Episode 3: Meeting of the Sleeping Souls (Actividad)
Copyright: © 1998 Genco-Radix/Kadokawa Shoten/TV Tokyo, © 2000 Pioneer LDC
Length: 25 minutes
Rating: NR/13 UP, Café rated for Mature Audiences
Format: DVD / VHS, Original Japanese Dialog / Subtitled / English Dub
Daimon Hiroshi is deeply troubled by the recent events, and by the lack of communications from Kyoji. Bothered by his friend's somewhat cavalier lack of concern, he decides to take a walk to clear his thoughts.
While leaving the area, Hiroshi runs into Rena, a fellow classmate who is also concerned with the disappearnce of Kyoji. When Rena discovers that Kyoji is still not home, Hiroshi decides to walk her home.
But the walk home is not uneventful -- the pair are set upon by a skateboarding gang looking for an easy target to abuse. Five-on-two while armed with various weapons gives the unscrupulous bunch an apparent advantage. But none of the people counted on the fortuitous return of Tate, who is able to channel the incredible powers of Iriatessei, the latent power of all living things. Nor did anyone count on Hiroshi also being a vessel for one of the lost souls of the Inca: Oreihon, the High Priest of Tawantinsuyu.
This is turning out to be quite a difficult series to watch, mostly because of the endless stream of coincidences and poorly conceived plot devices sprinkled throughout this episode.
To their credit, however, the writers have done some homework. One scene has the Atahualpa leading his troops into battle, riding a mount... but it's a llama; the Inca did not have horses. Another shows scrub and reeds surrounding Lake Titicaca. At an elevation of over 3800 metres, Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, and somewhat sparely vegitated. Much of the story's background is based on Inca history of the 1500's just before the arrival of the Spanish lead by Pizzaro. The Inca, perhaps the most powerful civilisation to ever emerge in the Peruvian/Bolivian Andes, was also one of the shortest lived powers in South America.
With all this rich history and research the writers had done, I it find most puzzling that the material doesn't flow better. Why bother making the setting in Japan, and then have to create a most unlikely series of coincidences to bring all these wandering souls together, in the bodies of friends and acquaintences? Why do characters only use their special powers when they're on their last legs, about to collapse from exhaustion? Admittedly, that would really shorten things, but it would at least give some semblence of credibility to the story.
Acting also took a bit of a downturn. Daimon Hiroshi (Tristin Fabriani) sounds bored and unconvincing in this chapter, and Rena (Sara Hennessy) sounds like she's being read from a script. But perhaps it's the dialog direction which bothered me the most; a conversation between Kyoji and Yuka on the shores of Lake Titicaca went through various emotional states, for no apparent reason whatsoever.
The plot does set up the relationships between the various players, both past and present -- but the liberal use of impossible coincidences, cop-out plot devices, timely appearances, and oddball direction makes it difficult to watch.
- AN, 2000.02.21
café rating (english dub):
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