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UltraSeven X Episode 2 (additional notes) and Episodes 3-4 
11th-Nov-2007 01:34 pm

Backtracking a bit, someone remarked that the story of Agent R in episode 2 seemed similar to the story of Mizorogi from Ultraman Nexus, and I'm inclined to agree. Each of these men was one of those lone wolf agents who seemed disinclined to work with the group. And each had gone missing for some time without an explanation and reappeared later with an evil agenda. Ultimately, they both died in the end. Less similar, perhaps, but they both tried to manipulate the ultramen in their respective series. (I say 'less similar' because I find the length at which Mizorogi went through to make Himeya suffer a great deal harsher than R just mostly talking to Jin and stealing his UltraEye. Which reminds me that I'm still not sure if R knows who Jin is, or, as someone else said, R takes the UltraEye simply because it appears to be important to Jin.)

Now that the past is hopefully out of the way...

UltraSeven X 3 - Hopeless

- So, greed makes people do all the stuff detrimental to their health. So the lesson here is just say no if the aliens come knocking with their money? Personally, I do not care whether these people were saved. They brought it onto themselves. Guess I'm just not very sympathetic of people who should have known better.

- That office room where the people have the head device things on strangely reminds me of a scene from an episode of GARO (the one with the clown, I think).

- I'm surely weird, but I find grumpy Agent K cute. (For the record, I probably enjoy seeing most fictional worldly guys getting frustrated, flustered, or in any way unlike their normal, cheerful selves.)

- Ah, here comes the lecture I was waiting for (not!). I understood this line the first time I watched it (partly because it was subbed in the preview) and remember groaning 'not again'. Yes, Tsuburaya, I know humans are selfish bastards who do not care for their own planet and that Ultraman should not waste his time protecting such a worthless species. I do not need some aliens to keep telling me that for half a million times, thankyouverymuch. (If it is anything like some other Ultra series, this same lecture will be repeated endlessly and I'll be obliged to tune it out to keep my sanity.)

- The alien guy, Tamaru, protests that he is a business man and doesn't care to invade earth. But I think Jin is right in saying that the alien not stopping the making of the invasion device is the same with being guilty and part of the problem.

- Ha, a little surprised that Tamaru had no idea who Jin was at first. I thought he already knew because he approached Jin specifically at the park.

- Tamaru counters that then the humans working in that warehouse should be destroyed too, because they also contribute to the making of the invasion device. Jin says it is not the same thing. I find myself more inclined to agree with Tamaru. These people don't appear to be under outside influences, other than, as I said, their greed.

- Human size fight is--er--interesting, I suppose.

- Probably sensing the end is near, the alien says human is behind the invasion device. I just have to shake my head. What is it with the enemies having the last words revealing important stuff, when at first they steadfastly refused to divulge any useful information whatsoever? Is this a cliche toku plot device?

UltraSeven X 4 - Diamond "S"

- I want that deluxe pudding Agent K is having. And I like that Agent S brings it up to counter his teasing her about her eating too much chocolate.

- Bright scene again, I love this. And the outdoor cafe reminds me of at least three series: GARO, Ultraman Nexus, and Watashitachi no Kyokasho. (What can I say? My brain likes to make weird associations.)

- Must say that I absolutely love Agent K's looks when he poses as a reporter.

- The whole parasite thing reminds me of a certain book series for kids (yeah, I used to read it and told the sales person that I was buying the books for my nonexistent cousin mostly because I love the first-person point of view. I'm that shallow).

- Why can't they just use either Japanese or English for "05"? I know the Japanese like to mix up words, but zero and five are both numbers. It just seems jarring to me to use different languages for them.

- I don't know, for an undercover agent, S doesn't seem to do a very good job. She gets caught too easily, and seems too trusting of people she should have suspected. But don't mind me; if I were a guy I probably would not be complaining.

- Lecturing alien strikes again! Somehow this one doesn't bother me as much as the one from the last episode, though. Maybe it is because the alien simply states the facts mostly, as opposed to passing judgment.

- For this episode, I can't make up my mind whether the humans should be held responsible for their actions, to take Shiner 05, I mean. I guess I find ambition a more admirable trait than greed. Not to mention people seek self-help courses and stuff all the time to improve their lives.

- So are the parasites actually gone? Or are they still around? Or the last scene is simply a red herring?

- Elea is nowhere to be seen in this episode. Probably because one woman is enough for each episode? Seriously though, I'm kind of glad that she isn't around for reasons I'll go into later in this post.

I'm finding myself somewhat disenchanted with this series, even though I never had a high expectation to begin with. Part of the problem is I think Seven X is getting highly episodic when it really cannot afford to be. There are only 12 episodes total, and one-third of those is used up already with no additional insights into the characters and their motivations. Thing is, I do like the social commentaries, but not when they come at the expense of character developments.

To me, the biggest culprit so far is the mysterious girl in white, Elea. What is her purpose beside appearing to spout the same tiresome one-note or to state some pretty obvious things? Seriously, "Jin, you are a savior" or some such variations are not good conversations make. I'm starting to think she is a pre-recorded program or a robot. At any rate, she certainly seems wooden enough to be something other than a living organism. Oh yeah, she gives Jin the glass in episode 1, but really, does this show really need her beyond that? And I had such a high expectation for her character when I first read about it on paper too. :\

Jin himself isn't much better. For a guy with no memory, he seems to not care about the loss of it any longer. I would have no real problem if he has not been concerned with it to begin with. However, he was in the first episode, but he is not now. That is not very consistent. It is true that he has a job to do and cannot be thinking or let the matter bother him all the time, but I would appreciate seeing that the show has touched on the matter, that it has not forgotten that its hero is amnesiac.

I'll be honest. To me, Agent K is simply another agent guy whom Jin mostly hangs out with. He doesn't seem to develop any further from the first episode, which I think is a shame, because this is another character with potential. He is a fun character to have around, though, and brightens this dark series considerably.

To this end, maybe we are not supposed to look at individual characters, but to this futuristic society as a whole. Maybe it is a character onto itself. I'm rusty on the first episode, but we always see humans, willingly or not, bonding together to do something in episodes 2-4. Is there a message somewhere in there? That you have no individuality in this society? That you are not a valuable, contributing member of society until you join with other people? That you are in fact simply one of the bees in a big mind hive? To me at least, episode 4 makes this point very clear.

(Edited for silly typos, which I'm still not sure if I've caught all, since apparently Semagic's spellchecker has replaced some words in my post.)
Mostly Dead Town
11th-Nov-2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
- Why can't they just use either Japanese or English for "05"? I know the Japanese like to mix up words, but zero and five are both numbers. It just seems jarring to me to use different languages for them.
Technically, they are using one language. In Japanese, 0 is simply said "zero."

I agree with many of your points, especially all the reminders of previous series. It's probably because of the location, they may be similar. (Though I'm too lazy to actually go and check.)

Jin's lack of concern for his memory truly bothers me. It's how we were thrown into this, it should matter! I've a feeling it'll come smack us in the face in the last two or three episodes, though.

I'm of the opinion that Agent K actually has a personality. Considering the show has focused so much on society and the alien's schemes, there's not much room for him to develop even if they were trying to. The events aren't affecting him in any way so why should he change? That said, we have seen more of his personality (and facial expressions, really) than we have of Jin and even Agent S.

Human size fights don't belong in Ultraman. I mean, if he fights at our height, he's not Ultra, he's just Man! (ha ha) But really... it's irritating to me. That and the wire-fu. It's more subtle than if this was an American production but feels out of place regardless.

All that aside, I'm enjoying the series more than I thought I would, though that's mostly thanks to K and S...
12th-Nov-2007 01:01 am (UTC)
Technically, they are using one language. In Japanese, 0 is simply said "zero."

You're right. Thing is, there was another Japanese word for 0 that I was thinking of, but I guess it is no longer widely used. Yeah, it boils down to me simply wanting them to say either "zero five" or "[a probably outdated Japanese word for 0] go". Probably not very reasonable, I guess.

I haven't really thought about the fact that most of the events don't specifically concern K, except on the superficial level that he has to investigate them because doing so is part of his job description. I guess I just selfishly want more from a 12 episode series than I should.

Human size fights don't belong in Ultraman.

Mostly I would agree with you. (I don't like the wire-fu either.) Part of the appeal of an Ultra is that he is a giant fighting in the city, among the buildings, sometimes falling on them. But in this case, which I'm just now reminded of, the alien wants a human size fight because he doesn't want his factory destroyed. That sounds contrived, true, but at least they are not putting in the human size fight just because they can. Anyway, I hope they continue to have some sort of reason if they want to have anymore human size fights in the series.
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