Notes from “The Fifth Element”

One of the first movies I ever saw as a child must have been the Fifth Element. I say it like that, cause I’m not sure myself, my childhood memories are few and in between, and as a result, I get glimpses and images of what I was like during my formative years, at least the first seven years. The Fifth Element is one of those movies we all see as children, and sometimes we immediately get it, and sometimes we don’t. I know plenty of people that never saw it as children and it blows me away to this day.

I know that there’s probably no reason to recap this movie, so I won’t be doing that. The plot is pretty straightforward, with a Great Evil showing up, and the humans using a weapon to defeat said Evil. Prophecies and mysteries aside, there’s not much mystery and intrigue to it at all, it’s a standard action film that suffers from a few flaws. Bruce Willis plays a cabbie in a futuristic New York city by the name or Korben Dallas. Milla Jovovich is Leeloo, the Supreme Being, a perfect woman. She is referred to by many characters in the film as the Fifth Element.

A few thoughts…

  • Aziz, light!
  • The opening scene with the aliens and the ancient temple in Egypt really blew me away as a teen and learning that the movie was written by Luc Besson when he was in high school pushed me towards writing in the first place
  • The music, one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard
  • The city of New York in the future is burned into my mind forever, and I’ve yet to see a more bold depiction of the future
  • Rebuilding Leeloo was poetry in motion…
  • What was the Great Evil and why?
  • Jean Bauptiste-Emanuelle Zorg…
  • The ZF-1…
  •  Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod is still Chris Tucker’s best performance ever and I think he knows it
  • The divine language was an actual language that Milla and Luc developed and spoke on the set, it had about 500 words and was fully formed, to a certain extent.
  • Fhloston Paradise sounds awesome, and I totally want to go to there…
  • The Diva…
  • Love was the Fifth Element and I didn’t realize that until a few months back

While I have thoroughly enjoyed this movie the majority of my life, there has always been questions, and for the most part, I’ve simply ignored them and taking the movie at face value for what it is, cause after all, it’s just a movie. Recently, I was reading a list of incompetent bad guys and Zorg’s name was on the list for reasons that were very hard to disparage. It was that list and subsequent arguments that followed that got me thinking about the Fifth Element all over again.

While I know that I mostly write about anime, sometimes it’s nice to stray a little from the established norm and talk about something else, and movies are a universal topic that we all like to discuss from time to time, so while I won’t be posting a lot of movie posts, you will see some from time to time.

The first question we debated for a good while was a simple one, and it’s one we never really seem to think about, but it’s actually kinda important,

Just what exactly was Zorg’s plan and how was he going to get paid?

For the majority of the film, we see Zorg’s intentions are to acquire the stones so he can deliver them to Mr.Shadow. We see his only interaction with Mr.Shadow through a phone call, and the results that followed (was that blood, was it sweat, what the heck was it?). As far as the story is concerned, Zorg is a businessman and he does the majority of his business at the expense of others. We can clearly see that after his long soliloquy about death and destruction and how it benefits mankind. Another thing, when he is talking with Mr.Shadow on the phone, he talks about how his costs have tripled.

Clearly, he’s doing it for the money.

Did he think he was helping a tyrant or a terrorist or just another shady businessman like himself?

One can make the argument that Zorg had no idea who he was really interacting with, only that he was a person of high influence and great wealth, but I’ve never really bought that argument and here’s why.

Why the nerves? Why the tension?

Zorg isn’t a man who’s intimidated easily, and we see that very clearly.

The mangalores.

The scene where we see Zorg interact with the mangalores and deliver the ZF-1 comes to play, cause we can see just what kind of man he really is. He can really sell a pitch when he wants to, he can be persuasive, he’s just a force to be reckoned with, and he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He’s in a room full of mangalores, who are quick tempered and not restricted to any moral code, though they do have honor.

Despite this, he becomes incensed when he finds out that the mangalores have failed to retrieve the stones. He immediately cancels the order and prepares to take his crates of guns back. The mangalores threaten him, but he does not bend, and is only convinced to leave them one crate when they persuade him to change his mind. It’s a small scene, and while the focus is on the ZF-1, I think it was meant to say a lot about who Zorg was. Zorg is supposed to be a badass, a legitimate bad guy who’s good with his mind, not with his fist. It’s inconceivable to me to think that Zorg could be intimidated by a man, when he didn’t even blink in the face of the managalores who were scary, so, if it wasn’t intimadation, what was it.

I’ve heard some people say that maybe he was being controlled by the Great Evil, and didn’t really know what was going on.

I don’t think that was the case, and I’ve already stated why, but I do feel the need to include that possibility as it is widely believed.

Has Leeloo always been the Fifth Element?

I would always ask myself this cause it doesn’t make any sense. If the “Supreme Being” was created, why just make one? Especially when you need her to fall in love?

We see when the Mondoshawans’ ship crashes, that a portion of her is recovered. A portion of her, and it’s not even her head, it’s a part of her hand. However, that is enough to recreate her, and her memories seem to be embedded in her genes, and not her brain. Still, she was recreated, and so, if at that point, humans could do that, what’s to stop her creators, who must have been technologically advanced, to make more? I don’t know if this has been touched anywhere when discussing the lore, but I think it’s important because it’s directly connected to my next question,

What happens to the Supreme Being after she has fulfilled her purpose?

We know that Love is the true fifth element in life. It wasn’t Leeloo, and we know that for a fact. She was there, with the stones in place, and the weapon wasn’t activated until she had a reason to.

Love was the reason.

With the Great Evil destroyed, and jubilations from everyone, we see our heroes “resting”.

End of film, and while OK, that’s an ending, it’s not an ending to the story, as the question that I immediately asked, and I did so out loud was, what happens next?

Does she stay with Korben, or does she go back into stasis? Who makes that decision? The priest? At the end of the day, it’s not important, because the story for us ends right here, but it’s important in that world, cause if she doesn’t go back into stasis, does that mean they’ll need a new Supreme Being for the next time? Who knows?

That’s the fun of watching movies, we can speculate, we can take scenarios, settings, themes, we can explore and extrapolate all we want, and the Fifth Element is one of those movies for me.

So, what do you guys think? Let me know in the comments or send me a message.

 

 

 

Kiss Him, Not Me: The first 6 episodes…

This was unexpected.

This was sudden, and with no warning, and for the first 2 episodes, I gotta say, I felt a little odd. I can’t really remember what compelled me to watch this anime, other than, a weird sense of curiosity, cause it’s not really something that calls out to me on a regular basis. I have so many animes on my backlog that it’s not even funny, and yet, I put on the first episode, if only to give it a chance and then remove it from my queue.

Obviously, that didn’t happen, and I’m kinda glad.

This is not the first time this has happened. Recently, I watched a great anime called Monthy Girls Nozaki-kun, and it was pretty much the same thing, though I’ll save that for another post in the near future.

Kiss Him, Not Me so far has been interesting, well made, and little silly, well OK, not a little bit, but all in good fun. To recap, it’s about Kae Serinuma and how she’s a fujoshi. We quickly see just exactly that means, and it’s an interesting premise just right there. When one of her favorite anime character dies in a series, she sinks into a deep depression ( I get super upset myself but to each his own) and locks herself in her room for a week. When she comes out, she discovers she’s lost a lot of weight and is now quite attractive.

She’s not just quite attractive, she’s a stunning beauty, and quickly catches the eye of 4 of the most popular boys in the school, hence the title. While she’s busy imagining the boys kissing one another, they’re all just interested in her.

A few thoughts

  • I always heard that being an “otaku” in Japan is a bit of a turn-off and is somewhat shameful, but I always thought that was a thing of the past, the fact that it plays a major role in the anime was surprising to me
  • On that note, who cares what she likes, she’s hot… at least that’s their mentality for the first half so far
  • Buying manga is still a brick and mortar thing in Japan and they make various big events doing this, having seen this in other animes as well, my question, why Japan? Why? At least that’s what I thought until I made the connection that, it’s how small creators get started…
  • That reference episode is on point, and it made my day
  • Nishina is this anime’s Ami, and I’ll explain myself in just a moment.
  • So far through 6 episodes, I’ve laughed and thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the fact that it’s a shojo anime, and I don’t care.

Episode 3 has the school go through the classic “culture festival” arc that a lot of animes do, and while most are very long, this one only lasts one episode, and to me, that’s a shame, cause there was lots that could have been done with it.

Kae begins to drool at the prospect of seeing the boys in their outfits after the class agrees to a cosplay cafe. She dresses them up in various anime outfits, and hijinks ensue. There are lots of references to other animes throughout the anime, and to me, it was the highlight of the series so far, or so I thought

Episode 4 has them attending a convention during their Christmas break so that Kae can buy new books from established and rising authors. There she runs into Shima Nishina, who she mistakes as boy cause, c’mon, she looks like a boy. She saves Kae from a rude photographer and later, through amazing coincidence (not really, she’s a major character, she’s in the intro) it’s revealed that they all attend the same school. She later takes Kae and the boys to her home where we see she comes from an influential family and that it’s caused problems for her in the past. She’s a writer of BL content herself and that’s how she became aware of Kae, although she did all of this before Kae’s weight loss. It’s also revealed that she’s a major player for Kae’s affections, which effectively throws a wrench into the boy’s plans.

I said at the beginning that Nishina is this anime’s Ami, and I want to explain why.

I’m talking about Kawashima Ami, from Toradora.

  •       Both Ami and Nishina are introduced after the series and most of the major players are established.
  • Both characters are attracted to the MC, though Nishina is more straightforward about it.
  • Both characters are also quite intelligent, as they can see through everyone else’s intentions.
  • While their physical appearances differ, they both serve the same purpose and throw the established status quo out the window.

I’m sure there’s other similarities, but I’ll list them in my follow-up post…

Episodes 5 and 6 deal with Kae gaining weight and losing it back, and seeing the boy’s reactions to that. Again, lots I could say about these two episodes but I’ll keep it a brief for now, and say that I’m glad they addressed the elephant in the room, and I dig how straight forward Nishina and Igarashi were in this episode. I like little moments like that, they make the series a bit grounded, and give us a glimpse that they’re thinking the same things we’re thinking. Also the shipping war… I didn’t know that was a thing in shipping… guess I’m getting old

OK, so this wasn’t as short as I wanted it to be, so maybe my follow-up post will be, I hope, I really hope the next 6 episodes are on point, and the pacing remains constant.

We’ll see…

 

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

“It made me feel…”

That’s the first thing I said out loud as I watched this movie, and before I get any further, I have to say this, because it’s something that in my mind, I feel ashamed of, but I’m now in the process of correcting

I didn’t grow up with Miyazaki films, and up to recently, I’ve never really paid much attention to them.

I didn’t think they were bad, nor did I think they were boring. I think it was just the question of the backlog. We all hate that word.

Backlog.

We hate it because we have it, it’s there and it haunts us, but there’s nothing we can do about it. I joke around that the only way I can get rid of my backlog is if I had more screens in my life, and I’ve even considered it but decided against it.

I can’t really say what made watch Nausicaa, only that I made a firm decision to do so. I went out and got a copy (I’ll be picking up the Blu-ray soon enough), and saw the dub, which was done fine in my opinion, but maybe I should see the dub first, maybe, I’m still debating that. Continue reading

First Impressions: Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom or as I’ll refer to it from now on, AC, is one of those animes that everyone recommends and most of us watch if only to judge for yourself whether it’s good or not.

Lately, I’ve been in a rut, that particular rut lasted over two months, hence my absence for the last couple of months from the blog. It’s not that I’ve lost my zeal for writing or for anime, but for some reason, I needed a break.

I needed some time to re-evaluate myself, see where I wanted to go and how I was gonna get there, writing wise. I was suffering from writer’s block on all fronts, and it was starting to drive me crazy. It was the lack of a comfortable writing environment that was doing it and I had known for quite a while, but I finally took the plunge and splurged on a desk that was more my speed. It immediately did it for me, and now I’m just flowing with ideas…

Having said that, I jumped in and saw the first 2 episodes of AC…

So a few thoughts…

  • There’s no way you can judge a series as complex as AC after having only seen 2 episodes, so there’s no way I’m gonna do that
  • Having said that, I got a weird vibe out of it, like, I don’t know, right from the get-go, it was trying too hard, does that make sense? Hell no, and I know it
  • Koro-sensei is a good character and from the get-go I know I’m in for a treat, will stray from spoilers until I can see the whole series
  • Nagisa looks like a girl, and I was lost for the first 2 episodes, even though he was wearing pants lol…
  • Why would the Japanese government agree to such ridiculous terms?
  • Why did he blow up the moon?
  • Right from the first episode we’re getting flashbacks to an important event, an event I hope gets resolved
  • How do they know how to kill him?

You can see, as soon as I started watching the series, me and my idiot brain started asking dumb questions, you know, the questions that don’t make no sense. I usually over-analyze shows and movies after I watch them and I process them for a bit, so doing that right from the beginning is a red-flag for me.

I usually over-analyze shows and movies after I watch them and I process them for a bit, so doing that right from the beginning is a red-flag for me. Don’t want to do that, I want to watch the show and keep an open mind, cause right away there are things I like.

A large cast of characters, well developed, and decent themes that one can identify with is usually the sign of a great series, and I’m really hoping that’s the case with this series.

The disconnect between the admiration the characters feel for Koro-sensei and the fact that they have to kill him is real, and it’s a nice conflict I hope they put more work into…

I’ll give this series a shot, as I like to follow through on what I start, even when I watch the bad ones, and I’ve seen plenty of bad series along the way, I want to write about those as well at some point, so I’m hoping that AC doesn’t turn out that way, fingers crossed…

After I finish watching the series, I’ll revisit this post and go over some of the points I originally posted, I’ll highlight where I was wrong and where I was way off, seeing as how this anime was recommended by Kotaku, I have high expectations…

Those of you who already watched the series, let me know what you think, hit me up in the comment section, let’s talk for a bit…

 

Aeris and the Highwind

aeris-and-the-highwindDo you remember this scene? I do…

I remember buying this game when I was about 15 years old, by then, it was an old game, FFX had just come out and that’s what we were excited to play, but I wanted to make this purchase at that moment. I knew it was a moment that was gonna go by, and I’d regret it had I not done so, but I did.

I remember opening it, seeing the three CDs, leafing through the booklet, and seeing this image.

I had already played through a great deal of the game, and so I was very familiar with the story, setting, characters, gameplay, I even knew what became of Aeris, cause my idiot friend decided to spoil it for me the first time he showed it to. I have to say this, cause I’m ashamed of it, but it’s true.

I didn’t feel anything for Aeris… not at first…

I played the game on my own for a long time after that, and it was only when I made the journey myself that I realized what an adventure it truly was, it actually started my lifelong affair with RPGs, a love that exists to this very days, but I digress…

FFVII was a tremendous experience, and I’m not gonna spill anymore words on that subject. I couldn’t do the game justice by reviewing it when so many people have done so already, but I always remembered this scene. It never left me, and to this day, I don’t know why.

Don’t know why…

I guess it was because she never did see it. This never happened in the game.

Perhaps my memory fails me, but by the time you meet Cid, she’s long gone. Pretty sure she dies in Disk 1.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what I remember.

I always got the impression that Cloud loved her, and that he didn’t know what he truly felt for Tifa, and that also made me sad. At the time, I was not aware of the whole “childhood friend” trope at the time, so, in my innocent naive mind, I thought this was unfair.

Unfair… boy, I was in for a world of hurt…

When I saw Advent Children later on, I was convinced of the same thing.

Cloud loved Aeris, but more importantly, he blamed himself for her death. While all the action sequences were great, and seeing our heroes again was quite the treat, in my opinion, the best part of the movie, of the story, was seeing that journey, seeing him grow, and forgive himself for that.

Aeris didn’t hold him responsible, and the fact that he was finally convinced of that is what let him continue his journey. I know that the movie wasn’t that popular, but it did close the book on Cloud quite well, and Aeris was again, a big part of that.

I know a lot of people were convinced for a good while that it was possible to bring her back, in some way, shape or form. I was…, eventually, I was convinced of why they did it, and what it did for the story and to this day, I think it’s genius…

They got us to feel for a fictional character, and while that’s not necessarily new in fiction, (some of the best fiction ever written does exactly this…) doing so in a videogame was virtually unheard of at the time, especially a game where the characters didn’t talk. You were still able to make a long, lasting bond with these characters. You got to know them and losing them hurt in a new way you weren’t expecting

I wish she had seen it though, to this day, I do…

Not an Angel and stories to tell: The Music of Trigun

Music has such an effect on our lives. We don’t strive for it to affect us like it does, but that’s the end result just the same. We listen to it so we can enjoy it, so we can relax, unwind.

That’s the effect some music has on us, other tracks push us in the opposite direction. They inspire us, fill us with joy, love and understanding. The right song can lift the spirits and help you charge into battle.

The right song can push you to the deepest pits of human despair.

Music is amazing, for what it does to us in the present, but what it does after it lingers is even better.

I’m sure it’s happened to you that, when you listen to a song or a track, it immediately takes you to the past, and you remember what you were doing, and why you were doing it.

You remember the good, being happy and you remember the bad, the lingering sadness that you only realize was there in hindsight.

We all have our favorite songs and those songs take us to different places, different times and they remind us of who we were when we first heard it.

Trigun is one of those animes that stay with you, years after you watch it. Most of us watch the series as an introduction to the genre.

It’s my go-to for whenever I want someone to properly experience what the genre has to offer. The good, the bad and everything in between.

The swings in tone are drastic, but a lot of series are like that. Trigun does it well, helping to give its characters more than one dimension. Swinging the series from comedy to sci-fi, to drama and give it an ending that lasts, that stays with you.

Spoilers inbound, if you haven’t seen the series by now, shame on you ( lol jk), go watch it, it’s on Hulu, though I suggest the dub, not the sub.

Trust me, this is one of those exceptions to the rule, anyway, carrying on,

I’ve must have seen the series a good 4 times now in the last ten years. I know, not a lot of times compared to some of my other favorites, but it’s not for lack of joy. It’s not cause it’s aged badly.  It’s more because of what the series is tied to, for me.

Good times and bad.

I don’t mean to write a review of it right here. That will come later, when I can actually put down all those emotions into words. If I can find new things to say about something so beloved by so many, a modern classic in the genre, then I’ll write a review, if not, just take the word of anyone who’s seen it.

This is about the background music. Those tracks that set the tone and the mood of each episode.

In my last post, I wrote about Cowboy Bebop, and everyone raves about the music and how that helped give the show its voice, made it distinct and most importantly, it made the show memorable.

Trigun achieves this in a different manner.

Some tracks, like in most shows and movies, are linked directly to our characters.  Others are linked to events. Some are directly linked to ideas, moods and emotions.

A few years back, as I was watching the series again for the 3rd or 4th time ( I lose track with my favorite series, I like to watch them, examine them, deconstruct them, and look for things I missed), what stuck with me on this particular screening was the music this time.

Not an Angel is a track that plays often during those emotionally charged events that take place during the series. Forgive my hazy memory, but it mostly plays during the second half of the series, when the jokes are mostly gone, and we’re more focused on Vash’s story and the conclusion he has to reach about his philosophies.

The part that stays with me the most is when he tracks down  Rem’s last living relative, only to find him dead at the hands of Knives. It’s supposed to be a “heavy” scene, showing us the different between the two brothers and how they see life.  I can’t say I appreciated it the way I should have when I saw it originally. I was more in shock, almost upset at how the series had made a complete 180… I didn’t see the genius behind it until much later.

The music stayed with me though.

T0 this day, when I hear that track, I’m reminded of how special that series was to me at the time. How tender those memories are. I constantly think about Vash and about what he wanted, and how life showed him it was unrealistic to think that way. I like the clash between how soft and tender the track, and how it was used in the series to show his delicate side, his hidden side.

Even the characters in the show couldn’t believe that this was the real Vash, and why should they?

The show does a really good job of hiding who he really is, every once in a while you can see the reality of it, at least during the first half, and it’s only during the second half that you really learn the truth.

It takes time to appreciate it. I’ve said that before and I believe it.

Some series have gone this route and fail dramatically. One comes to mind but I won’t be writing about this series just yet. I need to give that one a little time.

As for Stories to Tell, oh man… that song…

It was used to represent hope. Peace. The chance to do something good in this world. Vash and co. faced the same problems we do. Every day we have that opportunity and it’s up to us to take it You see the beauty of Trigun? How it can fool us into thinking it was just a simple story when it reality, it was deep, it was full of meaning and it asks questions that we should be always asking ourselves.

What our motives are… What we want out of life, and what we’re doing to reach those goals?

The best place you can clearly hear this song is when Vash is staying in that town, in the first half of the series, before he gets on the sand steamer.

It’s where you see his views on love, life and how a man should define himself.

Hell, it used to be my alarm everyday, reminding me of the kind of person I ought to be.

I still hold myself to those ideals every day, or at least, I should…

It’s been more than ten years since I first saw Trigun, but I won’t ever forget the lessons it imprinted on me.

I always say you should watch it once during your formative years. It might give you an idea as to the kind of person you should want to be…

Does that make sense? I’m probably not making sense…

Trigun got to me, and thinking about it always fill me with nostalgia, joy and hope. Hope for a better future. That’s what Vash wanted…that’s what you want…

Right?

Toys in the Attic

When I first envisioned writing this blog, I knew that, one of the first things I wanted to write about was “Toys in the Attic”.

I’m not talking about the Aerosmith album (there’s nothing wrong with Aerosmith, and I like a few of their songs myself), I’m talking about Cowboy Bebop.  Episode 11 is entitled, “Toys in the Attic”, and it’s one of my favorites because it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the show.

Up to this point, most episodes revolve around a bounty, with our heroes trying (and failing for the most part) to cash in. While most shows follow story arcs that span several episodes, Cowboy Bebop hardly ever does this and instead is more episodic, with each episode telling a story that can stand on its own. When it was originally aired in Japan, this structure led to the show being shown out of order and cut in content, which led to its original failure and cancellation. Later on, when it was shown in its entirety and in order, it took off and became what we know and love today.

“Toys in the Attic” breaks this ‘bounty of the week’ structure with a bottle episode that works surprisingly well.

The episode starts with an unknown creature moving through a dark tunnel, with red streaks thrown in the background. Jet begins to narrate, explaining the fact that most of the time, when there are no jobs, they’re broke, and bored. Such is the beauty of being freelance, so the urges grow to make quick money. Spike is trying to cook, and Faye is conning Jet out of whatever he has left, having already lost a good amount of his possessions.

Ed is asleep, dreaming of food, while Spike has clearly overcooked whatever it was he was making.

“Humans were meant to work for their money, those who try to get rick quick or live at the expense of others all get divine retribution” says Jet.

He climbs into a dark room, looking for a blanket, but is summarily attacked by…something.

“Survival of the fittest is the law of the land, to fool and to be fooled is the reason we live. Don’t trust others” says Faye, her contribution to our lessons.

Spike chastises her for swindling Jet, though he’s not serious about any of it.

They quickly respond to an alarm set by Jet, though they find nothing, only a few rats running around the room.

Something is definitely watching them, that’s for sure, meanwhile, Jet is looking for some sort of medicine from Spike, though his non-traditional remedies are far from pleasant.

He drinks the disgusting concoction, and falls ill to the ground. A purple spot appearing on the back of his neck where he was bitten. A fever? Whatever it is now has them spooked. Spike investigates and theorizes it could be some sort of rat that was mutated while Ed says it’s a “mysterious space creature”.

Faye proceeds to go take a bath, and is also bitten by the “mysterious space creature”.

Spike has Ed try out their thermal equipment, and she runs off after Ein. Spike gets a glimpse of the creature but he is interrupted by Faye, who tells him she was bitten, and begins to worry she might die.

“I haven’t committed any major crimes” she says.

She passes out, and Spike sees the same purple spot on her leg.

Ed and Ein are walking around the ship, searching for the “mysterious space creature”.

“Lesson, lesson, if you see a stranger…follow him!” she says.

Ed and Ein get separated, while Spike searches for them. Ein is attacked by the creature, and Spike runs to the screams, only to find Ein down, same purple spot.

He spots creature in the distance with the thermal visor, he picks up Ein and runs away.

Now determined to track it down, Spike  dons his weapon, which include a net launcher, flame thrower, and motion sensor radar straight out of Aliens.  He programs the ship’s autopilot to go to Mars.

He battles the creature that relentlessly pursues him, and burns it to a crisp after cornering it.

He remembers the fridge, the lobster that he hid in there so no one would eat. He returns there and finds full of moss, mushrooms and fungus.

He goes to open the air lock and throw out the fridge, into the coldness of outer space, but the creature surprises him and bites him. The fridge is seen moving away from the ship, mimicking the end of Alien.

“Don’t leave things in the fridge, that is the lesson” he says.

The creature scampers, but is captured by the sleeping Ed, who eats it.

The ballad at the end is soothing, anti-climatic, and very much Cowboy Bebop.

One of the more interesting things about this particular episode is that we get a rare look at how our heroes spend their time off, though this is not by choice as most of the time when they’re not working , they’re starving, we see an intimate look at how they work, how they function, what drives them and what we can expect from them in the future. Despite the fact that the show is self-contained, and the creators wanted each episode to play out like a movie, we do see that each episode requires the previous one in order to make our characters grow.

Is this a failure on the creator’s original intent? Dunno.

I don’t want to start a mental discussion with myself on the subject cause it will probably drive me crazy, but if, if that was the case, then, the audience is the one that came out as winners here, and I want to explain why I think that’s the case.

A few years ago, I saw Eureka Seven, and while it’s definitely going to get it’s own category, posts, and tags, it was a beautiful and poignant story, to say the absolute least on the subject. A few years later, I saw the movie they produced.

I’m not gonna go on a rant about that movie.

That deserves its own post.

Do you see where I’m going with it though?

“Toys in the Attic” is the epitome of their failure to contain our characters to episodes, and instead, shows us who they are when they’re not out there, and thankfully, their personalities are pretty consistent with what we know and love about them. Faye is the trickster, always trying to get away with something, especially when it benefits her. Spike is Spike, and he exists simply to exists…(at some point, I’ll write whole posts about each of these characters, as it is one of my favorite series, but for now, this will do) Jet is the philosopher, and he believes his way, his method of doing things is something he has earned or deserves, whether it be from the good he has done or the bad he has done. Ed is Ed and what she says is a reflection of her age, curiosity.

The episode is also a great homage to the Alien franchise. The way the monster moves through the vents, the fact that it attacks the crew one by one, and even the end sequence where Spike decides to track it down and kill it, using the motion detection radar. It’s all references to Alien/Aliens. On this point, I have to admit, I didn’t make the connection originally, as I saw this episode first, before I really saw those movies. I’m sure there’s more references to it, that I’m missing.

While my only gripe is that we never see what it is, or how the whole thing is resolved, that’s pretty typical of Cowboy Bebop itself. The next episode is always a new adventure, with the events of the past mostly forgotten or ignored.

I wouldn’t use “Toys in the Attic” to introduce the series to someone new to it, let alone new to Anime as a whole. It’s so very different from the rest of the series that it wouldn’t do the show proper justice, still, it’s one of my favorite stand alone episodes of any anime.

Maybe you saw the anime as a kid, maybe it’s been awhile.

Revisit it.

Cowboy Bebop is the kind of anime that makes more sense the older you get.