YAY! Maya’s back!! In short, this epi was all kinds of Win. And all kinds of . And . And LOL. And @_@. And . And T__T. And EH?! Observe…
The Vice Principal [hitherto referred to as V.P. for my sanity, as comrade Mysty might say] informs Uchida that Maya and Kozue are officially missing. Uchida is suitably gobsmacked. Then, in a less serious tone, the V.P. quickly suggests that they both look for the two girls together. Uchida is suitably quick at suggesting that they split-up. As Uchida legs it out of there, the shady guy appears and asks V.P. what the point of seducing Uchida would be, but V.P. is apparently falling (or at least trying to fall) in love with the green suited bumbler. Meanwhile, the green suited bumbler heads down into the town and is both surprised and touched at the spectacle of everybody banding together and searching for the girls. He is then positively delighted to bump into Mikaze, who suggests that they look for the girls in her car. Uchida is then suitably less delighted.
Soon, after asking some questions and following some leads, the two end up at the Amato Shrine in Minakamiyama and, following an I-think-I-saw-someone-worth-following hunch by the surprisingly eagle-eyed Mikaze, they end up going inside the shrine, tripping, and discovering a secret tunnel. In which Uchida reluctantly enters and swiftly gets very impressively lost. All this time, J.K. with his dowsing rods, accompanied by a nonchalant Smile with a bloody big spanner, are on the school grounds searching for Maya. Before J.K.’s rods lead them off to exit stage right. Also, at pretty much the same time, V.P., for some reason, seems to be writing a trashy romance novel inspired by her favourite green suited teacher.
Back to the caves, and Uchida is randomly reunited with the very Principal that they have all been searching for [Woohoo!]. She, of course, gives him all kinds of hell and they eventually discover another inner chamber with a very big and important looking sparkly tree and Maya waxes mythical on said tree. In short, it must be Nostradamus’ Key. Uchida then takes a pic on his trusty gizmo. In short, it is not Nostradamus’ Key. Then all hell breaks loose as Uchida’s footing literally breaks loose and he falls in a frikkin enormous pile of crap. As if things could not get any worse for the Time Agent, Maya gives him even more hell for being stinky as well as useless, before the bat-winged and red-eyed beasty that was chasing Maya in the last epi is suddenly upon the both of them. They seem to get away, only to walk right into the lair/ nest thingy of the beasty – or ‘Mothman’ – as Maya explains, while demanding that the Time Agent finally flex his Time Agent prowess. Before Uchida admits that his story was all lies and that he was just a Z-list, semi-supernatural-powered-celebrity-turned-bum who’d been captured and forced into going back in time by the Mysterious Men.
Maya is not amused. However, she soon discovers Kozue in a nearby oozing cocoon and promptly goes about rescuing her. And waking up the rest of the sleeping/ hatching
beasties Mothmen. Uchida then runs away. Things look pretty bleak for our current favourite tsundere and her currently comatose friend, until our current favourite strongman arrives throwing around his bloody big spanner to TAKE CARE OF IT, not unlike the style of a past favourite vending-machine-throwing bartender, I might add. The episode draws to a close with the Scooby gang intact, not least of all a certain cowardly Time Agent, who Maya can barely look at, let alone give him the usual hell. In fact, she gives him worse, in a concise, but ouchy kind of way. As they rest of the gang leave him behind, Mikaze suddenly turns up and Uchida promptly takes the credit for the whole thing. The final scene is of the shady guy reporting to the V.P., who is closing the book in which she’s been writing, that the caves have been sealed. She acknowledges his good work and adds that Maya is a whole heap of trouble.
Now THAT’s more like it. After the semi-snail-paced epi last week, I’m glad we didn’t see too much of Ms Cute Waitress (at least not in moe mode) after she unintentionally showed Uchida how to do his job. In contrast, I can’t really fault the pacing of this epi, I think I just enjoyed pretty much all of it, especially after Maya returned, of course. However, before I fangirl over Maya, I will add that Uchida suddenly got a whole lotta interesting. Yes, interesting. I know most of us probably wanted to conduct various experimental forms torture on his useless, cowardly arse in this episode, but I must admit to noticing a few more faces in his ‘many face of’ repertoire, plus the fact his unreliable-narrator-ness was confirmed with such panache in this epi actually does make me want to see and learn more of him. While I’m holding a bloody big spanner of my own to hit him with, of course.
Back to Maya. Yes, she returned in this epi, of course – and what a return it was! Not only did we see here in all her tsundere arse-kicking, cross-bow shooting, giving-them-hell glory, but she actually didn’t physically hit Uchida that much. Instead, the insult-reaction comedy ping-pong was fabulously fast-paced and literally made me LOL all the way through that middle section. Plus, the bits that were interspersed with J.K. and Smile I thought were incorporated seamlessly and worked well too.
So, as I’ve mentioned and implied so far, this episode was sort of Scooby-Doo-esque in terms of structure and comedy. However, the key shifts in tone and mood were certainly stark. Namely, the big (partial) reveal about Uchida being a big fat liar. The parts where his real story flipped around the previous ‘cool’ version were still funny, of course, but the glimpse we saw of the dystopian future ravaged by destruction and poverty with a destitute and desperate Uchida sitting alone in the middle of it was certainly a sharp contrast to anything in which I could have imagined him. Clearly, there’s a real tragedy in his past that we’re yet to hear about, which would explain that turned away face and the unseen tear he shed at the beginning of the last epi. A face that I’d actually liked to have seen, but might have made me a bit teary too if I had.
However, none of this, of course, excuses what Uchida did to Maya and Kozue. Or, rather, didn’t do. Even Maya’s reaction after hearing the real story (‘…You can’t use any psychic powers and you get lost in caves. You’re a worthless time agent. And you stink.’ Ouch!) was no less ouchy than what he deserved. And it was nothing compared to that look she gave him at the end and the way she simply uttered that one word. To be honest, I can’t tell if that was the most p***ed-off I’ve seen her yet, or just hurt. Both, I assume. Shame daddy’s book only contains protection spells as opposed to hexes and curses, eh? Needless to say, Uchida’s subsequent and sudden credit-taking before Mikaze was actually pretty creepy to me for, some reason. I mean, rather than just being out of order, he came across as being almost schizophrenic, instead of the loser-but-nice-guy-underneath thing I thought he had going on. Hmmm…
Finally, some words on some of the randomness. Notably, J.K. and his keyboard of doom. Kind of reminded me of Arakawa, too. In short, and unlike that bloody big spanner, I certainly didn’t see that one coming. Though, speaking of that spanner, Smile is fast becoming my favourite strongman of the season. At least there’s someone man enough in this anime. Plus, he also gets bonus points for coming the closest to filling the void left by the frikkin awesomeness that is Shizuo.
May the throwing of overly large heavy objects continue!