Clearly, the plot in this series is a rather amorphous being. In other words, it’s the penultimate epi and, rather than handing out boarding passes for the Venus-bound rocket we saw at the end of the last epi, the gang play games instead. Literally. A Battle Royale style game, in fact, (er, minus any fatalities… yet) to decide who is going to be crowned King of the riverbank and have granted to him/ her any wish that is in the power of the rest of them to give…
…In other words, at this point it’s clear that the previously alluded to main plot has been put on hold and that, unless something pretty drastic/ deus ex machina-esque happens in the series finale, things will presumably coast along and just focus on the humour and character development. Not quite sure how I feel about this (will have to wait for epi 13 to be subbed, as it turns out that’s in fact the second part to this one), but at least, as a stand alone (er, half of an) epi, it was on the whole full of lol moment after another, and it was certainly nice seeing the whole gang assembled and at their zaniest for the pure purposes of our entertainment.
Firstly, of course, there was a return to the monologue-opener this week (or rather last week, lol), delivered by Nino. This, I felt, highlighted her current feelings towards the Bridge village in a rather interesting way, namely her desire to ‘keep’ everybody close to her and yet, inevitably, sensing the impossibility of such a thing, as symbolised by the little spheres falling open after dropping from the gumball machine/ container thingy that Nino is holding close to her. And the ‘triggers’ for these falls? Simply to ‘speak’ and to ‘laugh’, or, in other words, getting closer and closer to them. As she turns to ‘pick up’ the last figure, that of Ric, her comment that someday he’ll hold himself responsible for her ‘greed’ is a suitably enigmatic note on which to end her thoughts, heightening our interest once more on Nino’s back story and her intentions regarding her future with Ric.
Not so much to say on the game itself, other than the fact that it allowed the key players to be assembled and see how far their relationships have progressed: naturally, there is the familiar Nino-centric friction between Ric and Hoshi; Billy x Jacqueline were, er, just that; Stella’s desire to have Maria become her mummy was just as funny as was Maria’s disgust at the thought that this would mean Sister would see himself as a perverted daddy figure; the metal brothers seem obsessed with gelatinous snacks; and P-Ko’s love for the Mayor took a turn for the brave as we got to witness an outright confession from her. Well, sort of. The latter scenes also allowed (though, alas, briefly) some more experimentation with the drawing style, namely the heavy lines and cross-hatching used to highlight P-Ko’s expressions of fatigue/ resignation/ horror, which added to the comedy in these scenes as she battled to express her feelings to the oblivious Mayor.
Finally, as the competitors use one dirty/ random/ unintentional trick after another to knock each other out of the tournament, we are left with Maria and Sister as the last two standing, with the suggestion that the terrifying Maria must not be allowed to win. And cue the cliffie… Well, whoever ends up winning, I assume that his/ her ‘decree’ will end up being something awesomely random and a fitting note on which to wrap up this series. At least, I hope so, anyway…