The secret of Reverse and the government
I was sitting next to a steampunk girl and a Star Trek pilot while writing the first half of this, actually. Oh Halloween, how I love you. The crazy costumes, the candy..the….okay, that’s about it. I hope all you Metanorn readers have a fun Halloween, even if you don’t get to go trick or treating!
Despite being called Tegami Bachi REVERSE, the actual organization hasn’t actually been given much attention (aside from episode 1). Thankfully, we learn a lot of Reverse backstory this time around. Just be patient. The first scene is Lag writing a letter for a poor, sick girl. She’s sending a letter to her mother to say that her operation went well. You can tell by looking at her that she’s still sick as hell, so this is a blatant lie. Still, Lag can’t refuse so he gives the letter to a Bee named Moc to deliver.
While most evil organizations are shown doing discrete assassinations in the shadows, Reverse just kind of…steals your mail. Roda and Noir go around prying letters from the weak hands of village mothers and Bees, while other members prefer to push boulders off of cliffs. Because that is clearly an efficient, sensible way to stop someone. Well, it works in the end, I guess. Moc loses his huge bundle of letters in the ravine, including the one by the weak girl. Let’s solve this problem with a BOARD MEETING! A bunch of the Bees are briefed about the sudden increase in letter thefts lately. Reverse’s master plan is to single-handedly destroy the letter system, which is a symbol of the government. By disrupting the government, they prove how powerless they really are. Anarchy 101.
The little Bees head out, leaving Aria and Largo to prepare for their visitors. The newest guests are an odd pair of inspectors from Central, here to collect reports on Reverse. First they go as far as to complain about not having chocolates prepared, then they complain about not having long enough reports ready. Aria and Largo just grin and bear it, since those two used to be a dingo and Bee team worthy enough to vouch for the Head Bee title.
As they’re leaving, Zaji’s dingo gets all worked up and attacks Garrard’s dingo (it feels odd calling that brick house of a man a “dingo”). He responds with some sort of terribly dramatic wrestling move that’s sure to kill any normal creature here on Earth. Luckily, Vashuka is some sort of reinforced Diamond-coated cyborg and starts purring at the fun roughhousing.
Lag comes along, and seeing Zaji distressed, sics Niche on the guy. It ends as a stalemate, and Niche being called a word she can’t pronounce properly again. As things calm down, Garrard introduces himself to Lag, having heard many things about him. Before they can really talk, Moc bursts in to tell them about his ambush. He wants to file all the lost letters as lost “cold letters.” Lag insists on going to find them, but Garrard doesn’t want anyone interfering with their investigation of Reverse.
Lag will be Lag…Stubbornly hiding away in their wagon is just part of his everyday life. He’s a real pro at sneaking around when he wants to. Key phrase being “when he wants to.” Garrard kicks some little boy for no real reason when they make a stop at the town near the ravine where the letters are. Lag decides that this is enough for him to completely blow his cover by running out to help the boy. The boy has some valuable advice afterall! “Don’t go to the ravine.” Does anyone follow this advice? Do they EVER follow advice in anime?
For whatever reason, they just let Lag follow them to collect the lost letters. At least they put him to good use, telling him that if he can collect all the letters without the help of his dingo he will be told about Gauche. Lag sets out doing their tedious work for them as Niche is on her best behaviour. Niche’s best behaviour equates to lots of slicing, fighting and chasing, mind you. Some dingos just don’t get along.
Lag may be stupid, but he is also very smart (lulz, that’s some quality writing right there). He asks if Garrard he’s prepared if a Gaichu attacks. The old guy only has a regular gun, since his heart is too jaded to shoot a shindan. He began to realize that Bees sacrifice their hearts for so many letters filled with hatred, regret and sadness. Not all letters are happy ones – much like that letter full of lies from the girl in the hospital. He goes as far as to say this is probably why Gauche switched sides. Ever the optimist, Lag tries to shrug it off and continue collecting.
No screencaps of Garrard because he’s ugly.
Garrard uses the letters for his experiment, in which he catalyzes the letters using spirit amber. The amber looks much more like gumballs, but the overall effect is a cool, glowy light. The amber slowly releases heart, and attracts a Gaichuu. The experiment is a success! (No, wait, you have to do more than one trial run before you confirm your hypothesiiissss~!)
If I were Lag, I’d be pissed by now. First you make me collect letters, then you summon a praying mantis with all of my hard work? THEN YOU WATCH ME GET OWNED BY IT? I will break your neck while you’re sleeping, old man. As they watch him, just WAITING for him to fail, memories of Reverse start to play thanks to Lag’s shindan when he tried to defend himself.
The results are certainly interesting. The line between who is bad and who is good starts to blur. We see Lawrence giving a speech to the Reverse members about how the government experimented with man-made spirit amber, killing off all failed experiments in the process. Reverse consists of the many survivors of this, as they rebel against the loathed government who is doing this is secret. Garrard let Lag see this on purpose, and is smirking in the background as he waits for Lag to lose faith.
As Lag dodges the attacks of the Gaichuu, he comes across the sick girl’s letter. His determination to deliver her letter kicks in, and he makes a nice combo strike with Niche to decapitate the mantis. Nice one! Afterwards, he gives a speech on wanting to deliver all the letters and the TRUE heart that will understood regardless of the lies or sadness of the words on the surface. Garrard just smirks and lets him do whatever. Adults are so irresponsible these days.
But what’s this? They’re talking to Lawrence, the one who couldn’t become spirit? They’re his…spies?!?! *GASP* AND LOOK, THERE’S GAUCHE AND RODA TOO!
Anime duo poses: you’re doing it wrong
I like how half of Niche’s footing is firmly on his crotch
Don’t worry Zaji, I’LL be your dingo
End Thoughts: I’m really being reminded that I like Tegami Bachi better as a manga the more I watch this. I have a tendency to prefer whatever I start with – the manga or the anime – and then feel weird as I watch the other. It’s only rare cases like Air Gear where both are equally loved. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the manga in an animated form it’s just…I’ve read it before, so it’s hard for me to say how I felt when I first read it. I don’t think I even remember how I felt aside from liking it or disliking it – which is making this a real challenge to blog about. I’m looking at it as a retelling, so of course I want it to skip the sidestories and animate my favourite parts. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be so impatient, since I really enjoy the little side stories and never even thought of them as filler when I read them.
Ramblings aside, I’m glad we finally learned about Reverse. How they did it was kind of bad, considering we hear about it in episode and then ignore it until now though. It could’ve used more build-up. I hope Lag doesn’t forget about what he learned right away and at least starts to think about what the government might be up to (if those memories are true). Reverse may not exactly be as badass as other villains in anime, but they have Gauche, dammit! If they have Gauche, then they win!
I feel bad that Lag seems to be progressing a lot while Niche is stuck being called second-rate by every dingo she meets. Come on guys, Niche is AWESOME. She shouldn’t be called anything but stellar. She gets the job done fighting Gaichuu! It’s kind of sad how they pick on her when I see her next to Connor’s dingo. I mean, look at it, it’s a lump of lard. Saggy lard, if lard can sag. Ugh, what a disgrace.
Preview: While I thought they were going to get on with the Maka arc, we end up with more “filler”. (it’s not really filler, but it…doesn’t advance the plot) The next episode will be about Sylvette selling her dolls to make money. Ready for another quaint little episode~?