Episode 22: Function, Not Fashion
Review

The mood is a bit different in this episode, as we open to a nighttime shot, and the camera is
spinning around. Quiet music is playing as we approach the top of a building where a woman is
standing. That woman is Elissa Doolittle. But then she looks over to her right and we see Liz
Ricarro. For whatever reason, Takeshi is watching this TV show, and he is shocked that Liz
has become a model.
The team gathers in a meeting room with her, but they are skeptical. When she leaves, they
speculate. The thing is Jesse is the one speculating. She suggests that Liz will be leaving the
team and joining Skylark. The episode brings a little humor in, as Jesse over exaggerates the
situation. It translates to a mild form of entertainment for us.
They continue their speculation, but after a while they convince Jesse that “it’s probably
nothing”. I think we all know that something is up, but none of us know what. Liz is still
devoted to the team, though. As we see her in her room that night, she is struggling with ideas
for something on paper. She looks at her computer and sees a picture of the team on the
championship night.
We now cut to the main event of the episode. The IGPX Annual Festival is back. I may not
have mentioned it in my review for Episode 7 because that episode is my least favorite episode.
However, I love this episode, and it makes sense to reveal a positive element of this episode,
and ultimately, this show. Both years hold a Charity Auction. They even show a few seconds of
it in Episode 7. What’s the big deal about that? I think it shows just how admirable the sport
is, and how humble the creators are. To give it as much attention as it has, I personally think
that’s a statement, and it’s a good one.
We begin this year with a forward’s race, or more of an obstacle course. That tells us that we
can expect all the events to be different this year. And from the beginning of the episode, we
know there will be a fashion show later that day. The race begins, and there are yellow blocks
in front of the pilots. Takeshi does an okay job dodging those, but then the jump comes. It’s
only expected that everyone will make it, but Takeshi starts having machine problems.
Mark just tuned up Takeshi’s mech, but he reveals that not all of the new parts arrived. This
turns to disaster as we realize that Takeshi might not make the jump. He switches from Speed
Mode to Cruise Mode in an attempt to make the jump. It then goes to a commercial as he
jumps for it. It’s interesting that this show hasn’t really done a cliffhanger commercial segue
until now (well, actually they did it in Episode 21). What I mean is they usually don’t leave us
in a moment-to-moment suspense when they go to commercial. I usually frown upon that
because then we see repeat scenes as the viewer. However, the scene quickly ends as we get
back from the break.
Mark and the crew apologize for what happened. Takeshi doesn’t take it negatively, but
instead takes this as an opportunity to encourage and commend the crew for their works and
simply say that there are just some minor errors to fix. Andrei takes notice of his positive
attitude. I love how we all see that, too. But it doesn’t end there. As River walks past Takeshi,
Takeshi wishes River good luck against their next race against White Snow.
Then Liz is in the same room with Takeshi, and Takeshi says to Liz that she doesn’t have to
model. As the next race comes, Takeshi is rooting for River. He says the reason is that River
“really knows what he wants”. And Liz asks what that is. A little bit of a pause occurs, and I
loved it. I know what she was thinking. Takeshi starts talking about how Liz has been great
for him, and she suddenly jumps up to interrupt his speech. But when she gets in the mech,
she tells herself “You know what you want…”. It’s really good character development, and I
bought it.
As the Defender’s race with Liz comes, we find a 90-degree angle, which means a climb up to
the top of the “Up-Down Curve”. Of course they use this moment t have Team Edge Raid
cheat again by using their string to pull them up with no effort, despite the supposed method
of climbing. Liz is now mad, and she has to win. As they enter Revolution Tunnel, spinning
claws and tight corners throw the players off. And unfortunately, Liz crashes into a wall and
that’s it for her.
Jesse tells Liz that she needs to get into her evening gown. Meanwhile, Amy is hoping to
comfort Liz in hopes of showing her that they care. So Amy helps, too. They pull too hard
when tightening the dress, and break the string off. Liz is nervous backstage, too. River is
seen as a cowboy, and it’s interesting to see what other teams are doing. We don’t see any
other specific teams and their fashion show representatives, because Liz’s is the main focus.
This is where a little bit of change is introduced in the series. When Liz walks on stage, we see
Takeshi stare in amazement. This is the first time we ever see Takeshi really fall for Liz, and
it was basically because he had never seen her in this way before. As one of the kids steps on
Liz’s dress, it tears. But instead of fumbling, she tears that piece off. We now see a little more
of Liz, though nothing really inappropriate.
Despite that little problem, she still receives the most votes. Miss Satomi is mentioned when
she reminds Miss Satomi of the promise she made. The promise was the Miss Satomi would
give Liz all the money she won. Amy speculates that she’ll spend it on the orphanage. And
Amy was right. The scene then segues into Liz’s room, where she is writing to her “mom”. I
would assume that to be her orphanage mom, but that is what is stated.
One minor point to her life, that being Liz is an orphan, is brought back so wonderfully and
appropriately in this episode. I really like that part. We see that Liz really cares about her past
and about the people with whom she once lived. It shows a soft side of Liz, and we see how
genuinely great her intentions are.
Takeshi mentions how he is happy that Liz isn’t leaving the team. Then he gets a bit flustered
as to why, and I interpret this as a moment of weakness. Takeshi is obviously starting to fall
for Liz. It’s great to see all this come together in one episode. The final scene is with Andrei
talking off Cunningham. They are prepared to beat Team Velshtein.
I don’t think everyone is going to react to this episode positively, or as positively as I did. It
feels like they were really able to draw out some of the best development the series has seen
from these characters in this episode. I feel as if they were able to make all these connections
with these events and make it work. I bought it, and if you’re like me, then you probably also
find this to be one of the best episodes of the series!
Liz Ricarro takes up
modeling. But why?
Jesse suspects that Liz's
modeling will lead to her
leaving Team Satomi.
Takeshi's got to make a
jump or risk getting
seriously hurt.
Additional Pictures
USA original air date: July 29th, 2006
Japan original air date: March 22nd, 2006
Original Japanese Title:
To the Place Meant to Be
Summary

Liz Ricarro has a little secret. She is now modeling. Her decision
has confused the members of Team Satomi. Could she be hiding
something deep behind all of this? Meanwhile, the annual IGPX
festival is back, and there's a lot at stake this year. A new fashion
show promises a heap of money, and Liz has been chosen. Will she
be able to pull off a win for Team Satomi in a fashion statement?
This episode features the first look at the annual fashion show, and
the obstacle course with a jump and 90 degree angle included.
OVERALL SCORE: 9 out of 10
Toonami Version Differences

No changes/cuts are made.
Additional Information