|Episode 21: Decision
Continuing the tradition of great openings, this episode opens with a quiet scene in the main
office of Team Sledge Mama. The owner is reviewing data as Yamma quietly waits. After some
time, Yamma simply says “I’ll just win them all. Then you can stop your whining”. We already
knew that Yamma was only in the mood to win, but now we know how serious he is. It then
cuts back to the race, where Yamma, Dimma and River are on an all-offensive against Team
What we don’t know as the audience at this point is that this will turn out to be essentially the
longest race on the show. Not much was shown last episode, but this episode, the race spans
not only the first half, but a bit of the second half of the episode. So in my book, a lot of the
success of this episode depends on how the developers made this race.
Fortunately, the race ends up being one that carries itself through this episode. When Yamma
moves up away from his other two teammates, he learns the mistake he’s made. Satomi goes
right for him, in a three-on-one spur. This gives Liz time to yank off one of Yamma’s legs.
Team Sledge Mama calls for a pit.
It’s interesting to see another team pit when Satomi is doing well. A lot has changed since
their first race, and this kind of juxtaposition struck me as creative-I was happy the creators
basically pulled a move opposite of Satomi’s first race against Sledge Mama. It shows just how
far Team Satomi has come.
But they aren’t done yet. Yamma is ready to get back and win. Team Sledge Mama gets their
act together by restraining one of Liz’s arms and then ‘sawing’ it off with a fats spin of
Dimma’s arm. Then Yamma jumps above Takeshi and chops his arm off with his foot
slamming into the ground. The rest of the team attacks very aggressively, trying to make
Satomi as disabled as possible. As Team Sledge Mama goes into their Formation Blind Spot,
Team Satomi is hurt even more.
The race looks grim for the team. Even Miss Satomi is thinking of withdrawing. Andrei won’t
give in. He tries to explain a game plan, but then Takeshi gets an idea. He rides next to Liz
and they attack as a unit. Their broken arms allowed for room to fight together. Smart idea by
both Takeshi and the creators. Yamma is then able to grab hold of the two pilots with his
arms. As he tries to slam into them, they jump and Dimma gets hit instead.
Meanwhile, Amy is trying to outfight River. She is then able to execute a very swift move to
get past River. Amy then reminds everyone how much she loves the IGPX, and she can’t be
scared to try new and dangerous things. She really makes a great case for herself, and we see
a little more character development for a spirited character.
As we go back to Liz and Takeshi, another anime fight sequence is seen with Takeshi and his
sword and Liz and her fists. Yamma is holding up two sharp knives, and this all represents the
fighting style of these characters. The scene felt very appropriate and reminded us of where
these guys are coming from. Liz and Takeshi are fighting together, and it shows the work they
can accomplish together.
However, they need to get into Speed Mode in order to win the race. They can’t do that while
both Liz and Takeshi’s arms are gone. Amy comes in the middle, and they are finally reunited
as a team into one unit. As they close in on the finish line, Yamma provides a last bit of
opposition. But Liz is ready to get him off their backs. They race toward the finish line in
The team is super happy and the energy is optimistic. That energy is what keeps this show so
great to come back to every week. We can look forward to awesome races like this one, and
also the great character development mingled in between. Right after the race, Takeshi
realizes that his attitude really is everything. This is the kind of adjustment I was waiting for
in this series. It really shows here. Liz helps Takeshi up and he thanks her for everything. She
then gets a little flustered. It’s becoming a little more obvious of her feelings now.
Meanwhile, it seems over for Team Sledge Mama. But then a ‘technicality’ made their loss
against Team Edge Raid (figures…) a win. They are now in the semi-finals. Yamma reminds
River that he’s the captain; a familiar name for him. It’s kind of interesting how the creators
are giving this team so many chances, yet it just works. I think River brings some more
sympathy to the rough side of Yamma, and their attitudes still clash to make them partners.
It’s kind of cool.
As Team Satomi walks away from the track, Team White Snow is there to bring them down.
The thing is, this time, they’re not falling for their tactics. It’s hard to describe the scene, but
it’s short and sweet. It shows how Team Satomi is really going to give it their all against Team
White Snow, if they can. Takeshi, Liz and Jesse are walking, simply to have a night out. And
the final confrontation is with Cunningham approaching the guys and him just mouthing off.
Jesse and Liz see him as strange. Takeshi says otherwise-he knows Cunningham. And it turns
out that they will be racing against each other soon. It’s interesting to see all of these
connections come together in one episode. But what’s most peculiar is how it all works
together. It’s just what makes the series great. It’s able to combine the core storyline with
genuine character development. This episode captures the essence of the show, and brings it to
|The coach for Team Sledge
Mama is considering what
Yamma has to say.
|Yamma will do just about
anything to win this race,
and he's definitely in the
mood to win.
|Team Sledge Mama gets
tough for the Team
|USA original air date: July 22nd, 2006
|Japan original air date: March 15th, 2006
|Original Japanese Title:
Team Satomi and Team Sledge Mama continue their race for
the second season. Amy Stapleton still has to find her place,
and when things get tough, will she be able to pull through? No
matter what happens, Team Satomi really needs this win as
much as Team Sledge Mama does. Will they be able to cope
with another loss when it comes to heading to the
championship? This episode features a first look at Team
Sledge Mama's coach.
|OVERALL SCORE: 8 out of 10
|Toonami Version Differences
-About 15-25 seconds from the episode were cut out. All
the cuts were made before the commercial break. No
major cuts were made, but some of the smaller ones
include some cut footage from the opening shot, and a
few seconds here and there during long pauses to
shorten the pauses.