Episode 8: Jungle Groove
Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal
August 18, 2010
Sousuke arrives on Merida island at the same time as Belfangan Clouseau. He heads to Tessa’s office to be debriefed and asks why his reports about Wraith’s performance were ignored. Tessa reminds him that he has other duties to attend to, the most important being the Arbalest. Because the AI will only recognize him as its pilot, they can’t reconfigure it because the designer is dead. He has to master the Lambda Driver because he and the Arbalest are the only counter-measure they have against Amalgam’s Codarl units. Sousuke asks if that’s an order, and Tessa replies that she’ll make everything an order if that’s how he sees everything. She reminds Sousuke that as captain she has to think about the safety of her subordinates first and foremost considering the enemy’ capabilities and berates him for bottling up his feelings about Chidori before bursting into tears. She dismisses Sousuke after her secretary informs her over the intercom that Clouseau has arrived. He introduces himself to Tessa and tells her that he’s going to try an unusual approach when introducing himself to the rest of the SRT. Sousuke and Weber discuss the situation at the bar when Clouseau walks up and sits next to them. Weber politely asks him to sit somewhere else because the stool is reserved for the late Gail McAllen, to which Clouseau responds by insulting Gail. Weber tries to punch Clouseau but gets knocked out by a single blow from the latter. Clouseau talks more smack about the SRT and Sousuke asks him to take back what he said about Gail. Clouseau refuses and berates Sousuke’s inability to act without orders, then challenges him to an arm slave duel. At Amalgam’s hangar, Leonard arrives to deliver a new arm slave to Gates and offers to help stop the Xia twins. Gates tells him to just sit back and watch.
Back in Hong Kong, Yu Fan checks up on her master and gets a call from Yu Lan telling her that she found Chidori and that they can kill her anytime. Sousuke reaches the duel area in the Arbalest and discovers that Clouseau is piloting the Falke. Clouseau introduces himself as the SRT’s new leader and orders Sousuke not to hold back to prove that Gail wasn’t incompetent. Clouseau lungs at Sousuke with incredible speed and they fight for a bit. Clouseau tells Sousuke that he’s skilled but there’s no art to his fighting style, then suggests that they go at for real and activates his monomolecular cutter. He destroys Sousuke’s cutter and knocks Sousuke around while Mao is monitoring the fight in her M9 and relaying the video to Tessa and Mardukas. Mardukas doesn’t approve of Clouseau’s methods, but Tessa says that it’s the only way to bring out the Arbalest’s power. Clouseau flings Sousuke around some more and demands that he show him everything the Arbalest is capable of. Sousuke tries to activate the Lambda Driver but Clouseau knocks the Arbalest back and the former passes out. Sousuke wakes up in the infirmary and finds Weber, who tells him that they won’t be penalized for fighting because it was all an act. Clouseau comes over and tells Sousuke that he lost because he hates the Arbalest. Sousuke asks what technique Clouseau used to defeat him and the latter replies that he doesn’t even need a Lambda Driver to defeat Sousuke because he treats the Arbalest as a machine instead of an extension to his own body. Clouseau heads to his room and finds Mao. She tells him that his room used to belong to Gail and Clouseau asks if his death was painful. Clouseau tells Mao that Sousuke reminds him of his younger self and asks her not to tell anyone that Gail was actually one of his close friends. Mardukas approaches Tessa and informs her that they ordered to go on standby because an arm slave is rampaging through Hong Kong.
Aside from Sousuke’s short spat with Tessa, this episode focuses mostly on the introduction of the SRT’s new leader Clouseau, who turns out to be the Falke pilot from episode 5. He certainly makes an imposing first impression by bad mouthing good ole’ Gail then beating up both Sousuke and Weber. I’m not sure what everyone’s problem with the Arbalest is. Even without the Lambda Driver functioning it’s a perfectly working high performance arm slave at worst and not being able to utilize its deus ex machina powers is Sousuke’s fault and nothing else. Sousuke’s certainly falling into more despair after Clouseau’s beat down and now Mithril has to deal with Yu Fan’s destructive romp.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Buy the collection (eps 0-13, OVA) on Blu-ray from Amazon