Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Eureka 7: Episode 2

At the end of last episode, Renton fell to his death. Without the main character, the show quickly changes direction and now centers around a talking rhino named, Turtle Dream, who travels the countryside solving crimes with a team of spunky and determined minors who'll all make wonderful toys and identify well with the 8-14 demographic. What? He's alive? Fuck. I was looking forward to Turtle Dream: Rhines and Misdemeanors.

Before we get to Renton's not dying, we're presented with a flashback. Li'l Renton, his sister, and their grandfather stand in the rain over their father's grave or memorial eyesore. Grandpa is going on about how he didn't mean to raise his son to die a hero and people forget what's true and important. "This is what awaits at the end of a dream," he tells the orphans. Grandpa believes that his son was 'used by others for their own happiness...' He's the embodiment of that oval from the Zoloft ads. Renton's sister pipes up only after Grandpa has walked off, telling Li'l Renton that, before their father left, he told her, "Don't ask for it; go win it on your own. Do that and you'll succeed." Don't ask to join a bowling league, buy a trophy and display it proudly.

Renton's pulled out of his flashback as missiles explode somewhere above. He repeats the lines his sister told him as he falls really, really far. As he goes further down, his board starts to glow green and Renton's eyes get really big. The glowing increases and leaves a trail as Renton's fall is obstructed by rocks, so that we can think he failed for just a moment. More prespense. With his eyes tightly closed, Renton hovers above the jagged rocks I believe are below, surrounded by these flying, green, sting-ray creatures, the show calls, Sky Fish. Fish. In the sky. What'd you call 'em? His eyes open, he sees the fighting above, and flies up on his board.

The Gekko State guys aren't fairing too well. The Trappa (the bullshit thing that allows the airboarding to happen) there is too thin for them to get good enough lift to maneuver. Holland plans to break through using 'Compact Feed Back' which I guess is bad, but damned if he's going to loose 'her' (Eureka) in a place like where ever the hell they are. Just as he's about to initiate the stupid thing, Renton flies up next to him. Renton monologues to his sister some more, which he does A LOT, about how he's going to 'win it for [himself].' One of the military LFOs drops down in front of him, and Renton pulls off that cut-back drop-turn thing, much to Holland's surprise. Renton gets past the military - because in TV and movies, any kid can get past any military - and makes it to the Nirvash. But the wind displaced by a giant robot is much greater than the wind displaced by a little kid, so, Renton is knocked off his board to not fall to his death, again. Why actual physics kicked in there for a moment, I'm not sure. Eureka tells the Nirvash to hurry, and the two fly down to save Renton. Eureka opens her cockpit (giggle) and Renton falls into her lap. Renton immediately admits an undying love for Eureka, saying he was able to defy all those physics because of her. After an uncomfortable hug, he pulls out the Amita Drive and says he'll protect Eureka with it. He then plugs it into the compact drive, without even asking, and after a sparkly light show, the word 'Eureka' appears on the drive, and she and the Nirvash pass right the fuck out. Good job, wonder boy. Holland whips down to try and save them as Renton grabs the controls, which have frozen. Renton, rightly so, freaks out right before we zoom into his eyeball. Not in a CSI way, but in a scene transitiony way.

Some time later, the two pilots of the other Gekko State LFO, Stoner and Mathew, stand inside a huge crater made of pillars of salt. Holland is knelt beside Eureka, who is just waking up in her cockpit. Holland tells her, "I didn't think that the awakening program inside the Amita Drive would release that much of your Nirvash's power." Eureka corrects him, though, saying that the one who released all that power was Renton. Who is sleeping in her lap. I get tired after I wake up, too.

A man swerves his truck/golf cart thing into Renton's grandfather's place, which is now mostly rubble. He freaks out when he sees this and screams out like he just lost the love of his life. Grandpa is seated nearby, however, and simply asks the man for a light. As they awkwardly pad out the scene, the Nirvash lands a few feet away. Grandpa runs up and, in a panic, asks Eureka where Renton is.

On a military... giant, plane thing, Dominique, an information officer, is demanding they return to headquarters at once. The guy in charge says that there's no way they can go back empty-handed, but Dominique is sure that it'll be okay as long as they report the 'Seven Swell Phenomenon.' The guy in charge verbally bitch slaps him, and Dominique attempts to take command of the vessel. Fake *gasp*

Renton's sleeping on a couch out in the rubble with a goofy smile on his face. Being not a dick for a moment, Grandpa tells Eureka that he's actually kind of happy. "... other than me, who's going to praise this boy for what he's done?" You mean, assisting in the death of military personal, escape of wanted fugitives, and causing a huge-ass crater big enough that I have to assume a few hundred people were killed in the blast? I don't know. Holland airboards in and tells Grandpa that he never thought they'd have to meet again, in a somber, polite tone. Grandpa's none to pleased with Holland. "Every time you do something like this, you screw up my life," Grandpa tells Holland. There's some foreshadowing talk that, frankly, I don't get and feel bogs down the scene. As they talk, we're shown that Renton is within earshot, but still asleep, even though Eureka is poking his face with her finger. The grownups talk about responsibility and decisions that were made in the past. Holland asks why Grandpa hid the Amita Drive and why he made Renton deliver it. Grandpa grabs Holland by his fruity neckerchief and yells, "Because it was my son who invented it! In reality, you have no right to hold it! The only one who can hold besides me is..." We see Renton is now awake. Drum roll. "... Renton." But because Grandpa only said nice things about Renton while he was asleep, he has to say this: "But now, there's no one else I can entrust that thing to other than you." Grandpa starts to cry, and bids Holland good day. Renton bitches out loud to Eureka about his life, finally asking her what he should do. Before she can say anything, Holland bellows, "That's something you have to decide." He recites something I'm sure he read in a book somewhere about making your own fate, and we cut away.

Back on the military thing, Dominique has been thrown into coach seating, as the dude in charge finds out that Gekko State is nearby. He orders an attack right away.

At the rubble, Holland finds Renton hiding behind a sign. He wants to know if Renton will be joining Gekko State when they leave. He seems to think Renton won't be completely useless because of the cut-back drop-turn thing. It means he trusted himself and the planet and not at all in reality. He says that quitting would be okay, but his teacher used to tell him, "Don't ask for it; go win it on your own. Do that and you'll succeed." Hey! That's just what Renton's sister said their father said! Holland asks what Renton believed in back when the Nirvash passed out. Wavy lines, wavy lines...

Back in the cockpit right after everything went to Hell, Renton's freaking out again, but instead of zooming into his eye, the screen goes black and 'Eureka' runs across it. She wakes up, and tells Renton to believe in her. He flashesback some more, and does so. In return, the Nirvash falls to the ground. Everyone is wondering what just happened except for Holland. He orders the other LFO back, and as his hand starts to shake, says that the "Seven Swell" is coming. Back where the Nirvash crashed, there's a neat little light show, that's turning the surrounding area to salt. A military guy tells us, "The Trappa flow is expanding rapidly." Which would mean something if anyone took the time to properly explain what the fuck any of this is. Grandpa watches the light show from the rubble, telling no one, "You disrespect your parents, leaving behind something that could cause this... This light will ruin us all and guide us to our deaths... how beautiful it is." The Nirvash wakes up, glows, flies into the air, and destroys a few military LFOs. I don't see anyone bail out. Renton's first kill. Holland asks a picture of Renton's family, the sister scribbled out, if it's really okay for this to be happening. It doesn't respond.

Renton tells Holland that his only thought at the time was of saving Eureka, and the Nirvash told him to believe in that. He thought that the belief would be proof of something. Holland scoffs and says that if he really wants to prove something, he should come with them. And, because Eureka wants Renton to come. Just as Renton is about to wet himself, the military arrives. Eureka grabs Renton's hand and says they should go. Renton monologues to his sister about crap and we fade out.

All in all, I must say the series isn't all that awful up front. The poorly-to-not-at-all explained science frustrates me and I always hate the emo boi main character, but it's actually decent storytelling, so far. I admit bias because I know it all starts to suck badly real soon. So, be ready.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Elfen Lied: Episode 7

Bando and Nana stand-off at the beach. Bando demands to know what's up with Nana's horns. Nana shrugs that off and says, "Even if you had a hundred people, you couldn't beat me," adding, "You're lucky, Papa told me to be a good girl, so you don't have to die." Bando, forgetting that the last be-horned chick he ran into tore off his arm with an invisible hand, laughs. Nana starts walking away, but Bando fires off a .50 caliber tungsten bullet, knocking Nana to the sand. He's certain that it's too heavy a round for Nana to deflect, and that at a close enough range it will kill her. Nana gasps so hard we cut to the next scene.

Kouta comes out of the Inn to feed Wanta to find Nyuu coming back from taking said dog for a walk. Mayu and Yuka are busy preparing dinner, and as Yuka hears Nyuu and Kouta laughing, she starts to shake with rage. She stops when she notices Mayu blankly staring at the wall. She offers to take over for Mayu and let her relax, but Mayu wants to be helpful to her new family... of runaways, kidnappers, and killers. After a few seconds of silence, Yuka decides it's enough off-screen fun for Nyuu and Kouta, and demand they at least come in and set the table. As she's off doing that, Mayu flashbacks to Bando and wonders if she should tell everyone else about almost being murdered.

Back to real-time Bando, as he demands to where Lucy is. While Nana doesn't know and can't feel Lucy's presence, Bando doesn't believe her. He shoots Nana in the arm, which is plastic or something so doesn't really hurt, but knocks Nana down nonetheless. Nana starts to cry and mentions that she was really going to be good like Papa Glasses wanted. Really she was! Bando closes in to kick Nana, then quickly jumps back two meters. He berates her a little saying the only reason she's still alive is that she was a test subject, which Nana refuses to believe until she remembers Papa saying he was ordered to kill her. She decides that if people like her aren't meant to exist in this world, it'd be better for her to 'erase' it.

Back at Runaway Inn, the family sits down to dinner. Mayu watches Nyuu attempt to navigate her chopsticks in awe. Have to break up your action sometimes, I guess. Even if you do that by inserting scenes that have nothing to do with anything.

At the beach, suddenly at night, Nana walks slowly towards Bando as he fires shots into her plastic limbs. He notices that even though he's hitting, there's no blood, and runs back. He lures Nana into a spot of beach with nothing around for Nana to pick up and throw through his person. He threatens her, saying that at five meters he can hit her heart, but being the slow bad guy he is, lets Nana to take a few more steps before attempting to fire off the killing blow. Nana raises her right arm, and fires it off like a missile. Bando is knocked back a few feet, dropping his gun. Nana is now on top of him, like Lucy was in episode two. This time, however, Bando has a second gun prepared. He fires off a single shot, grazing Nana's head, and destroying his new robo-arm. Piece of crap arm. Nana freaks out a little at the sight of blood and cries for Papa some more. Bando lies back, apparently enjoying the moment. Nana asks why his arm is all Terminatory, and Bando says how Nana's 'companion' tore it off. Nana goes 'nuh-uh' and tells Bando how her body was 'cut up' by Lucy, too. The two bond over their missing limbs, and Nana insists that it'd be easier to kill Lucy if they team up, but Bando is a lone wolf. With a busted robot arm, a lot of guns, and sunglasses. Bando does offer Nana the note with his phone number he got back from Mayu, though. Saying if she sees Lucy, she should call him. However, Nana's new to the outside world, and doesn't know what a cell phone is. So, instead Nana picks up her arm and clicks it back in place. She offers to help Bando up, but pulls the old 'fake limb' trick, and lets it slip off just as he's getting up. Oh, hilarity. For whatever reason, Bando doesn't pick up a gun and shoot the crap out of her.

Back in Kak's office. Diclonius bad. "Remember what happened last episode? That was great." Pointless scene? Nope, just had one.

Nana sits by the street in town, and wonders aloud what she's supposed to do. She's holding a bag full of money. A lot of money. But, again, Nana doesn't know what anything is, so she just stares at the paper. She gets up and walks past a little pastry shop. She asks the man working the shop for some cake, and he tells her it'll be 500 yen. She gets flustered and rifles through her pockets looking for 500 of these Earth moneys. As she's doing so, two girls come up and get some cake, paying for it in yen coins, just to make Nana feel more confused and hurt and lonely... poor Nana. All she wants to do is kill somebody. Nana walks away, noting that without 500 yen, she can't eat, ever.

Mayu is out walking Wanta as an excuse to call someone for help on Lucy maybe being crazy, when she sees light coming from the cemetery Lucy and Nana previously fought. She finds Nana huddled next to a small fire contained in a tin of some sort. Mayu starts to freak out, but notices Nana has all her legs and calms down, just as one of Nana's legs falls right off. Mayu passes right out. Comedy is all about timing. I'm not sure what that was. Let's just call it an act break and get on to the rest of the show.

Nyuu is playing with a clock, which she sometimes does, when Kouta walks in. He mentions that since the clock was already broken, it doesn't really matter that she's playing with it. Well, okay then. He tries to ask her how she escaped from Dr. Kak, as if she'd answer, but has another 'Nam flashback and kind of forgets what he was talking about. Pointless scenes are like water at a restaurant; you say you don't need more, but they just keep refilling the glass.

Back at the cemetery, Mayu is waking up. Nana and Wanta stayed over her to make sure she was okay. Mayu asks about Nana's leg, and she says that if she loses concentration for a second, they fall off. Not to scare off her could-be killer, Mayu changes the subject to Nana's horns. She thinks they're cute. Nana is so flattered, she starts to do a little dance as Mayu tries to mention that she knows another girl with horns. But, Nana interrupts her, asking if they could be friends. She says that she used to be in a 'temple sort of place' and doesn't really know the outside world, which is find and dandy, but being alone sucks. Mayu, feeling a sort of shared connection with Nana perhaps, quickly agrees. At the fire, Mayu sees that Nana is keeping the fire going with the money from her bag. She stops her, then there's another 'comedic' moment I won't bore anyone with. While collecting the money, which is strewn all over the cemetery for no real reason, Mayu blurts out that someone's after her buddy Nyuu, too. I guess during an edit, they two talked about how Bando tried to kill Nana. That or I blacked out in some comedy induced coma, but that seems unlikely.

At Runaway Inn, Kouta is about to go out and look for Mayu, since she's been gone for some time. As he starts out the door, Nyuu grabs Yuka's breasts with great glee. Again, I don't really know why. "Anime: They just do." Right outside is Mayu and Nana. Nana came to see if Lucy was really there, but doesn't sense her and starts to walk off. Kouta stops her and starts asking lots of questions in that freaked out way he does. Mayu stops her, and suggests that they take Nana in for a meal, at least. Kouta agrees, as he's always happy to oblige young girls... would be creepy if he weren't almost asexual. For some reason, Kouta struggles with the door, just long enough for Nyuu to get on the other side. When he finally gets it open, he falls back so Nana has a clear line of sight to Nyuu, who she thinks must still be Lucy. Glass breaks, doors go down, everything's a slow pull out from a still frame. End episode nana.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Romeo X Juliet 5

Alright, so, Juliet knows that Romeo is a Montague, and Romeo knows that 'Odin' is really Juliet, but doesn't know that Juliet is a Capulet or that she's the Crimson Whirlwind. The cold-open doesn't go much further than last episode's final scene before jumping into the intro. When we come back, Romeo's outside with his Ryouma, asking himself why Juliet was dressed as a dude. As he ponders, Juliet comes out dressed as Odin, and presents Romeo with her cloak to wear since his shirt is somewhat ashed. He tries to press Juliet for an answer to her cross-dressing, but she just tells him, "Don't ask..." Pfft, women... dressed as men. I understand that Juliet can't really get into it, especially with the Archduke's son, but the guy just gave her a flying horseback ride over Neo Verona and saved her from serious burns. He should get some sort of answer.

At the playhouse, Conrad's pissed, yet again. Nobody knows where Juliet is, and martial law has been ordered in the city in a further attempt to catch the Crimson Whirlwind. And that's it. I get that these little stops the playhouse are supposed to be important so we can get information Juliet isn't privy to, and it helps to break everything up, but... they're not only boring, they're too short to matter. Conrad is always pissed, so we don't need to see it; it adds no tension or comedy. We're about to learn about the martial law in a scene coming up, so dropping it in a throw away scene is pointless unless we didn't know where Juliet was either, and were worried she'd been captured. But she's off being awkward with Romeo, so we know she's okay. I accept padding out an episode to a certain degree, but this is an anime with flying horses and swords. A pointless action scene is still better than a pointless talking-about-shit-we-already-know scene. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, I'm looking at you.

Back at the iris garden, Romeo asks if he shouldn't take Juliet home. She shakes her head and apologizes for burning Romeo's shirt before trying to run off. Romeo shouts out and asks if they'll ever meet again. Juliet just goes, 'hmm,' before running out of the scene.

Back in the Slums of Beverly Verona, a woman pleads with who I assume is a baker for more bread. She has way too many kids, and the little loaf she's been given isn't going to feed them all. The baker is sorry, but with the martial law, food is being rationed until the Whirlwind is captured. Lord Dipshit, one of the creepy dudes the priest was talking to last episode, walks the streets with two underlings. As he bangs a mace into his hand, he taunts the people of the city saying, "[The Crimson Whirlwind] dared involve all the virtuous citizens in his scheme! ... Anyone who provides us with information about the Crimson Whirlwind, or turns in the real Crimson Whirlwind, will receive extra rations. If you don not wish to starve to death, you will cooperate with us." Of course, Cordelia just so happens to be on hand for this.

Back at the playhouse, she fills in the rest of the Capulet Cast on what she saw. Adding, "Those accused of being the Crimson Whirlwind are randomly arrested and taken away somewhere." Conrad asks that neither Cordelia nor Antonio tell Juliet about what's happening in the city. 'Cause, it's not like she sneaks out into the city all the time and might notice the public beatings and starving citizens strewn about. Shh...

Juliet/Odin runs to the secret door in the playhouse that leads to Capulet HQ, when Willy pokes his head through a curtain. He inquires as to the date. 'Odin' denies such tawdry activities ever take place anywhere, ever, but Willy interrupts, "I can hear the heartbeat of someone who was basking in bliss." When 'Odin' blushes like a little girl, Willy sort of apologizes, then continues, "No one can stop the gears of love once they begin to turn." If such monkey wrenches didn't exist, the divorce rate would probably be lower.

Up inside, Juliet announces she's home, and everyone pretends like they weren't worried or nothin'. As Cordelia brushes Juliet's hair, as is her primary responsibility it seems, Juliet says she'd like to sew a shirt. Cordelia wonders if it's for 'that noble boy' up the street, and Juliet sort of nods. Cordelia agrees to give Juliet some pointers, but suggests that a shirt isn't the best first project for a trainee seamstress, and proposes a handkerchief would be better. Adding that she's sure he'd really like it if Juliet embroidered his name into it. Yeah. Us guys like anything with our name on it.

Romeo sits in his room, or someplace with a couch, thinking about irises and flashingback to images of Crimson, Odin, and Juliet, and thinking about how all three of them smell like irises and, oh yeah, look EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME! It almost hits him, but '[he] can't image such a cute girl doing that.' "That" being "stabbin' guys and takin' names."

Slums. Random Guy is thrown to the ground a struck with the butt of a spear. A few feet back, Lord Dipshit rewards a man with bread and cheese for turning the random guy in as the Whirlwind. Dr. Glasses Man (I still don't know his real name, hmm...) stands by with his wife and watch the be-breaded one run off. Mrs. Dr. Glasses Man thinks it's horrible to turn someone into the police like that, but Mr. Dr. Glasses Man doesn't blame Bread Man. He blames the Archduke. It makes him stare at flags, he's so angry.

In her room, Juliet embroideries what's supposed to be an iris, but, being her first try, she smiles at the random yellowness and admits, "I guess it won't look exactly like the real thing." As this is going on, Cordelia tells Curio about the embroideriness which he immediately seems to distrust. Some sort of thimble accident in his past, I presume.

In a courtyard down in the slums, again, 'somewhere,' a Wickerman-like structure has been erected to hold all the men accused of being the Crimson Whirlwind. As they scream down to their loved ones, the loved ones scream back. Dr. Glasses appears again to distain all over the place, but this time, finds the priest who we were introduced to in episode three talking to Lord Dipshit. Turns out, Lord Dipshit's real name is, Sir Cerimon, and the priest is there to tell him that, "... it seems tonight will be a memorable spectacle." The doctor aghasts against the wall, and takes us to commercial.

Romeo and Benvolio fly above Neo Verona. Romeo senses a disturbance in the force, and Benny fills him in on declaration of martial law. Romeo attempts to fly into the city, but Benny stops him. He knows that Romeo wants to go protect Whirlwind and tells him, "The Crimson Whirlwind is a rebel who has defied your father!" Benny doesn't agree with martial law either, but knows if Romeo tries to stand up against his father, bad things would happen to Romeo. He asks that Romeo "bear with it" so that one day, "... [he'll] be able to create a new era."

The smarmy priest arrives at a dimly lit church to find Dr. Glasses standing in the shadows. The doctor tackles the priest into a pew and growls, "You're a clergyman, and yet you're plotting with the nobles to betray us all!" The priest starts to laugh that arrogant bad guy laugh they do right before they say, "You just don't get it, do you?" He explains, "... we are but part of the lowly masses... We must yield to the mighty... After all, the duty of the populace is to serve the rulers." After a good clench, the doctor releases the priest and walks out.

Back at the Wickerman effigy, the good doctor spots Antonio, Curio, and Francisco standing around not helping, either. Curio and the doctor see each other, and the doctor approaches the group. "I wish to meet with the person who has protected and raised the iris," he says to them. "Iris," being the ever so clever code for, "Juliet." We immediately cut to the doctor standing under a bridge at dusk. Conrad stands on the bridge above and, facing the opposite direction, says, "How can you be certain that the iris did not wither?" The doctor replies, "I have lived with the belief and hope that the iris would be reborn once more." So, born a third time? Wouldn't the reemergence of the princess only be the second 'birth'? Anyway, with the 'spotted eagle flies at midnight' crap out of the way, the doctor gets straight to the point: "Is the Crimson Whirlwind the surviving iris?" Conrad confirms this, and says that he knew he'd have to tell the doctor at some point. Why would he have to tell the doctor at some point? Who the hell knows? He then thanks the doctor as 'the representative of the Capulet family.' Curio, who must've been standing nearby the whole time just off screen, bows slightly to the doctor, who then smiles. As he starts to walk off, the doctor asks Curio to tell the Whirlwind to take care of herself. The doctor is about to do something brave and stupid, methinks.

In her room, Juliet has finished her handkerchief with something that doesn't really look like an iris on it, and she's really pleased. Just to make us feel worse about what's about to happen. Antonio knocks on the door to let her know Conrad went to speak with the doctor. They know something's about to happen. Conrad is tightlipped about what's going on, so Antonio and Juliet as Odin run out of the playhouse, with Cordelia in tow.

At home, the doctor sits on the foot of his daughters' bed and watches them sleep. He tells his wife that if they could move to a more peaceful city, their children could group up carefree. Taking his wife's hand, he insists that she get some sleep as well. "The world won't always be like this," he says reassuringly.

As Team Odin runs through town Juliet notices a strange glow from the courtyard. Cordelia tries to stop her, but Juliet changes course to investigate.

At the Wickerman statue, guards have already started to pour oil at its base. The three appear at a staircase nearby, and Antonio admits that everyone inside the statue have been captured as Whirlwind candidates. Realizing that innocent people are about to be burned alive for things she's done, Juliet starts to run off to find a phone booth, but is stopped by Curio and Francisco. Francisco asks that Juliet please, 'endure it.' "Even if you went, as we are greatly outnumbered, we would not stand a chance," says Francisco, mirroring the conversation between Benvolio and Romeo earlier. She still tries to go change into her red suit of courage, but Curio backhands Juliet to the ground. And just to make it sting a little more, says, "While you were focusing on that noble's son, you fled from reality and ignored the city. Will you only help these people when it strikes your fancy? I don't remember us protecting such a princess!" Curio can be bitchy. As Juliet ponders, a man from the effigy screams for help, bringing with him the screams from the crowd and men with him. Juliet gets the shaky anime eye, and attempts to go help them once more, but this time is stopped by the doctor. Seeing how much this all affects her, the doctor tells Juliet, "You are exactly the person I believed you would be. This is not the place for you to risk your life." Juliet gasps knowingly, and makes a grab for the doctor's shoulder as he runs off, but misses.

Running through a hallway, the doctor transforms into the Crimson Whirlwind, more and more of the costume appearing as he passes behind pillars as dramatic music swells. In his inner-monologue, we hear him say, "Father... you are mistaken!" Just before he jumps on to the top of the effigy and stares down Lord Dipshit who says, "You fell for it, Crimson Whirlwind." Dr. Whirlwind stands tall as we fade out to credits.

So... he just had a Crimson Whirlwind costume laying around? Was there a costume shop in Neo Verona that sold outfits of outlawed vigilantes? Did he start sewing it after his meeting with Conrad while his wife was out of the room? I guess it doesn't matter. I should be asking: Who the hell is this guy? We never learned his name, which points to it being important. And this battle cry of, "Fuck you, Dad!" seems telling. For the moment, I'll assume he's the priest's son. We never learned his name, either, and judging by how familiar they were when they were introduced to us, and how pissed off the doctor got in this episode, it looks like they have some sort of history. Not that it's a reviewer's job to predict this stuff...

Romeo X Juliet 4

As Juliet/Crimson regains their composure after learning Romeo is a Montague, footsteps are heard approaching. Her and the doctor turn to see Francisco and Curio appear from a tunnel. Above them all, a horse flies majestically through the air. Short and sweet cold-open. Intro incoming.

We come back to Romeo being cleared of all charges for the episode three rescue by two nameless guys. Where I assume is nearby, the priest from last episode is talking to creepy dudes who are conspiring to capture the Crimson Whirlwind 'at all costs.' The priest seems to know that Romeo helped Crimson out, but I'm not sure how he'd know that unless he was eavesdropping on the prior conversation. Nothing I saw during said conversation hinted at that, but I tend to phase out during boring conversations I don't care about.

At the playhouse, Juliet is getting yelled at by Conrad again for being the Red Knight. This time, he gets to play the Capulet card, though. Juliet questions the whole vengeance thing, saying it's not what she wants, and that reclaiming Neo Verona is nothing more than vengeance, and there'd be no point. Her feelings for Romeo are making her forget his dad's an asshat who's killed a bunch of people for maybe being one guy. Up in her room, Cordelia helps Juliet change. As she brushes her hair, Juliet says, "I wasn't supposed to become fond of irises." As soon as it's said, a petal falls off the iris on her desk. Cordelia seems to think that means something.

Romeo and Benvolio talk in the Ryouma stables about whether or not Crimson is a bad person. Benny figures out that Romeo saved Crimson on purpose, then checks around for spies or listening devices or something. Romeo believes that the Whirlwind is a source of justice for the people, but Benny counters saying, "You can't rule a kingdom with only a sense of justice." After adding a bit about how Romeo is all powerless and a little stupid, Romeo shuts up and looks pretty damned defeated.

Back at the playhouse, Juliet has been sleeping 'all day' which is pretty relative in this series. She could've been out for thirty minutes. Although, looking at her, she might've been in a heroin coma for quite some time. Vigilante dethroned princesses shouldn't hang out with Courtney Love. Or Brittney Spears, to be a little more current. She remarks to no one that the Moon looks like it's crying. Back in the stables, Romeo stares at the Moon and declares that the 'sad hours seem so long.' And somewhere in New York, Feivel Mousekewitz sings that, 'it helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky.'

Back in the slums, another guy is being accused of being the Whirlwind. Dr. Glasses is about to step in to help, but his wife stops him from getting captured, again. Afterwards, in a corridor somewhere, Dr. Glasses tears down a flier and expresses more anger that they're offering money to anyone with information as to who the Whirlwind may be. The implication being that anyone can step forward and accuse anyone else of being the Whirlwind for a little money.

Juliet attempts to run outside in a cloak and wig, but is stopped by Willy, who doesn't know about the whole "Juliet thing," calling her Odin. He rightly assumes that 'Odin' has a love interest that 'he' just has to see. Being the romantic guy he is, Willy lets Juliet by him with little fanfare. She walks the streets alone, finding herself at the cemetery, which just so happens is full of those irises. She takes a moment to smell the irises and flashback about Romeo, wondering why it should matter that Romeo is a Montague. Then gives the slightly altered famed line, "An iris by any other name would smell as sweet." As she apologizes to her parents' grave for falling in love with a forbidden one, Romeo flies overhead. Commercial break.

She hides behind a grave as Romeo asks his Ryouma why it brought him to the cemetery. Suddenly, Juliet figures out that she can see Romeo now, because she's wearing a wig. It honestly took me a few minutes to figure that out, since Odin and Juliet look exactly the same. Cielo, the flying horse, walks up to Juliet and gives her a whiff before bowing down and offering her a ride. Romeo decides to extend the offer as well, being the way-too-trusting-prince-people-are-plotting-against he is. Juliet accepts, of course, and the two jump on the saddle and the two are soon in the air. Cielo flies up a little to fast for Romeo's taste, and apologizes, saying, "He usually does what I say." Juliet giggles and says, "I know." Romeo admits that he's never flown 'this high' before, and Juliet says, "I see," in a tone as if to say, "Do you even know how to fly this horse?" They talk and Juliet introduces herself as Odin. When Romeo offers his name, Juliet asks what his last name is. Juliet's inner-monologue calls her an idiot, "it's not like his name will change if I ask him again." To her surprise, Romeo says that he doesn't like the rest of his name. He must smell awesome right now. And the two fly off into the cloud-set.

After a quick stop to the playhouse to see Cordelia and Antonio worry about where Juliet has gotten off to, we go back to our pair flying through the rain, as a storm has suddenly broken out. Romeo offers to take 'Odin' home, but Juliet can't let Romeo take her to where she lives, and wants to spend more time with him. Instead, they stop by a little house somewhere so they can get dry. There are a lot of 'somewheres' in this show. No one place seems to be in direct relation to anywhere else. As Romeo takes his clothes off to dry by the fire, he asks 'Odin' do the same. Romeo figures 'Odin' is embarrassed to undress in front of other people 'even though [he's] a guy' and tries to leave it at that, but Cielo whinnies from outside that he needs to be dried off, too. As Romeo leaves, he says 'Odin' can undress now. It'd take a brain-dead monkey to not see what's about to happen. Just as Juliet is mostly undressed and taking off her wig, Romeo comes back in. Juliet steps back and knocks over Romeo's shirt, landing it in the fire. Romeo dashes in to pull Juliet out of a similar fate, landing himself right on top of her. And scene.

I'm starting to think this may be the beginning of a beautiful yet horribly unhealthy relationship resulting in the double suicide of two teenagers. Of course, I felt that way watching Good Burger, too.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Romeo X Juliet 3

We open in the cemetery with Juliet's eyes about three times too big. She was either taught a lesson about Christmas that went horribly awry, or we're starting where we left off last time. Juliet has just found out she's the rightful heir to Neo Verona; the daughter of the Capulet family. Conrad continues freaking the hell out of Juliet. Just about everyone who worked for the Capulets had been slaughtered, along with their families. Those who went slaughter-free, vowed to protect 'the last Capulet.' (Coming soon from Disney, "The Very Last Capulet") This is still all news to Antonio, who appears to have gone into some sort of fugue state. The mob's plan, as we're told, is to overthrow Montague. Specifics? Nah. But Juliet gets a cool sword. Then faints. She's had a busy day.

After the intro, Juliet's taking a bath and ruminatin'. Cordelia enters and Juliet barely notices, but does start to ruminate out-loud: "I remember that night when Mother and Father were killed. Why had I forgotten it until now?" Well, traumatic experiences can often cause the brain to block out the memories of the event to protect itself from emotional damage, and the rather sudden reveal of your past in a storm surrounded by people you'd never met can force those memories to the surface, resulting in your post-faint bath. Also, you're in a drama. Be glad you didn't wake up with amnesia and a baby and three boyfriends who don't know about each other. Cordelia puts a towel on Juliet's head and tells her to get some sleep. Fade out.

Fade in. A puddle. Wonderful. If you took all the dreary imagery from what we've seen so far in this series, put it up front, and followed it by all the happy, flower and horse imagery, it'd make the best anti-depressant/feminine hygiene product ad ever. A carriage runs through the puddle and stops so Old Hag can get out. I'm sure she'll get a real name in a moment. We're outside Willy's playhouse, where inside, Willy snores loudly. We quickly learn that Old Hag is Willy's mother. After berating Willy for a few seconds, she asks to see Conrad. Apparently, it's Mrs. Shakespeare's doing that Juliet and her adoptive family has been safe all these years. She put them up in the theater, using her son's love of the theater as cover. After that quick introduction, we whisk our new character away. On the street, Mrs. Shakespeare has a few lines about the Crimson Whirlwind. It's unclear if she's warning Conrad to keep Juliet from playing hero, or if it's idle chatter and she doesn't even know about Juliet's alter-ego. Well, other alter-ego. Or other-other alter-ego. I've lost track.

Of course, the next thing we're quick-cutted to is the Whirlwind's hat on a desk. Juliet sits up in her bed as Cordelia brings her some morning tea. Cordelia remarks that Juliet's fever has gone down. Yeah, I don't remember her having a fever, either. But she's better, anyway. Spotting the iris in Juliet's room, she asks if Juliet plans on meeting "him" again today. Well, she did promise. Cordelia offers to go tell "him" that the date is off, asking lots of questions. Juliet finally offers up that her crush is on the boy that saved them back in episode one. Cordelia raises her voice a little and tells Juliet that she can't see a noble. What with the plot that's been so heavily established and all. She tries to make Juliet promise to never see our Romeo again, but we cut away before she can sob and storm out of the room yelling, "Your not my real mother!"

At what I assume is dusk in this two hours of daylight world, Romeo sits by his Ryouma, Cielo, in the field of irises. "What's wrong, Cielo? You miss her, too?" That's one of the things this series has going for it, so far. The boy is much more the emotional, love-struck puppy than the girl; and the girl is much more the badass, stabby person than the boy. Not only is there the role reversal, but having been through most of high school English and knowing the story, it'll force the boy to rise to action, rather than being the one forced into action for no other reason than he's the main character. But as I blather on about story structure and reach for my copy of Joseph Campbell, I'm interrupted by nobles. Don Montague sits in his throne as his brother and Mercutio laugh about how they're better than everyone else. Montague picks up a grape and says, "The commoners are no different than grapes. To enrich them, or destroy them, is our freedom." Squish goes the grape, leaking grape juice through his fingers like blood. "We, the Montague family, are the ones who rule the vineyard. We will wring those who are useful to their utmost limits." Montague then purposes a toast. Everyone on screen raises their glass, but no one drinks. I guess the image of commoners being squeezed into wine put them off their drink.

Romeo enters and apologizes for being late. Daddy walks over and slaps him. The crowd is strangely shocked by this. The guy was just giving a Darth Vader speech. Is a single smack from His Evilness really so surprising? He quietly belittles Romeo, saying that if he's old enough to succeed the Archduke, he should think a little more before he acts. Then, to the crowd, he makes a joke about how his son must have been a little 'too involved' with his fiancée. Swell guy. Romeo gets the shaky, sad, anime eye. *sniff*

After the Funnest Party Ever, the Archduke asks Mercutio to keep an eye on Romeo and report any oddities immediately. Mercutio, evilly agrees. Montague then leaves to walk through what looks like a mix of Victorian England and Hell, finding himself in front of some big magic-looking tree with Christmas lights on it. Romeo and Juliet, sure, but this is still an anime, damn it. Calling it, Escalus, the Archduke exposits that, "As long as we possess the blessings of this tree, it is impossible to defy us!" Dun, dun, commercial breaaaaaak....

Back in the slums of Neo Verona, a man in glasses is passing out fruit with girls I assume are his daughters, and his wife. A priest comes in to praise the family for their hard work, ask where the food came from, and set himself up for goings-on later. Apparently, the food comes from the Crimson Whirlwind as way of 'thank you' for glasses man treating his/her wounds. I guess he's a doctor. The priest smiles and the editor gets bored, so we cut to a new scene.

Romeo flies over the iris garden on his horse and gets sad about Juliet. At the playhouse, Juliet holds her flower and gets sad about Romeo. Just to remind us they're in love, I guess. 'Cause right after, Romeo drops in on his mother who lives in a tower somewhere. I guess as one does in Neo Verona. Mrs. Romeo's Mother fled the castle a while back, and ever since people have been hatin' on Romeo. Why'd she leave and stick Romeo with some huge burden? Beats me. The two clearly have a much better relationship going than Romeo has with his father, though. Romeo hands his mother flowers and starts to blush. His mom takes the flowers and intuits that her son was thinking about some girl. Weekend Mom giggles, than walks away from us, the audience.

But on with the show. Dr. Glasses Man is on his knees in the slums, with a spear to his neck. A guard is accusing him of being affiliated with the Whirlwind. Where did he hear that, I wonder. He denies it as his kids cry nearby. The guard orders Dr. Glasses taken away, as the priest looks on from... elsewhere.

Cordelia and Conrad talk about crap we already know as Antonio runs in looking for Odin/Juliet/Crimson. He's learned that the doctor has been taken. Odin, Juliet, and Crimson are all very worried. With good reason, too. The good doctor is being questioned further, and looks pretty beaten up. But he doesn't give up a thing. Crimson runs out of the playhouse and is immediately at where ever the hell the doctor is. Crashing through the skylight, Crimson fights off three guards and absconds with the doctor. On their way out, the doctor pleads with Crimson to go on with out him, as is cliché protocol, adding, "You are this city's hope." Of course, Crimson blocks it all out and continues with the heroics. The two are cornered on the roof/guard tower of unnamed building by a number of guards, as Romeo flies on down to see what's going on, squelching the action for the moment. Juliet shines through just a little, as Crimson freezes. Romeo gets a whiff of irises, takes a guard's sword, and says that he'll capture the Whirlwind for the Archduke. During the quick fight, Romeo tells Crimson that there's an aqueduct below and they're going to jump in. With no explanation given to Crimson or us as to why this is a good idea, Romeo grabs him/her, she/he grabs the doctor, and they fall several stories to the aqueduct, leaving the cheese to stand alone.

The doctor blurts out that he never thought the Montague's son would save the Crimson Whirlwind. This time, Juliet gets the shaky, sad, anime eyes as she learns that her love isn't just any ol' royal, but a Montague. Romeo asks that they don't tell anyone he saved them, and as he walks away, Juliet falls to her knees.

Next time on Romeo X Juliet! Will Cordelia confess her love to Conrad? Will Romeo ever come out of his coma? Will Juliet win the spelling bee? ... okay, I don't watch the Next Time Ons. But I feel some woe finally coming on.