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Ultraman Mebius Episode 18 - Pressure on Ultraman 
26th-Dec-2007 11:55 am
EDIT on July 4, 2010: Okay, I think I was a bit too emotional when writing this, because whatever used to bother me about this episode no longer do. I still love it to pieces, though. :)

(As always, thanks to fushigichan for the translation of the episode.)

This episode gets to me every time I watch it. On one hand, I just love it to pieces. On the other hand, I can't help being annoyed by Ryuu and co.

Now, a little background. I'm a really weird person. That part where Mirai runs after Ryuu and co.? I always pause it, even though I know exactly what is coming. I just can't bear to see Mirai's impassioned plea fall on deaf ears. Mirai is so unselfish, but the one thing he asks? No one cares. Mirai is trying to state his case, the only way he knows how, and get trampled upon by his teammates' indifference, and in Ryuu's case, downright callousness.

The saddest thing of all this is Ryuu is right. Mebius does not understand humans, and, however much he tries (which he does) would never be able to do so completely. (If he does, he would realize why they were angry without being told. He certainly would not confront them that way and make the matter worse.) Yeah, I know the episode makes things all right at the end, but I'm sure ongoing conflicts between humans and Mebius are not something kids signed on to see. Besides, what kind of message would the heroes fighting among themselves send to impressionable children?

I can see where Ryuu and co. are coming from, and I actually agree with them, to an extent. But they have no need to be cruel to Mirai. What they are doing to him is like kicking an innocent puppy, for goodness's sake! I would probably have an easier time if this happens very early on in the series, where they don't know him yet, where they are not familiar with his charming eccentricity, his naivete. And I just trapped myself with that sentence. A counter argument could be made too that since he has known his teammates for a while, Mirai should have known better than to leave them out of the decision making, to take things into his own hands. (And Mirai? Can't you ever decide whether you are alone or not? I think you keep saying on and off for a while that you are not alone.)

In case the above few paragraphs are clear as mud, Mebius, upon seeing Ohshima Comet II (see episode 16 for Ohshima Comet I), apparently decides he is the only person who can destroy it (since Hikari has left earth at the end of episode 17), so he sets out doing exactly just that, unknowingly displacing Ryuu and George, who plan to shoot the comet themselves. Mirai excitingly coming back to announce that fact doesn't improve their mood. Ryuu says despite everything (presumably that Mebius has fought along side GUYS in the past), at the end of the day, Mebius is an alien, who doesn't know anything about humans and seems to dismiss their feelings/concerns. That kind of (insensitive/superior/or fill in another disparaging adjective here) person is not GUYS' comrade, according to Ryuu. Marina and George try to calm Ryuu down, and the three of them leave for the cafeteria.

To say those verbal blows from Ryuu unsettle Mirai is probably an understatement. He must be very hurt that he's revealing things about himself (albeit in third person) he hasn't before. (Not that those things were secret to the viewers, but I don't imagine an alien like Mebius is exactly letting humans getting close to him. Doing so is just not very conducive to keeping his secret. His differences are bound to come out if he is not careful.) Oh, yes, Mirai is essentially saying he (Mebius) is risking his life fighting along side GUYS. So Ryuu better takes back that accusation about Mebius not being their comrade. Ryuu shots back that Mirai is annoying (for pressing him with the unpleasant subject, I suppose), and that he cannot forgive Mebius for that (not really imagined) slight of looking down on humans.

(You know something, Ryuu? I like that Mebius takes care of the comet fragment. Maybe I'm naive, but I don't believe the fact that Mebius does something serves to undermine your ability to do the same thing in any way. In fact, I think you're lucky. After all, free labor is usually hard to find. And would you rather keep your pride and lose everyone you care about, or loosen up and accept help when given? Not everyone has a hidden agenda, you know.)

I'm rather amused that Teppei reacts exactly as I've always imagined him in this sort of situation. Teppei seems pretty much like a follower of rules, and that probably include unwritten rules about seniority and such. He seems torn in the hallway scene, like he wants to comfort Mirai, but dares not go against Ryuu, George, and Marina.

So the thoroughly dejected Mirai returns to the control room, where the mismatched (non)comic relief twin are trying to find a way to cheer him up, but not having divine power to know the not!funny duo's impending plan, (or perhaps he does know), Sakomizu steps in and talks to Mirai. He explains to the bewildered alien that trust is fragile. It could easily be destroyed, but difficult to earn. As usual, I enjoy hearing the captain's pearl of wisdom, even though I don't think Mirai gets the message the captain is trying to tell him yet (mostly because he looks so confused, but also because we are not even halfway through the episode at that point). Anyway, Sakomizu apparently realizes he has been too oblique, so a demonstration is in order. Which is how Mirai and Konomi (who was having (hopefully) delicious cakes when the captain told her to accompany Mirai) end up at the pre-school in which Konomi was working before joining GUYS.

I admit, I enjoy seeing Mirai interact with little kids. He has the same, non-hardened attitude/outlook as most of the kids, so I kind of think he would be a natural, since he is essentially one of them. And this is something I didn't pick up in previous viewings, but Mirai's well-intentioned interference in helping that little boy trying to dance/clap sort of backfires because, according to Konomi, Mirai is putting pressure, albeit unintentionally, on the little boy to learn. Since his...er...deficiency (I couldn't find a better word, sorry) is pointed out, now the little boy is worried that he has to catch up with his classmates, so he panics, causing his learning to not progress as it should had Mirai left him alone. Konomi goes on to observe that Mebius is probably in the same situation as that little boy. She believes perhaps there is some great pressure on Mebius, so he panics, and apparently forget that he has GUYS on his side too. (I would say Konomi is braver than Teppei in daring to take the opposite side from Ryuu and co., but she doesn't take sides when/where they can see her, so I don't know.)

(Mirai remarking about the two little kids making up easily after a quarrel reminds me of the previous occasion in episode 15, where he seems perplexed as to why Ryuu and Araiso still has their squabble at the end of the episode. Which leads me to wonder if the Ultras never have a good-natured fight or otherwise not serious fight among friends/comrades? Or is this something only Mebius, among other Ultras who have come to earth, has no clue about?)

Oh, Bemstar shows up. It originally comes on the dust tail of the now non-existent comet fragment. I agree with Ryuu, this monster is kind of cute. However, it's not so cute when it catches and attempts to eat the GunLoader, with Marina stuck inside. Mebius saves her, of course.

(Personally, I've never thought of Marina as being reckless, so I suppose that scene was put in purely to have her, Ryuu and George back in charity with Mebius again. It works, so I'm not complaining, but the scene would probably be more powerful if Ryuu were the one who was caught by Bemstar, though I think I know the reason they couldn't use him or George.)

I love the introduction of Mebius Brave form. The form apparently impresses GUYS, too. Teppei lamenting that he's failed again never fails to make me laugh. (Teppei amuses me far too much, I think.) Ryuu pretending to not know anything about "disowning" Mebius put me back in charity with him again.

In short, this episode is just so awesome, although I fear I may be the only person to think so. (My preferences usually differ from others' ^^;;) I also didn't intend for this review to be long, although, as it is, I'm quite sure I still have left something out...
Mirai & Ryuu
27th-Dec-2007 02:29 am (UTC)
Wow, that is a lot. I think you're far more generous than me so I haven't reviewed the episode. I agree that Teppei is amusing. :D Your agreement that Mebius is, in the end, an alien just as Ryuu says, well, I can't resist commenting on it. We're all aliens to one another. How can we say we understand another human? Maybe to some degree but it can't be a universal thing. I, for one, don't understand Ryuu at all and why he's a jerk. Actually, I write it off as that's just how he is so maybe that counts as understanding. I've always been fond of his Mebius Brave form. I think it's my favorite. Poor puppy. *pets Mirai*
27th-Dec-2007 04:34 am (UTC)
Oh, it's okay. Personally, I welcome and enjoy reading different opinions from mine. Also, I know not everyone likes this episode. Looking at it without bias, I can see a few little things that might make this episode kind of tedious. But I find all those things fascinating because I'm just weird like that. :)

Ha ha, of course you are right. Even humans themselves can't hope to completely understand other humans. But I wanted to make a case that Mebius is an alien, so putting that information about humans in would only make me contradict myself. ^^;;
27th-Dec-2007 08:11 am (UTC)
Mebius is a cute alien. *nod nod* And like you said, such an eager and earnest little alien he is. It's not that the episode is tedious as much as it reveals a different side of the characters that I don't like. In other words, I don't know how you can forgive Ryuu so easily, but that really is just me. And I wouldn't've thought to put it the way you did, but yeah, free labor is darn hard to find. Hm, no, I suppose it really is Ryuu that bugs me.
27th-Dec-2007 09:37 am (UTC)
It's not that the episode is tedious as much as it reveals a different side of the characters that I don't like.

Oh, that. I totally agree with you. I don't much care for the not so pleasant side these characters are displaying either, especially when done at Mirai's expense. That's mostly the reason I think the placement of this episode is out of order. It should have taken place very near the beginning of the series, where the characters don't yet know or care who their teammates are other than the same people they always see and work with in the control room. As it is, the discord in this episode seems to suggest that the series either forgets or disregards the fact that these people has been together for a while, that they seem to have already formed a bond prior to this episode.

As for me being able to forgive Ryuu easily, that's probably me being biased, since I don't dislike him. (Not that his stubbornness doesn't also bother me in some other episodes.) To be somewhat unbiased, Ryuu is a pretty straight-forward character. He says what he thinks and, as far as he is concerned, the consequences can take care of themselves. It's not that he is insensitive as much as he seems to have forgotten that he has offended someone (an occasion which occurs quite often, by the way). He gets away with his somewhat selfish behavior most of the time because no one (other than George and sometimes Marina?) calls him on it, whether out of fear/respect or out of desire not to make trouble I cannot tell. Deep down, I realize Ryuu is not a bad person. He just doesn't seem to have much of people skills, so his character comes out rough and brusque. With the rising popularity of backstabbing characters (and no, I don't mean the villains) in other shows nowadays, I find Ryuu's honest, what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach rather refreshing.

(Of course, at the end of the day, this is just my own interpretation of Ryuu's character, so I might be seeing something that is not there and/or not seeing something that is there.)
27th-Dec-2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
You might be right about the order of the episode. They might've written it as an early episode, then someone said, hey, maybe he should feel the pressure when Hikari leaves without paying attention to the fact that he was already originally the only Ultraman on earth to his knowledge.

I do agree with what you say about Ryuu. I don't think you're missing anything. It is very much him. I suppose it probably is because Mirai is so forgiving that he doesn't go after a full-fledge apology, which only leads to Ryuu acting more like that because he knows Mirai's a puppy who won't fight back. Oh yes, and I agree with the straight-forward, honest, I'm sick of these sneaky backstabbing people who are not evil and not good but just has a tragic past. -_-
31st-Dec-2007 05:39 am (UTC)
He gets away with his somewhat selfish behavior most of the time because no one (other than George and sometimes Marina?) calls him on it,

Mirai will call him on it sometimes. Sakomizu also does, in his own way.

Ep. 18 is actually one of my favorites, so you've at least got me for company on liking it. :) I'm going to try and get around to posting my own thoughts on it in a separate entry. Though I suspect no one will really like my thoughts on it... :P

Mmm... I disagree with you on the placement and that everyone should be more amicable since they've been working together... It was only a couple of episodes back that George was pissing off Teppei over telling his mother about Teppei being in GUYS. And next episode everyone gets pissed off at George. (Yes, even Mirai gets fussed at him.) So they still are having issues getting along. Just IMHO.
31st-Dec-2007 09:01 am (UTC)
Mirai will call him on it sometimes. Sakomizu also does, in his own way.

You're right, of course. As far as I remember, Mirai does that in episode 11, Sakomizu in episode 9.

I probably am going to enjoy reading your thoughts on episode 18. :) In fact, I would to like to read them even if you don't like the episode. Different opinions open my mind to new ways of looking at the same things.

Actually, I do agree with you in part. It's true that these people are still for the most part strangers to one another, and I'm under no illusion that they are the best of friends at this point in the series. Only that I have this cut-and-dry (stubborn?) reasoning that they should not for one episode get along, then fight in the next episode, and then seem to like one another again one episode later, especially when these episodes seem to standalone most of the time, so there isn't even some explanation as to the possible reason for their different behaviors across the episodes. Since I feel there are more episodes where the characters are comfortable with one another than not, their discords in those few episodes seem to have come out of nowhere. Of course, their disagreements do come from somewhere (distrust, non-familiarity, etc.), but it all comes down to me preferring "uneasy" episodes to be placed more near the beginning of the series than rather randomly (IMHO) in their current placements.

Sorry, but I honestly don't remember why they are all upset at George in episode 15. I'm not disagreeing with your example (it's just so very like George to piss everyone off at some point), but I'm really drawing a blank here as to when that happens.
9th-Jan-2008 10:49 am (UTC) - Ultras do get into fights
There was the ULTRA RUMBLE episode of ULTRAMAN LEO. A seijin disguised as Astra steals the Ultra Key. Leo defends Astra. Dan and Gen get into a fist fight over it. Ultras do get into fights!!!!
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