“The Midsummer’s Knights” 「ミッドサマーズナイツ誕生」
A quarter-way into Captain Earth, a new Midsummer’s Knights team is formed around a new Captain Earth and everyone gets new uniforms. Globe secures a new Livlaster and Pitz’s powers of premonition. We learn new information about the Kiltgang as the planetary gears are once again defeated. So much happened in this one episode to change the mood and direction of the next quarter of CE but remember, at its heart it’s all about the relationship between the 4 teenage protagonists Manatsu Daichi, Arashi Teppei, Mutou Hana and Yoshimatsu Akari.
I can see how most viewers are confused about Captain Earth. It did start off as one of the strongest season openers in a cannot-go-wrong mecha genre. 7 episodes in, we’re bordering on information overload about Ark, Salty Dog, Globe, Kiltgang, CEO Kube/Macbeth Industries etc. that it’s difficult to keep the crowds drawn in. Not much action happened in the last 2 episodes and if you watch this week’s carefully, all we got was basically a mecha fist fight in spite of the return of that earth engine gattai sequence (and Mutou Hana’s beautiful insert song) and Teppei’s short-lived Kiltgang form.
Kiltgang is an alien life form orbiting in the outskirts of the solar system around Uranus. They’ve run out of energy hence they’ve set their eyes on humans. Think of them as a kind of space vampire race that runs on humans’ souls (i.e. libido aka Orgone energy) – they’re immortal as long as they have their ego block, a device that serves to sort of digitise human souls. There were 6 designers’ children (so far Teppei, Amara and Moco) genetically made in Macbeth Enterprises. Teppei was rescued during the Kanda incident, Amara and Moco were overseas and next week’s episode I suspect will introduce us to the other 3 planetary gears/designer children. We’re not told why Macbeth Industries/Kube planted an ego block in them but it’s safe to say this storyline will come back crucially in the second half of CE; if Salty Dog finds out Macbeth is in cahoots with the Kiltgang, they’re very willing to sacrifice Tokyonites for the greater good. After all, Macbeth is the manufacturer of the designer children and the Machine Goodfellows, pods that can be remotely piloted (this does make Daichi the only one truly fighting in space).
The antagonist duo pick a fight with Globe again because they want to retrieve Teppei/Albion, whom they believe to be one of them – immortal and elite. But Daichi won’t have it, for Teppei or for Earth. Someone has to go out there, even if he’s a scared high school student technically on summer vacation, because if they’re not destroyed, humanity has no hope and hope is only born of choices. Daichi is the new Captain Earth. No surprises there but it does remind me of what his uncle said in ep 01 – Daichi is not his father and he does not need to follow in his footsteps. Yet that’s exactly what Daichi’s done in spite of almost dying twice. His father was the previous Captain and thought that hope means believing that the future will be better than today and real hope can only come from the choices you make. Enokido, I seriously love your script-writing.
The watermelon eating scene is one of my favourite scenes in CE so far. Teppei’s uncertainty, Daichi’s can-do attitude, Hana’s innocence, Akari’s brave front and the conversation these teenagers had there crystallises what CE is all about. Teppei being reluctant to assist Daichi is understandable (HiroC voice acting magic there) but Akari was right to bitch-slap Teppei into believing he will come back for melon because Daichi said all 4 of them will eat it together tomorrow. They’re no longer lone individuals. In protecting his first true friend, Teppei’s foregone immortality as a planetary gear. No more Albion, just Arashi Teppei from now on.
Was there a build-up to a massive fight between Globe vs Kiltgang? No, and get used to it. Was there a build-up to a stronger relationship between the 4 teenagers? Yes. Because like I’ve mentioned before, you’ve gotta appreciate CE as a coming-of-age drama first and foremost before you go into its mecha action and political drama. If you did, this was yet another great episode moving in the right direction in my books; it’s all about expectations. That said, it seems that the next quarter will move into more familiar action territory now that the foundation’s solidly built so that’s worth looking forward to!
P.S.: We’re rotating the review of CE among myself, Komorebi and Kiseki. It’s the first time we’re doing a rotation-style of reviewing and hopefully it gives us all a different perspective to watching CE :)