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Episode 2: Leave the Blue Earth to Me

 

Review by Scott Richardson

April 1, 2007

 

Summary

 

The United Earth Forces are none too happy about Nergal's new battleship, which has proven to be far superior to their own ships. They decide to send Yurika's father to convince Yurika to work for the military or, if necessary, to take the ship by force. Back on the Nadesico, Hoary lectures Akito for taking the Aestivalis out without orders. However, since the Nadesico is not a military ship, he lets him off. Hoary also informs Akito that he'll have to standby as a backup pilot until the Nadesico is fully staffed, much to Gai's annoyance. Akito once again reiterates that he only wants to be a cook. Admiral Misumaru's submerged fleet creeps ever closer to the Nadesico, and Yurika's father wonders what his daughter is up to. As it turns out, she's barging into Akito's room while he's trying to change. She forgives him, however, and tells him how happy she is to see him again, especially after she heard his entire family got wiped out in a freak accident on Mars. Akito's already sour demeanor turns worse and he walks off, ignoring her. Yurika follows him halfway across the ship yelling his name until he finally gives in and tells her why he's so upset. Akito's parents were murdered the day that Yurika's family left Mars, and Akito believes that Yurika's family may have had something to do with it. Before Yurika can respond with her complete underestimation of Akito's deadly serious feelings, Akito slips off and introduces himself to his co-workers in the ship's mess. Yurika is called back to the bridge where Mr. Prospector announces the Nadesico's secret destination: Mars. Jun doesn't like the idea of ignoring the Jovian threat to Earth, but Mr. Prospector reminds him that there were millions of settlers on Mars and the Moon that the United Forces abandoned in favor of protecting the Earth. Before the argument can get much further, Admiral Munetake and a contingent of armed troops takes control of the ship just as Admiral Misumaru's flagship surfaces. Mr. Prospector suggests that it is time to negotiate, but Admiral Misumaru will only talk if they bring the Nadesico's captain and her control key to him. Admiral Fukube reminds Yurika that she is not in the military and therefore does not have to follow Admiral Misumaru's orders, while Jun tells her that using the Nadesico to help protect the Earth makes more sense than sending it to Mars. Yurika absent-mindedly pulls the control key, leaving the Nadesico powerless. The crew is summarily rounded up and locked in the mess hall. Gai attempts to make a hot blooded speech to keep everyone's hopes up, but nobody really listens. Finally he tells everyone that he has just the thing for this situation, and produces a set of video disks and an old disk player from his coat pocket, which Uribatake hooks up to the monitor for him. Gai excitedly starts the machine up as everyone looks at the screen in surprise...

 

On the screen, an old super robot anime called Gekiganger 3 begins playing. Hoary asks what, exactly, they're watching. And Gai excitedly explains that Gekiganger 3 is a forgotten classic. Akito notes that he doesn't remember this opening sequence, and Gai happily explains that this opening sequence was replaced by a better one after episode three. Upon realizing who he's talking to, Gai becomes serious again, and tells Akito that he has no right to be talking about Gekiganger. Akito counters that he watched this show as a kid on Mars, and Gai ask him why then, does he not want to be a robot pilot rather than a stupid cook. The argument nearly comes to blows, until the episode starts causing them both to forget about their argument in favor of cheering on the Gekiganger 3. On Admiral Misumaru's flagship, the Tobiume, Yurika cuts through the small talk and asks her father if he remembers Akito and if he knows anything about his parents murder. Admiral Misumaru beats around the bush a bit until Mr. Prospector enters the room and informs him that Nergal has decided not to allow the Nadesico to be shanghaied by the military. Back on the Nadesico, Gai and Akito remain transfixed by the campy antics of Gekiganger. None of the rest of the crew seem very interested, annoying Gai, who attempts to explain to everyone that Gekiganger is all about guts and courage. Whipped into a frenzy, Gai compares their situation to the show and asks everybody why they aren't more excited. Ruri explains that the ship can't move until the captain returns with the control key, but Gai insists that guts can overcome the odds. Perhaps inspired by Gai and Gekiganger, Akito takes a pot and knocks an armed guard unconscious, announcing that he'll take the Aestivalis and bring the captain back. Akito explains that he wants to help the people on Mars, and he's willing to fight for what he believes in. Akito's heroic speech is cut short by the activation of a nearby enemy Chulip which was thought to be inert. Yurika slips off of the Tobiume in the confusion, but contacts her father one last time to ask what happened to Akito's parents. Admiral Misumaru admits that he may have heard something, but it's not like he was lying to her. Yurika takes off in a helicopter for the Nadesico, leaving Jun behind. Back on the Nadesico, the crew has successfully retaken the launch deck, and prepares for a manual launch of Akito's Aestivalis. As it turns out, a manual launch simply involves Akito running the Aestivalis out of the hanger himself. In the throws of hot blooded passion, Akito doesn't hear Uribatake warning him that that Aestivalis is still equipped for land combat. Akito runs off the deck and promptly plunges into the ocean. Yurika makes it safely back aboard the Nadesico and restarts the ship with the control key. Ruri reports that Jiro Yamada is requesting permission to take off. Gai immediately reminds everyone that his name is Gai Daigoji, not Jiro Yamada. Gai launches in an air combat Aestivalis with his leg cast taped to the control pedal and informs Akito that they're going to dock his cockpit with his air frame. The call sign will be Cross Crash, and yes, Akito will have to yell it as they do it. The operation goes off successfully and Akito successfully engages the enemy Chulip. Yurika plunges the Nadesico into the Chulip's wormhole-like mouth and fires the Gravity Blast Cannon, reducing the Chulip to slag. Admiral Misumaru declares his operation a failure and falls back.

 

Commentary

 

In this episode we're finally introduced to Nadesico's show-within-a-show, Gekiganger 3, which is a parody of old super robot shows (especially 1974's Getter Robo). Gai lives by the show, and even Akito seems to be a fan. Outside of the revelation that Akito's parents were murdered and that Yurika's father seems to know something about it, this episode was more comedy than drama--Nadesico's main strength is its ability to blend several different genres. In this episode alone we have some slapstick romantic comedy between Akito and Yurika, a bit of drama with Akito's murdered parents and Jun's defection, and some mech humor by combining super robot sensibilities with a real robot setting. So far we're off to a good start.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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Buy the collection (eps 1-26, OVA, movie) on DVD from Amazon

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