|Episode 26: The End...and the Beginning
|Team Satomi are going to
have think of something
big to defeat something
|The Snowman is by far the
biggest, and toughest
opponent seen yet.
|The race ends just as
nighttime draws, and the
lights turn on.
|USA original air date: August 26th, 2006
|Japan original air date: None-on DVD
|Original Japanese Title:
The End...and the Beginning
The final episode of the series has dawned upon us, and our friends Team Satomi are stuck
in the middle of the final race of this season. As the episode opens, we get a real glimpse of the
Snowman; “a giant metal monstrosity”. Team White Snow and Team Satomi are both ready
for each other. Takeshi goes in to collect data, and is almost knocked off the track by claws
and arms. As they close in on the machine, the team can’t seem to get past the obstacle. Since
Team White Snow is in the lead, they have to.
Meanwhile, there are bystanders like Team Velshtein. Cunningham seems enthralled by
this puzzle, while Johnny Lipkin and Yuri Jin are cheering from the stands. They are actually
standing right next to each other and meet up. As the race progresses, Andrei reveals a weak
point-their speed isn't so great. This is their chance to attack, and Team White Snow quickly
figures out that they have to slow them down.
Then, as they retract their arms that were attacking, Max takes over her team’s side of the
race. They condense their control system to Max, who then unleashes very sharp claws, which
are uniformly spread. She claims she works better on her own. I remember this point as I
watch Team Satomi get brutally attacked in all directions. Liz is the target of many of them.
As they elude them, Max gets confused as to how her plan isn't working.
Team White Snow starts to doubt her abilities, which is also something to remember-why
would Zanak doubt someone who is lower than his position as forward? Max’s true motives on
the team are starting to be revealed. Team Satomi use the spiral to make a leap on top of each
other. Liz stays on the bottom, with Takeshi in the middle and Amy on top. They jump at each
other, and we are treated to an anime experience like no other. All the pilots take human like
forms and assume fighting positions. As Takeshi makes an attack from above, the team slides
under the Snowman and race toward the finish line.
All the mechs are in speed mode, and we all watch and see who will cross the line first.
Takeshi maintains speed and wins for the team. Celebrations ensue as the commercial break
comes on. After that, Team Satomi is down in what looks like a garage near the track. The
mechanics celebrate with Takeshi, as Team White Snow approaches and ask how they won.
Zanak appears ready to lunge at Takeshi, but Max stops him. Max commends Takeshi for his
Then Team White Snow reveals their secret-Max is the forward and leader of the team.
They only proceeded to the IG-1 with her hacking skills. Max even felt her plans were flawless.
Takeshi says it’s about teamwork. Max then literally sheds a tear. She only reveals what I've
noticed about her all season, she is sensitive. Remember back in Episode 17 when she had no
comment about what happened that day (Amy getting hurt). I think she really cared about
her. While I was expecting just a little more oomph in the character development, I am so glad
that she did cry here, even if nobody else liked it.
The best line ever comes up here…or at least humorous…when Takeshi comments that he’
ll never understand girls, Liz replies, “That’s cause you’re an idiot”. Great stuff. The writers
have really nailed some great parts of this series in this episode. But the episode isn’t over.
Something will happen that will drastically change the mood. For now, Takeshi and the gang
are confronted by Cunningham.
Cunningham does all the talking. He was very impressed. Because they’ve gotten to this
point in the series, it’s really cool to see Cunningham like this. He can’t wait until next year,
and then excitedly runs away from them. By the animation, we feel a sort of giddiness by the
way he leaves. Liz suggests that he should get a hobby. Perhaps. Maybe he just really loves the
We then see the course at night, which is always a cool sight. The last time we saw this was
last year’s final race. It has turned from sunset to night in the city, and it looks great. Takeshi
is at home, where he finally breaks apart the puzzle he’s been working on for a few months,
and this time in front of her so she sees it. She then says that Liz gave it to her to give it to
him, and Liz wanted it to be a secret. Takeshi then gets thinking about Liz, at night, of course.
We see a montage of Liz. Takeshi is thinking about many of the things she’s done to him,
and how those things indicate something about Liz’s feelings. It’s a really cool idea because
Takeshi falls asleep thinking about Liz, and we move on to the next scene thinking about his
next move. This is about the only time, by the way, that recycled animation is okay in a series.
Fortunately, that’s the only thing recycled here.
Everything starts to wrap up. First we see Miss Satomi with a positive phone call with a
sponsor, and Jesse winks as she gives her some coffee (must have some chocolate in it…or
maybe brandy…). The mechanics are happy to continue working on the mechs, as Andrei
reminds Mark that everyone else basically has time off. Takeshi and Liz…wait, they’re alone?
And here is the changing moment of the series. Liz approaches Takeshi and yells at him to
spit out what he wants to say, and he asks Liz out on a date. No response. Takeshi yells his
statement of trying to ask her out again, and Liz yells back that she’s thinking. Then she
quotes Confucius, and then kisses Takeshi. Takeshi is very happy, and then there’s a party.
The whole team is there, even Ichi. Takeshi enters holding Liz’s hand and reveals that they
are dating, and Takeshi is kind of madly in love with her. She just throws him on his back, and
everyone laughs. A little awkward…
The scene segues to the next year, where Team Velshtein and Team Satomi are on the
track about to start a new race. Johnny is in training, and is invited to the room where Miss
Satomi, Andrei, Mark and Jesse have watched the races. This is obviously to set up the
inevitable future of the now-dead series. We now can all hear Luca, instead of just Amy, as
one additional new thing. The series actually ends basically how it started, with a camera
panning away from The Big Eye. Takeshi is ready for the future, and we are greeted with a
final saying, “We Will Never Stop”.
As to the critical analysis, you should have caught on that I mostly enjoyed this episode. It
really does wrap up the series the way it should, and I am very satisfied with this episode. Did
we get superb character development? Unfortunately, not superb. Rather, I think this episode
simply wraps up the superb character development that we've seen since the beginning of the
series. So the episode is far from perfect, and it goes without saying that Liz dating Takeshi is
a bit awkward. Still, fans of the series will not be disappointed with this final episode, and it
sure does leave me hungry for more.
Team Satomi and Team White Snow are still fighting for the
finals. But Team Satomi is about to face something nobody
expected to see-a mech composed of all three White Snow
Satomi isn't about to slow down, now. Will they give it their all
and pull off a win for the second year in a row? This episode
features the first time an episode has ended without the words
"To Be Continued". Instead, the now famous "WE WILL
NEVER STOP" appears.
|OVERALL SCORE: 8 out of 10
|Toonami Version Differences
-No changes/cuts were made.