In a testament to my lack of involvement in the animu community, I’m probably not even the first to think this. However…
When it comes to tragic, role model, deaths early on in an animu, erryboddy loves to think about a couple of characters from Martian Successor Nadesico and Gurren Lagann. Those two are larger than life characters (or at least acted the part well enough) who got things rolling so our main protagonists can start the series proper. On my rewatch of this episode (my third I believe), I realize Hilda does not get as much love as she should. Granted she only meets our heroes in the first episode, but her kick in their ass to get things moving has the same ripple effect the other two had on their show. So raise a toast to the now ex-Hilda before we talk about the episode proper.
Also, lament how we were already spoiled by such a fact is the opening alone, where she is not even present. We know Aisha will join up, and that samurai lady (who we will talk about soon), but the production crew ought to have done some clever deception like the two aforementioned series did.
Regardless, this episode is a pleasant surprise. We not only get the desperate battle showcased in last week’s preview, but also something more in terms of character introductions and revelations. The big introduction is the mystery ship’s computer AI: Gilliam-2. While merely an AI, Gilliam provides another amusing foil to Gene, who clashes with his rather programmed matter-of-fact personality and inclination to not divulge the necessary information until it’s well… necessary. We finally get to see the importance of Melfina (now THAT revelation is never revealed until this episode), when Gilliam asks her to get inside a large cylindrical shaft, get naked, then interface with the ship (for navigational purposes of course). Then, last but not least, I come across an even more surprising revelation I forgot.
It turns out it was not just the pirates and our heroes who would be fighting one another. In fact, we get ANOTHER appearance by the mysterious McDougal brothers, who wants the prototype ship destroyed. The show’s doing a good job showing how pretty ruthless they are, and more importantly how ballsy. It takes a lot of gumption for a couple of outlaw brothers to betray pirates like that. I can only remember bits and pieces of their actions in the series, so I’m excited to find things I didn’t remember, including how early Gene finds they’ve a past connection with him.
Of course I cannot end this analysis without talking about Hilda. While disappointing to see her go, the show sends her out well. We do not get any more revelations with her, but she provides a spirited last defense against the pirates while Gene and the others get their new ship online. Even in the face of death, she does not falter from it, and does everything she can to get them out of here. The final parts where they try to save her but to no avail is well done dramatics, and the way she accepts her fate is pure Hilda. Then in one last act, she saves them from the Tao Priestess Pirate, and bid them a fond farewell showcasing not just the sordid, dark, fate that can befall any outlaw, but how fond she grew of them. From my previous watchings, this is the last I ever see or hear of Hilda, and again, I’m excited to see how she pops up again in Gene’s life.
We’re down to three people, the pirates are dead, the McDougals are still out here, and the ship by episode’s end has been named after the animu. With all that out of way, I guess we may be hitting the same part where Nadesico and Gurren Lagann REALLY start rolling along.
So get ready or whatever.
Future Notes Next Generation:
- I don’t have much familiarity with Gilliam’s Japanese seiyuu, but I always loved the actor they cast for the dub. He’s so mellow and when Robert Wicks’s Gene gets flustered at him, the clashing tones amuse.
- We also get our first few lines from Harry McDougal, and he’s crazy. Also he’s voiced by Steve Staley (Steve Cannon in the cast list), and he does a good job with what little he has. Like a crazy Banagher or something. What IS a Banagher anyway?
- Like any nascent Gundam pilot (or Sunrise hero), Gene shows a pretty immediate aptitude for ship flying and ship hand-to-hand combat. Looking forward to seeing more of it as his past is revealed.
- Toonami in their good sense allowed Hilda to die in this episode. However, they made it look like she was okay with just falling into a star. In truth, Hilda knew better and triggered a bomb in her teeth and made a space suicide pact with the Priestess Pirate. Burning to death isn't really a good death anyway.