Week six and I’m starting to wonder if this lot will ever actually do any space fishing. On the plus side the show finally broke free from the Namino black hole; she only half started a fight this time!
The episode also featured a series first; a problem being solved in a quick and sensible manner. After hinting at it since the beach episode the show finally brought up Maiko’s inability to wear swimsuits after a childhood accident. Based on previous experience this looked like the hook for the entire episode. Instead it was raised and dealt with inside of a minute, with the sensible suggestion that she just wear a wetsuit instead. This does raise the question of why they’re wearing swimsuits in the first place though, as opposed to say, the space fishing outfits used in the first two episodes. Y’know, the ones it would make sense to wear while training in the space fishing mechs. Once again it feels like an intersection of the premise not being particularly well thought through and sheer thirst from someone on the staff.
With the obvious plot point already resolved the episode instead moved on to hurriedly fleshing out Maiko as a character after spending the first five eps treating her as essentially a piece of furniture with a funny accent. This mostly took the form of other characters telling each other things that they already knew about her which the show had completely failed to mention up to this point. “Maiko goes up to the mountains to sing” feels a bit out of left field when she’s at no point a) done this or b) given any indication that she likes singing. The mountain climbing feels particularly egregious when the core conflict of the episode (instigated, naturally, by Namino) was sparked by Maiko’s lack of athletic ability. Which makes “frequently trecks up a mountain” hard to square.
This hurried attempt at character building also brings with it some clumsily delivered backstory as various characters talk at each other about Maiko’s previously unmentioned brother who went missing in a previously unmentioned space fishing accident. They’re all weirdly willing to gossip about it with each other too, despite stonewalling Maiko when she asks about it.
Ultimately after a brief existential crisis she decides, with the help of some guy who runs a coffee shop coincidentally named for a book she likes and who seems to be there specifically to dispense life advice to teenagers having existential crises she reaffirms her commitment to space fishing. And then everybody randomly gets over the whole athletic ability thing (why was it that big a deal if it apparently doesn’t matter)? Then they all paint their mechs, which turns out to be another excuse for the camera to leer at everyone in swimsuits again.
While not the worst episode so far this one definitely felt like a rushed attempt to characterise a character the show has been summarily ignoring for the past five weeks and it comes across as incredibly clumsy as a result. But hey, at least we’re out of the Namino death spiral.