Like a Cat, Tied to a Stick: / vs. Project ICE
We'll Ride This Wave of Babies All the Way to Egypt
We open with a downward sweep of what I can only presume are decaying buildings under a canopy of trees◊
, though you could be forgiven for thinking that the buildings are cardboard props and the trees are moldy rocks. The camera comes to rest on an overpass, on which is parked Satsuki, a lookout riding what appears to be a ripoff of the lightcycles◊
. Noticing Murasaki's unit, she calls to warn her "sister" inside, who brushes off the concerns and hangs up. Visual appearance aside, both parties in the exchange sound like they're fourteen years old.
Meanwhile, underneath the overpass, the girl in blue makes a reappearance... shopping in an abandoned store◊
named "G-Mart", as in, "Yo, yo, homie, wassup? Welcome to G
-Mart, your one stop shop for all things piiimmmp
." Or at least it would be, if the world of ICE
didn't seem to ban all things interesting and not overwhelmingly gray. Blue Girl busies herself with buying canned crab as she ignores the ringing of her phone and the completely misplaced swell of dramatic string music underneath the whole scene.
Back on the upper deck, Satsuki is busying herself with picking the petals off a flower, muttering to herself "she'll come back... she won't come back... she will... she won't." Visibly disappointed with this poor omen◊
, she turns her head upward towards an overhead camera◊
and screams, "Why am I doing flower fortunetelling at a time like this?!"
I don't know how you'd expect us
to know the answer to that.
She then throws the flower stem to the ground and says her first sensical words of the show: "This is ridiculous! I'm going home!" ... right as a pulley on the back of her motorcycle starts to turn, and Blue Girl shows up on top of a cardboard box. Satsuki's visibly annoyed, but easily mollified with some crab.
Meanwhile, up in the air:
(Murasaki notices something outside the ship.)
Pilot: Is something wrong?
Murasaki: No, nothing.
Funny, I'd summarize this past scene in exactly the same way.
Murasaki gets an update on the other teams handling the bioterrorism incident, the Hitomi Landsknecht and Aika Schwartzshult squads. In case you're not up on your German, some Googling tells me the Landsknechts were mercenaries from the 16th and 17th centuries. As for Schwartzshult, Google suggests that I may have meant Schwarzschild instead, which seems an appropriate recommendation. After all, this show is so far sucking about as hard as a black hole.
Oh, and Hitomi... hm, where have I heard that name before?
Back in the Cave of Endless Stairs, a multi-legged sentry robot of ridiculous design◊
searches for something, at least until it's incapacitated by what appears to be... an even more ridiculously designed mecha◊
of some sort, with Aoi in the cockpit. As much of Murasaki's unit hunts for an ICE formation, Midori casually mentions a couple of world wars, in case you weren't aware of how terrible life in this world is already.
Unsurprisingly, when the Captain locates the block of ICE, the maid character from earlier shows up encased inside it◊
. Usuha mentions that she'd be afraid to get too close to the formation, while another squad member mumbles something about it being beautiful. To me, it just looks like the creepy fantasy of a too-frequent maid cafe patron, but to each his own. Her own. Right.
Murasaki and her pilot are holding above the National Diet Building, where Hitomi's squad seems to have handled their ICE all right, but Aika's is sending "abnormal images". The image appears to shock Murasaki◊
, but you wouldn't know from the delivery of her voice actress, who seems to be suffering from nasal congestion.
We cut to a feed from Aika Squad inside a museum, where a frightened mecha operator begs something to keep away from her. Sirens are going off inside the cabin, and half of her display screens have "WARNING" plastered across them in large letters◊
. We cut away to find that this threat to her survival is...
As you might expect, however, this situation manages to go from zero to stupid in fifteen point four seconds. With the urging of a commander, the shocked mecha pilot opens fire on the baby◊
, and then the capsule of ICE. With the proven aim of a student of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, she manages to get one bullet to hit the crystal (out of about thirty automatic shots), which proceeds to blast out blue arms◊
and completely wipe out Aika Squad. We even get to see the unnamed mecha pilot turn to bloody paste◊
before our very eyes.
All this happened because you didn't think of the children, you know.
Underground, the Captain orders her people to stay close to the ICE, when she is interrupted by the arrival of a handful more arachnobots. Remember the three identical-looking recruits◊
from last time? Okay, you can stop trying to tell them apart now, because two of them are dead. The Captain rushes at a few of the bots and makes short work of them with her Revolver-in-Name-Only Sword, but the last surviving recruit manages to screw everything up when one of her bullets ricochets off of the robot's casing and cracks the ICE. Yes, somehow, this elite military unit can't keep their soldiers from carrying unauthorized weapons, or firing without orders. For her transgressions, the last recruit loses an eye. Cheer up. At least you didn't get your head blown up with a laser.◊
Usuha informs the squad that things are getting dangerous, using more technical language than is necessary. The more technobabble impaired members of the squad quickly catch her drift when a giant reptilian monster with laser cannons for shoulders◊
rises from the ICE. For those of you keeping track, we've gone from creepy child horror to Yu-Gi-Oh!
in about two minutes. Even shoulder-mounted missiles do little to hurt it, and so the Captain orders her unit to retreat.
Her women voice some resistance to the idea of leaving her behind, with all of the sincere concern that a cubicle dweller might express upon hearing that his speakerphone-loving neighbor has been laid off in a company reorganization, but are eventually forced to beat a path out of the building as the monster prepares to turn its laser cannons upon them. Just as things start to look dicey, the Captain scores a critical hit with a sword throw◊
, against a monster that managed to stand up to multiple rocket hits. How this would work, I do not know.
The Captain, having wounded the monster, finally turns to those vaporization shells that she's brought along. Of course, she has time to recite a prayer◊
for forgiveness for using the tools of violence left to her by men, yada yada yada... basically, she likes talking cryptically. After spending about ten seconds locking and loading her gun, she summons a pink backdrop that looks vaguely like runny flower petals◊
and fires off a shot. She manages to blow off the monster's head and shoulder cannons, but the rest of its body reforms into some sort of flying Cyclopean beetle◊
, which the Captain hops onto with the help of the building's endless stairs.
The monster gains enough momentum to blow the National Diet Building to smithereens◊
upon surfacing, without any apparent harm to either it or the Captain, and slides for a ridiculously long time down a very familiar elevated highway. While cruising down the fast lane, and the second lane, and the third lane too, the Captain loads the final, red shell into her gun, which, for some reason, has a timer on it◊
that counts in no unit of time known to
woman, and makes the obligatory "high-tech ticking" sound these things tend to make. Appearing totally unconcerned with her safety, the Captain takes some time to surf the monster's body down the expressway.◊
As you might expect, Satsuki and Blue Girl are loading boxes onto their lightcycles◊
just down the road. Even though Satsuki is right in the middle of the highway as the monster passes by, it's the Blue Girl, standing on the railing, who gets snatched away.◊
Maybe it's because she's the same color as the monster; it's just looking for companionship, you see... The Captain is on top of things, though, unlike just a few moments ago, and manages to cut Blue Girl loose, strike a bold pose◊
, and leap from the monster time bomb down to the streets below in less than 100 random units of plot time. Perhaps the non-linear◊ nature◊
of the shell◊ countdown◊
helped. (Yes, those frames are all in order.)
It does eventually go off◊
, at least. Eventually.
By the way, remember the green-haired girl◊
from last time that I temporarily dubbed "Midori"? My guess wasn't all that far off. Her name is actually Mint.
Until next time, leave comments. They dull the pain.