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Episode 8: Oasis

 

Review by Joel Jankiewicz

June 10, 2006

 

Summary

 

Yuji, Marlene and Dice are riding through the desert, but have a Man Eater tailing them. Marlene is on the chain gun while Yuji uses a rifle. They manage to gun it down, and when Yuji asks Dice why the ride isn’t as easy as they thought, Dice tells him it would’ve been easy, if someone hadn’t told them to go through a sandstorm (obviously referring to Marlene). A second Man Eater comes around, and Marlene’s chain gun runs out of rounds, leaving Yuji to try to take it down. But he only damages one of its wings, and it slams against the buggy, sending Yuji flying off into the storm. Dice and Marlene turn around and have another go at the Man Eater. The storm eventually passes, but there is no sign of Dice and Marlene, and Yuji lies unconscious on the ground. He opens his eyes for a moment and sees a girl on a horse riding toward him. He then wakes up in a tent, bandaged up, seeing the same girl from before, who's happy that he’s alive. She takes him out into the main camp and explains that they move their camp around, to places where grazing for their animals are good, and says they found him lying around where they were moving. Yuji thanks her, and the girl’s father calls to them and tells Yuji he can stay with them until his injuries heal. The girl goes to help her father with milking goats and asks for Yuji’s name. He tells her his name, then asks for her name, and says she’s Elena. Yuji looks around and wonders if Dice and Marlene are still out there. Deeper in the desert, the Man Eater from before is dead, while Dice is fixing the buggy engine and Marlene stands guard. Dice tells her not to worry, since he believes Yuji is all right. He says the whole thing must have her on edge, and Marlene says it does since she’s supposed to bring ‘the sample’ back with her to Baikonur, and has a responsibility to her duty. Dice cuts her off and asks her if her duty is the only thing she’s worried about, and nothing else. Marlene tells him that at least to her, there is nothing else more important. With that, Dice finishes his work on the engine. Back at the nomad camp, they pack their tents and the group finally leaves. Yuji’s riding with Elena on her horse and asks why their leaving so soon. Elena tells him it’s to find better grazing lands for their goats. The caravan passes by a huge crater, with destroyed Armor Shrikes and dead Blue inside, and Yuji asks Elena why her group doesn’t just find a place to stay that’s safe. Elena asks where this safe place would be, and Yuji can’t find an answer for her. Nighttime comes, and the caravan has stopped for the night. Yuji enjoys the company of the people, and Elena tells him that since they live peacefully, they never change their way of life. Yuji tries some horse riding with Elena, but he ends up getting tossed off his horse and has to ride again on Elena’s horse with her. He remembers a conversation with her, saying how he envies her peaceful life. Elena asks if he could stay and live with them, and Yuji contemplates it while he stares at a mountain with her. Marlene and Dice find a cave with empty cans, cigarettes and bullet holes all about. Marlene wonders if they were test firing, and Dice says the group that did this was rowdy, most likely. Marlene says normal soldiers wouldn’t do this as they would be disciplined, but Dice says they probably aren’t ordinary soldiers. The nomads start setting up camp, and Elena asks some friends about where Yuji is, and they tell her he probably headed for the lake. Another friend jokes about her taking care of him and not Yuji, and she jokes along with him. Her father tells her to be careful around him since he’s from a different world, but she goes to look for Yuji anyway. Yuji stands at the edge of the lake, realizing where Baikonur base is, even though he can’t see it. Elena catches up to him, telling him they think alike, since this is her favorite spot. She asks Yuji if he’s ever seen the ocean and tells him that as a child, she heard stories from her grandfather. Yuji tells her how big it is, and is amused at how Elena tries to make comparisons. The example Yuji gives is that the ocean is like the sky, in terms of how endless it seems when you look at it. Elena asks Yuji if he will show it to her one day, and Yuji blushes when they both stare at each other. Elena almost kisses Yuji, when a cannon round strikes the lake. Yuji can see dust off in the distance heading to the camp, and he wonders what it is. Three jeeps and a truck with a Sniper AS are heading towards the camp, and the leader of this band wonders what catch he’ll find.

 

The group of soldiers have stopped at the camp, their weapons and AS at the ready. The leader of the group tells the nomads that they’re the Kyzyl Kum Area Guard, 4th Independent Squad, on a campaign to destroy the Blue. He says they lost contact with their base, their supplies are low, and he asks for their cooperation to hand them food and supplies. Elena’s father refuses and tells them to leave them in peace. One of the soldiers strikes at him with the butt of his rifle and starts beating him. Yuji and Elena watch from a hill, and she’s horrified at what’s happening. The soldier tells Elena’s father that if it weren’t for them, the Blue would’ve attacked them. The leader tells the soldier to leave him alone, and sets another example of what they can do by burning down a tent while the other soldiers shoot at goats. They start raiding the camp, and Elena has seen enough and runs off to try to do something. She gets on a horse and tries to attack the raiders with a club, but the leader just shoots a round near the horse, and she falls off. The leader picks her up with the Sniper AS’s free hand, saying he’s found his prize and lets the rest of the group do what they want. Yuji finally makes it, and jumps onto the back of the Sniper AS. The leader can’t shake him off, and Yuji opens the back hatch to the cockpit. The leader pulls a pistol on him, but Yuji presses a button to have the Sniper AS move, and the leader is tossed out, firing off a round that almost hits Yuji. Yuji takes control the Sniper AS and puts Elena down. He tells her to leave the rest to him, and he starts driving away the soldiers, since their rifles can’t do much against the Sniper AS. Yuji destroys the truck and one of the jeeps. The soldiers' leader tells them to withdraw, and they leave with their remaining two jeeps. Yuji moves the AS up to the grouped nomads who watched, and he tells them they shouldn’t bother them again. But when he looks at them, they have a look of fear in their eyes, even the children. Elena looks at them with surprise as well, and when the evening comes, the nomads go back to setting up their camp. Yuji tries to offer some help to two people setting up a tent, but they stop working and walk away from him, leaving Yuji in shock. Elena is with her father, bandaging him up, and he tells her why he was right in that he’s an outsider, and is different from them. She doesn’t answer him, and when she walks away, she says she wouldn’t know such a thing. She leaves her father and finds Yuji staring at the Sniper AS. Elsewhere, Dice is surprised that nomads exist in the day and age they live in, as they’ve run into a former camp. Marlene looks at the ground and sees a pair of boot prints and realizes they're Yuji’s. Later at night, Yuji’s moved the Sniper AS away from the camp and starts to do some maintenance work on it. He pauses to look at a computer map he found on the AS and brings up Baikonur’s location. He’s then surprised to see Elena, and she tells him she wasn’t sure if he left. She asks him if he’s planning to leave, and Yuji said that he thought if he were to go to Baikonur, he could get answers. But now he says he isn’t so sure if there are any, and Elena tells him that there may not be, but that he’ll always be himself, no matter where he goes. She tells him he doesn’t have to force change and that if he wasn’t sure if he’d go now, he could stay and be with her. Yuji’s shocked by her request, and this time when Elena tries to kiss him, he kisses her. Elsewhere, Dice is on his watch, complaining about how he’s too old and that it’s cold. He goes to tell Marlene it’s now her shift, but he hears her humming, which happens to be the same song Yuji hummed from time to time. Dice decides he could watch a little more and listens to Marlene hum. The next morning, Yuji wakes up from blankets that were set up. He sees that Elena is under the covers still sleeping, and seems happy she’s around. He looks at the Sniper AS, then suddenly hears a rumbling sound off in the distance. He walks near the edge of a small hill, while Elena wakes up and asks Yuji what’s happening. Yuji sees that it’s Dice and Marlene in the buggy, and he’s happy to see them alive. Elena walks up behind Yuji, and he holds her hand while Dice and Marlene head toward him.

 

Commentary

 

This is an interesting episode to say the least, but we also see a couple of clichés here, so to speak. It seems that Elena is the only one who trusts Yuji and loves him for what he is. The rest of the nomads seem to fear him since he’s different compared to their peaceful life. Even after saving them from that raiding group of soldiers, they don’t want to associate with him, with the exception of Elena. With Marlene, despite the fact she’s opened up to Yuji, she still thinks of him as ‘the sample’. Yet for her cliché, she ends up humming Yuji’s song. And Yuji once again seems popular with the ladies. Elena’s fallen head over heels for him, and Yuji seems to be falling for her as well. But now Dice and Marlene are on their way to pick Yuji up, which will likely cause some confusion, among some other things.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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