gallifreyians: (Ohh shucks, I had a picspam in the making that was 90% similar to Natasha’s.)
This episode picks up straight after the previous one ends and thus kicks off with Lan and Muginami’s fight. Unfortunately, woefully, Muginami’s decision to get back to her brother and to go after Madoka is not explained beyond her wanting to keep Madoka out of the Le Garite-De Metrio war, but Madoka is put in contact with her comrades thoughts via their Voxes’ and realizes that neither of them want to fight. Before Madoka is able to put this information into action, however, Le Garite’s spec-ops mecha come and force Muginami to run and hide. After seeing Muginami depart, Lan takes that as her que to leave as well, and with both of her friends gone (yet again) Madoka loses complete control of Midori and plummets into the ocean. I would like to specifically highlight that moment: echoing the events from last year, when Madoka loses her friends, she loses the ability to pilot Vox Aura completely. It’s as if Madoka has so quickly and so easily fallen back into a depression.
Yet that is clearly not the case, as Madoka is still left with her characteristic indomitable spirit from last season that makes her so damned endearing. Madoka’s immediate assumption about what happened to her friends is the most optimistic thing possible, that they’ve gone home to Kamogawa and their rooms in the Kyono residence. Yet even when it proves that this is not the case, Madoka goes to plan B and has Izo send an open channel from his Ovid (which Villagulio intercepts) in which she inquires the entire galaxy as to where her friends are. Even when that fails, Madoka is undaunted; she swims back to Kamogawa from Pharos on a hunch to where her friends are.
The indomitable spirit that Madoka has is wonderful because of how atypical it is. She is not an idiot with her head naively in the clouds; Madoka is a little girl trying to desperately cling to an optimistic worldview, trying to delude herself into thinking that people in this world are all wonderful human beings. Madoka is only trying to convince herself that her friends are wonderful girls who would never leave her alone because of their own convictions, and on some level she needs to believe that, even if it isn’t true. The thing that struck me about the pilot and made this show really stand out to me was how it could take a serious look at the theme of friendship and Madoka’s overtly-optimistic worldview, and while that may not have carried through to the rest of the first season I am glad to see it making a comeback this time around.
illegenes: (My photoshop does it better, Steven :D) We’re back to the Jersey team as Madoka sets out to reunite with her
lesbian companions and tries to figure out why they’re fighting in the first place. Why, don’t you know Madoka? They’re fighting over you! It doesn’t seem to sink in so well as Madoka’s optimism once again saves the day as she successfully brings hope back into the team.
I do want to point out a lovely thing this episode showed about Madoka’s character. Whereas we could argue that Madoka is in essence, the gender swap of a typical male protagonist- slightly hotheaded, over optimistic to the point where it blatantly gets in the way of most plans, I think Rinne no Lagrange optimizes its time to show that Madoka isn’t just a stereotype. The certain scene where Madoka loses control of her Vox after panicking about Lan and Muginami, or especially the scene where she opens the door, cheerfully calling out the names of her companions show that Madoka is at heart, a very insecure individual. It’s not that she wants her friends back together- she needs them back, because she literally can’t function as a whole without them. Madoka’s optimism is rooted in the people she interacts with and cares about. Why else would she swim all the way back to the shore to go to the school where her best friends were at? It’s a desire but also a necessity.
In that case, we could also say that “Using friends as your power” is a typical statement we find in most shounen shows today, but Rinne no Lagrange is anything but shounen. The fanservice doesn’t seem misplaced most of the time, and often serves a purpose to develop the relationship of the trio, as seen in the first season. Even the scene where Muginami makes Lan and Madoka kiss each other as Madoka makes Lan and Muginami kiss each other – a scene that no doubt, would feel awfully ridiculous and out of place in most shows- works well into Rinne’s core. It’s cute, it’s a bit silly, but it doesn’t feel so awry to the point where I’m asking myself if this show can take itself seriously or not. (Which, the answer is, yes it can.) Madoka’s connection with Lan and Muginami, so well developed in the first season, really bears fruit in the second so far when Madoka is able to find Lan and Muginami at the school because she knows them so well. Not only that, but she’s able to make amends when she simply says, “If anyone can do it, it’s the three of us.” And that is all Lan and Muginami need to hear. Our Jersey Club is fully back together, and now, it’s time to sort ties out not with two aliens, but with two alien races outside the earth. Can our trio handle the pressure, with their brothers fighting behind their backs? I choose to believe Madoka for one thing, but we’ll just have to see how it really works out….