One of the biggest desires I've had for this series is the desire to see another team race
another team instead of just a race between Satomi and somebody else. That desire is fulfilled
at the beginning of this episode. We see Team Sledge Mama fight Team White Snow. The
winner of this race determines who Team Satomi will race for the finals. We don’t even know
if they’ll make it to the finals yet. They have to beat Team Velshtein. Nevertheless, Team
Satomi is naturally watching this race to see the outcome.
Team White Snow makes the win again. Yamma isn't very happy about the outcome, but he
wished he could have played better. The last thing that Yamma says is reminding his
teammates that he’s the captain. Oh well. I am glad that Yamma was able to walk out of the
league with no regrets. I suppose River will take over, but this is merely speculation. The point
is that this story is wrapped up.
That’s where the series is leading at this point-it’s time to start wrapping things up. Those
hoping for more of that will be pleased with this episode. Takeshi isn't ready for that to happen
to him yet. He wants very much to win. The team has their usual pep talk, and it means little
to me at this point in the series (we've only heard like about 100 up until now). So maybe the
episode drags a little here.
But the race is upon the team members. There is no talk out on the track before they enter
their mechs, but afterwards the usual banter occurs. Luca seems ready to go all-out: who knew
we could get some character development from a talking cat? Cunningham reminds his
teammates that there is no use bragging about their anticipated victory. He wants them
focused during the race; an admirable idea.
There is a great lead-up to this race, as Benjamin Bright elucidates the current situation of
these two teams, and what victory means for them tonight. I love how as he stops speaking,
the countdown begins. It felt like it really worked well here. The race begins promptly after
the countdown is initiated. It begins similarly to their race for the finals last season, but this
time, the talking that occurs during the first lap is not superfluous.
We begin by seeing a flashback of Takeshi as a younger boy watching an IGPX race on TV. At
that time, it’s The Rocket who is racing. Then we see a few more scenes, including a shot of
Takeshi with River on the track. It appears River had his chance at one point with the team,
but when they entered the IG-1 League, River couldn’t get one.
Then we see Amy meeting Luca, and shots of her with the team. The point of her back story is
that she is no longer alone when she is with her teammates. Even Liz has a little more of a
backstory, including being a waitress to make her way through life. But Liz wants to forget the
past, and focus on the future, unlike Takeshi and Amy.
Even Cunningham has a backstory. He’s rich, but his upscale family simply could not relate to
him, especially since it seems that the parents were out of the picture. He tells himself (and
ultimately us) that Takeshi is the only one who understands him. It doesn’t matter because
Cunningham is still going to do his best to keep Satomi in check.
Then the race continues, and what I suspected came true-the beginning shots of 3D animation
were reused from the last race, with simple changes of the lighting. I didn’t like the reused 2D
animation in Episode 10, and I’m still frowning upon it here. I know it takes someone like me
to discern it, since they at least changed the lighting, but it is still a bit irritating.
Sir Hamgra now reveals his story, and we know it involves Andrei. They both loved the same
woman. Despite them being teammates, they became bitter enemies. They wanted to settle the
conflict with a race. For some reason, there are other mechs on the track; that quickly
changes to a scene of Sir Hamgra and Andrei fighting each other when their mechs wipe out.
There seems to be some continuity issues, or maybe that’s me. In the end, the girl picked
Andrei over Sir Hamgra.
Now it’s Andrei’s turn. Andrei got married and had a baby, but he couldn’t seem to pull
himself together to keep the family going strong. That’s when Sir Hamgra formed Team
Velshtein, and the fabled race between him and Andrei is shown. Right after is a fistfight and
the last conversation they ever had to each other directly. Andrei believes fate is the only
explanation for the salvation Team Satomi provided him.
We are reminded that this is fun for both Takeshi and Cunningham. We are also reminded of
the laziness of the animators as yet another segment of 2D animation is reused for some of
the characters' lines. With this episode trying to close, the last thing I need is another reason
to not like it as much.
Meanwhile, Team White Snow is rooting for Team Satomi, so that they can personally take
them out in the finals. A pit stop ends this episode, and again as it tries to end, some more
animation is reused. Both teams need their pit stops this time. Takeshi is ready to give this
race a win.
A lot seems to be going for this episode on the story side, and there is a healthy dose of
character development. Despite all the great stuff in this episode, I like this episode less each
time I watch it. Why? I am reminded of the faults that become more and more obvious. Not
only are there tons of reused animation segments, but there seem to be some weird moments.
This is still a decent episode, but there was certainly lost potential.
|Team White Snow and
Team Sledge Mama face
off. Who will win?
|Even the throne of a king
holds truths to one's past.
Cunningham has many
motives behind his ways.
|The Rocket and Sir
Hamgra are young at
heart...with the same girl!
|USA original air date: August 5th, 2006
|Japan original air date: March 29th, 2006
|Original Japanese Title:
Team White Snow and Team Sledge Mama are facing off for the
finals spot. So is Team Satomi and Team Velshtein. The rivalry
couldn't be higher this year. But everyone has something different
that they are bringing to the table. Will this affect the outcome of
the races? And will Team Satomi really
be able to pull off a win against a team who is solely determined on
winning? This episode features a first look at the past between Sir
Hamgra and the Rocket. It also delves into the life of Cunningham.
|OVERALL SCORE: 7 out of 10
|Toonami Version Differences
-Some conversation between Takeshi and his sister
Yuri is cut from the Toonami Version.
|Episode 23: Fate