anything wrong with the more traditional elements we see before the big reveal. I wouldn’t be surprised to find ‘Subaru argues with the cleaning lady’ alongside previous Space Battleship Tiramisu plots; it’s nothing special but hits enough of its beats to create a sense of normalcy. In hindsight, it’s interesting that “Holy Night Scramble” contains so much foreshadowing to the twist here, suggesting a step towards overarching continuity. However, as alluded to above, I’m not yet convinced that it works. Indeed, the final minute of “Dim Memory” is as far from comedy as this show has ever veered, and I just hope it doesn’t suffer an identity crisis from experiments like this.
Although this is a solid episode, it simultaneously embodies the idea of a mixed bag. I’ll likely need to revisit it in light of whatever conclusion we’re offered, so here’s hoping next week delivers!