Episode 7: Spring Has Come
Review

The first thing we see in this episode is a heart shape in a foggy window. Jesse wipes it off, only
to notice a man approach the facility. It turns out that this man is Mark's father, Hans. At the
beginning, it's apparent that there is some tension between them. Then Hans reveals that his
wife (Mark's mother) is sick. The first thing Mark asks is if Hans is making it up.
Now that's an interesting suspicion. Why would his father make something up like that? To
get Mark to see his mother again? We find out rather quickly that this is all a ploy to do just
that, though I'm not sure how his parents expect him to react to the news. Mark dismisses it
anyway, saying he is too busy. Hans quietly leaves, and I'd rather forget about that part of the
episode. Unfortunately, I will come back to it later.
Meanwhile, all the IG-1 teams are at the annual IGPX festival. Team Satomi is posing for the
paparazzi, but Takeshi notices Fantine and is flustered. Liz uses this as a good time to steal
the show from Takeshi and kicks Takeshi down. Miss Satomi watches in embarrassment as
her sponsors stand next to her.
This episode is a bit weak in the animation department. Some of the sketches of the
characters are a bit weird. At this point in the review, it's worth noting that a few of these
weird animations pop up everywhere until the last fifth of the episode, it seems. It's a minor
flaw considering how great everything else is in this episode. So it may be weak, but it's
certainly better than many other anime series.
Why did I interject this point here? Because it does detract from the experience. This can also
be said for great music and great sound effects. Even the tiniest detail can be considered really
good. In a psychological sense, if the whole package is polished, then the episode just has a
better feel to it. But it's also worth noting that the episode doesn't really fail nor succeed
aurally or visually.
That kind of sets the tone for what's left to come, which is the unraveling of Mark's parents'
lie. Jesse gets involved when she bumps into Mark's mother. Mark's mother, Misaki, explains
how she tries to give Mark good luck charms every year, possibly on vacation to Japan. Mark
never gets them, and they have piled up. But how genuine are his parents? At this point in the
episode, we still don't know that his parents are faking it. But soon after, they talk about it.
His parents intentions are good, but it seems really awkward to lie to Mark just to get him
back in their life. This at least shows that his parents do care, and are trying something to get
him back. But when you see how his parents act, it just comes across as mean. Since Mark
suspected it, it must be in his parents character to act. He knows them better than we do. It's
still makes for a stupid subplot, but if it shows one thing, it's that at least Mark is genuine.
Once again, I'd like to forget about that part of the episode and go back to Takeshi, who is
wishing Liz luck as she arm wrestles. She's about to win, but her opponent (a member of Team
Edge Raid) cheats by attaching invisible wires to a wooden block. This stabilizes the mech, and
allows it to crush Liz. Liz notices, but they cover it up by reaching a hand out for Liz.
Benjamin notices the supposed sportsmanship. It's the little things like this that make the
series great-we love to hate Team Edge Raid. I feel this scene was added just so that in case
you didn't feel that way about Team Edge Raid from last episode, you do now.
Takeshi is depressed from watching Cunningham take the glory. Takeshi is about to leave for
his mech. Liz noticing his self-pity tries to encourage him. She says that this is all about
passion, and believing in yourself. Takeshi simply replies that she's right. Liz feels a little bit
better about stopping Takeshi and confronting him. I do, too. In fact, this is what the episode
should have been about. Adding in Mark's parents had potential, but ultimately wasted time,
as we find out soon in the episode.
Building the plot of this episode around the festival left it open for some really cool things.
Takeshi tries to make a record time at the special track, made for today's main racing event.
He doesn't do so well at the beginning, and asks Mark if there's anything he can do to assist.
Mark suggests a new mode he built, but not tested. Miss Satomi is understandably concerned
about Takeshi's well-being. Takeshi insists that he trusts anything Mark has built.
Takeshi goes out of control, but safely makes it to the finish line. For the final lap, he made
excellent time. It seems as though he won, but forgetting the first two laps is what caused the
anticipation of winning. Unfortunately, it's not enough to win. Mark apologizes for putting
Takeshi through that, but Takeshi remarks that this was a thrill and that it was great that
mark believed in him.
His parents are watching, and Hans claims that Mark has found his niche. Misaki disagrees,
saying that he really does want to come back. Then she faints. Mark is immediately
summoned. With both us an the audience and Mark stunned by her fainting and being rushed
to the hospital, it only seemed appropriate that we hear a few sympathetic words from Mark.
Right after, though, Misaki sits up and reveals the lie, and that her fainting was also a lie.
Mark claims he knew about it.
This basically ends the dispute, but to what avail. I know what the creators are trying to say
with this whole subplot, but it is so out of place. Even during the race, it seems that even Mark
has forgotten about his mother. I didn't need to see this side of Mark, though I'm glad it was
cleared up. Still, it's unimaginable that anyone would fake a hospital visit, which can cost
thousands of dollars, just to get Mark back in Misaki's life.
This episode missed the mark. Instead of focusing on a silly subplot, the creators could have
focused on Takeshi. This is who we care about. They only briefly touch on the passion needed
to win in life. Then it's back to the subplot with Mark. Even the solo race with Takeshi says so
much about what we can achieve when we believe. This seems to be the only part of the
episode not cut off by the subplot. That's good, because I feel like I still got something out of
this episode, even though I didn't particularly like it.
Like I said near the beginning, this episode doesn't seem polished. It should have maintained
focus on the real matter at hand, instead of throwing in some random story that has little to do
with the major plot in the series. You may argue that episode four had a similar subplot, with
Amy's birthday. She is directly affected by the IGPX, and that episode had a good balance of
both Amy and the main story. This episode does not. I'd like to forget about the subplot and
like this episode more, but I can't.
Mark and Jesse greet
Hans, Mark's father.
Mark isn't so open about
it, though.
As part of the annual
IGPX festival, Liz tries
arm wrestling with her
mech.
Benjamin Bright is suited
up for the activities of this
year's festival.
Additional Pictures
USA original air date: December 10th, 2005
Japan original air date: November 16th, 2005
Original Japanese Title:
Spring Has Come
Summary

The annual IGPX festival has arrived and this gives Team Satomi
some more time in the limelight, and a break from racing. The
IGPX track has changed to allow for speed runs, and Takeshi takes
a shot at making a record run. Meanwhile, Mark's father is
concerned about him not seeing his mother for a while. Will Mark
get over his work to see his mother, or will this tension continue
through this episode? This episode features a first look at the VIP
seats of the IGPX race track and introduces Mark's parents.
OVERALL SCORE: 6 out of 10
Toonami Version Differences

-A bit of the initial conversation between Mark and
his father (Jesse is in the scene for a bit, too) is
intermittently cut.

-A small piece of animation and a line spoken by
Mark's mother is cut during the conversation between
Jesse, and Mark's parents.

-A line spoken by Mark's mother is cut in the first
conversation we see with Mark's parents in their
office.

-A very small piece of animation showing Jesse
turning and appearing to reach into her pocket while
she says "Um..." is cut.

-During Takeshi's run, a line spoken by Liz to
Takeshi in his mech is omitted; though worth noting is
that no animation was cut out (the original version of
the line was spoken off-screen, meaning that no
animation needed to be cut, anyways).

-One line during another conversation between
Mark's parents later in the episode at their office is
cut.

-When Fantine and Takeshi talk at the "VIP seats",
Takeshi seemingly repeats Fantine's line of "...all the
way to the final corner" before saying "Yeah..."; this
line is cut from the Toonami version.

-A few lines between the longer conversation of Mark
and his parents at the hospital are cut, along with a
couple pieces of animation that contain silence.

-A 15-second scene where Mark's dad makes a
remark to his wife about how she needs Mark back in
her life (who is sleeping) is cut.
Additional Information