Like a Cat, Tied to a Stick: / vs. Project ICE


She's the Woman Without a Name, and I Hope It Stays that Way

Of particular interest in the debacle that is ICE are the names that the series gives to its characters, locations, and concepts. Usually, the worst of bad anime names involve poorly realized references to history, laughable attempts at inventing foreign names, or just sigh-inducing puns. It's rare, however, that a single show manages to score the whole trifecta, especially in as disjointed a fashion as ICE does. In just ten minutes of screen time, we are introduced to no less than three examples of appellations that aren't just stunningly bad, but each potentially offensive to distinct segments of the population in their own unique way.

We'll save the immediate aftermath of the bomb explosion for later, and cut first to the rest of the Captain's unit, currently hovering in the sky above Tokyo. (It helps that the order of these scenes is essentially interchangeable.) Everyone is silent after the loss of two recruits in their last mission, with a low dirge playing in the background. It's almost enough to make you care for the pair of identical-looking anonymous girls.

Vice-Captain Murasaki is the first to break the silence, with a lament on the persistence of terrorism in these end times. She then asks Rinne whether she's "figured anything out," to which she receives the only response that really fits such a vague question: "I'm confused." Mint, for her part, spends some time chewing out the surviving anony-cruit for using a gun in the battle, then asks Murasaki if she believes that the Captain is still alive. This question actually helps churn the suspense surrounding their leader's fate a little bit—or at least it would have, if the six minutes we just skipped hadn't already answered that question with little room for dispute. You can thank me for improving the flow of this narrative later. Anyway, as you might expect, Murasaki believes the Captain's made it.

Having gotten just about no plot-relevant information from the rest of the crew, Murasaki turns to Usuha for her report. Usuha adjusts her glasses, presumably to make her look more competent than she actually is, and delivers the first bad name of this segment: The Sperm of Christ.

Now, as ridiculous as the idea of preserving the Messiah's baby juice for over two millennia sounds, it would at least be more than enough to push ICE from "boring" to "hilariously awful". I can imagine the plot now: the invading Americans are violent Christian fundamentalists dead set on using the seed of their Lord to bring forth a new Golden Age, and the Captain, whose real name is Maria, must play Indiana Jones and impregnate herself to keep everyone else from being subjugated by a new world order of God-babies.

What ICE actually does with the name is far less interesting, though—it turns out that the Sperm of Christ was a failed project conducting research into artificial insemination. Usuha mentions that the name is coming up again, however, along with the word "ICE", in newer official files that are being kept secret from the public.

Mint doesn't believe the story that Japan's government is involved in this, and suspects American military remnants or insurgent cells have constructed a dummy baby. Aoi, on the other hand, takes the optimistic tack, saying that if the new project really has been a success, humanity has a shot at rebirth. Considering she sounds like she's twelve years old, though, it's a bit early for her to be quite this enthusiastic.

The second spurt of naming thoughtlessness is fairly easy to miss, mixed in as it is with references to divine ejaculate, but it's no less stupid. Here, let me just give you the script:

Murasaki: What project is it?
Usuha: Project name: EP-02. It's under authority of the Twin Tower. Among the security-protected files, four of them have the name "ICE".
Rinne: That's a strange story.
Usuha: All these files are grouped under the "Twin Tower Construction Project". What's strange is that the plans appear to have been drawn up this year... Vice-Captain Murasaki, is it possible for the Twin Tower to be repaired?
Murasaki: Well...I haven't heard anything from Her Excellency Giulia.

A pair of Twin Towers needing rebuilding in a city run by someone named Giulia? Yes, having driven away a sizable proportion of their Christian viewers, the writers have now elected to make a mangled reference to post-9/11 New York, with the towers at the center of a possible conspiracy. As for the design of the half-built skyscrapers, it's about as flattering as a ketchup stain on a white dress.

Really casts all these references to terrorism in a whole new light, doesn't it?

Okay, now let's jump back to the scenes I skipped earlier. Satsuki, left behind on the overpass as the bomb goes off, tries to call Blue Girl to no avail, but manages to get her hands on a missile launcher that's been dropped in the debris without explanation. She makes a scheming smile at this development, in what is quite possibly the least subtle way to reveal that she might be a little unhinged.

The Captain's still alive (did anyone really suspect otherwise?), though she's hit a rough landing on her way down. It looks like she's hit her head particularly hard, because she starts to have hallucinations of herself and—whoa, is that who I think it is?

It turns out that Hitomi Aida has managed to jump forward in time by a quarter century and land in the mind of Captain Hitomi Landsknecht. Oh, right, this is about where I finally figured out that the Captain and Hitomi Landsknecht are the same person, something the OVA seems bent on misleading us about for no good reason. Eighties Hitomi is curled up in the corner, refusing to believe that the world could possibly have ended up this way. Her future counterpart basically says, "Oh, you're one to talk. You're from the past, so you're part of the reason I'm in this mess to begin with," but with about three times as many words and half the impact. She also mentions something else about having been passed through by many other men and women, which I will assume is her way of saying that she's a mind prostitute.

Back in the grassy meadow, the Captain wakes from her dream, to find the Blue Girl wiping sweat off her face instead of, you know, checking to see if she's still alive and conscious. It's a good thing the Captain doesn't care about priorities either, because she decides to grab Blue Girl's arm and tell her off for touching her face. At the very least, the Blue Girl is grateful that the Captain's saved her life, but wonders why she did so. After all, the Blue Girl's a member of the House of Kisaragi and ready to accept death as her fate, which apparently means that they have no survival instinct. We never really get an answer to her question, because the Captain only knows how to ask about other irrelevant things in response.

The Blue Girl pulls herself and the Captain back up to the overpass with her bike pulley, which still happens to be within convenient walking distance somehow. Then she takes the Captain's hand and immediately pulls it into a grope of her own chest. Recall, again, that the Blue Girl both looks and sounds about thirteen years old. The Captain reacts to this development with all the dignity of a similarly aged teen boy, shouting "What are you doing?!" The Blue Girl explains that, since the Captain saved her life, she now considers her a friend, and friends are supposed to open their bodies to each other and share a bed. Fortunately, the Captain still has enough sense about her to not go along with the ideas of someone who looks about a fourth her age, though it takes her another seven or eight sentences to say this.

The two of them finally decide to introduce themselves. Hitomi Landsknecht on the one hand, and on the other...

Yuki Ice-T.

It wasn't enough to rob names from Christianity and New Yorkers' tragedy, no. The creators of ICE had to go and mess with none other than Tracy Marrow: the Original Gangster, the man behind "Cop Killer", the one who... subsequently turned around and got an acting gig as a police detective on Law & Order: SVU (okay, so that one doesn't really fit). That Ice-T. And, of course, in case you didn't suspect that she had something to do with the ICE incidents, her name smacks you over the head with references to frozen water in both English and Japanese.

At long last, have you no decency?

We close with a short scene of Satsuki on her lightcycle, doing a hundred while jabbering away on her cell phone to some invisible superior: the payload was delivered to the Diet building, but something went wrong and now Yuki's gone. Two things: (1) distracted biking is bad, and (2) again, this scene would have been a little more effective if we hadn't just seen Yuki very much alive and flaunting her blueness just ten seconds ago.

That's all for this installment. If you'd like to come up with your own silly names for the things you've heard about on today's program, leave them in the comments. They can't be worse than the real ones, can they?


Twin Towers Project = Ugly Eyeball Building of Phallic Symbolism
Iverum 24th Feb 11
Also, are they really building the skyscraper from the top down?
Ponicalica 25th Feb 11
This was made in 2007?!

It would have sucked all the way back in the '80s!

Charlatan 2nd Mar 11
Of all things to name a character in a series that's supposed to be serious, you name them Ice-T? You couldn't have come up with a better ice-based name that was less facepalm-inducing?

I need to keep an eye on this LB just to see how bad it gets.
RocketDude 14th Mar 11