Space Symphony Maetel 09: A Bug in the Happy Ending

Maetel’s monologue is the same we heard in episode 06:

“I am Maetel.  The cogwheels of what is called destiny are beginning to move strongly.  My destiny is a voyage without end, circling the rings of time.”

The episode is split into three clearly defined parts: 1) An update on the status of New LaMetal, 2) Maetel’s work on the planet as Nazca is in space with the Arcadia and 3) Nazca’s return as all hell breaks loose on the new planet.

New LaMetal is rushing along toward its destination: orbiting the planet Heavy Melder in the Euphrates System.  The reason for the choice has to do with the large size of the system and its proven livability.  I suppose the decision to have LaMetal become a moon of a planet rather than a planet itself might be due to the small size of what remains of LaMetal.  It might be too small to maintain its own orbit around Euphrates.  Thus this arrangement promises both space and stability for the new LaMetalian home.

I wonder how much can we as viewers make of the Arcadia’s debate on where to head next.  Yattaran is hell-bent on going to Antares to eat that system’s famous crabs.  Call it gluttony.  Tochiro is obsessed with the revisiting the golden planet.  Call that greed.  And Harlock is…absolutely not saying where, if anywhere, he would like to go.  Hm…

Next. Maetel decides to stay behind with Arina while Nazca goes on a “training trip” with the Arcadia.  The trip, we are led to understand, ends up taking months.  Maetel’s remark: “He’ll probably be all mature by the time he returns” is very ambiguous to me: is she happy at this prospect or is she sad?  I lean toward the latter interpretation…  Arina, for her part, is growing more confident by the minute and has managed to get herself a very nice living unit instead for her help with the energy control center.

What we see in the next scene is another remnant of the old LaMetalian technology.  The light-emitting spheres are alive, they feed off of energy, amplify it and release it in higher quantities.  Thus, the spheres require some basic energy fodder to begin with, and Maetel tells us in this case it’s LaRela.  There’s irony here, because back in the days when LaRela was Queen, it was prisoners who were fed to the energy spheres as a form of productive death penalty!

The question of the source of Maetel’s funds (when purchasing fuel and defense-related materials from Heavy Melder) becomes easy if we know that that Heavy Melder is the greatest commercial hub in the known universe.  It’s almost a certainty that banking there is extremely well developed, and if LaMetalian royalty were ever to store some of its riches outside the planet, I bet you this would be as good a place as any to put them in..

The “rogue” purchases of fuel land Maetel in prison.  Now, clearly she could bust herself out of prison in a second if she wanted to, but she’s doing her best to obey the laws and be as “normal” as possible.  The fact is that despite the LaMetalians’ attempts to convince themselves of the contrary, times are not normal at all and a capable figure like Maetel should be at the highest echelon of power if not at the helm itself.  Maetel’s meekness here ends up backfiring for everyone, as a droid mosquito (obviously sent by Promethium) infiltrates the energy control room and sabotages it, while Maetel sits confined and Leopard and co. have not even a suspicion that such an attack may be looming.

The incident costs Arina her life, Tochiro determines that the mosquito was responsible, and the Arcadia and Maetel are on the same page: Promethium is most definitely alive (but does the provisional government of LaMetal know it too??  I sure hope so).

As to the final scene, well, you’ll have to see it to believe it.  I myself think they’re handling this relationship extremely well.  Maetel is looking for something in Nazca that the boy simply does not have.  He is fond of her, and maybe even slightly obsessed with her, but he’s not ready for romance and isn’t looking for it.  They’re most definitely not on the same page, these two.

~ by Haloed Bane on July 9, 2012.

15 Responses to “Space Symphony Maetel 09: A Bug in the Happy Ending”

  1. um did i miss something or have you just randomly mixed up Tochiro and Tetsuro?

  2. NOT ready for a relationship?! My dad practically screamed out:
    “Great! They’re in the honeymoon stage!” at the end of the episode. I told him to shut up and that he was ruining the moment playfully. XD
    Other than that, sorry you lost the competition. Oh well, next time, I’ll vote more often 😉
    Good to see you’re back by the way! Thanks for the blogs! Good news by the way! The endoscopy results came back normal! 😀
    Best wishes,
    Suicunefan36

    • Good to hear about your results!

      I actually moved home last week so that messed up my blogging schedule…

      I honestly believe that Nazca wants to be around Maetel and hang out with her, but nothing more…for now. In other words, I think he’s at the stage where if she got a boyfriend he’d be super upset, but as long as he’s free he’ll be happy..

      • I think they’ve got to handle the relationship a bit carefully not out of any natural delicacy but simply because Nazca’s not Maetel’s destined partner – that’s a long way ahead and we already know it’s Tetsuro…. (once he finally gets to grow up! ;-P )

        So they have to make Nazca important enough to her (and the audience) to make what happens in this story MATTER to all concerned, without alienating a large section of the audience who presumably would be pointing at the screen and pouting in the way ‘shippers do when expectations are confounded…!

        Poor Nazca – he’s doomed right from the start of this show – there’s no way he gets the girl and even his final actions prove to be only a temporary solution before the “real” hero of the piece shows up to finish Promethium once and for all (we hope… that warp accident in the manga and TV series that brings the 999 into contact with a future version from 65,000 CE suggests we’re on a never ending cycle of events here…!)

        Harlock I notice still rather short on people skills in this episode! (I had to take issue wth the fansub at this point – “Suki ni suru” (lit. do what you like) given the context would be (in English) closer in tone to “suit yourself” “Knock yourself out” “Whatever” if you’re not going to translate it literally! Harlock’s not extending an invitation he’s (as usual) refusing to make a decision and disengaging…. (Hmmm… since Tochiro seems so keen on the lad maybe he’s just jealous at sharing his best friend? 😉 Awwwww….)

        But I’m always torn between literal translations and (as a writer) the desire to reflect the sentiments displayed in a manner more natural to the language you’re translating to! Which I guess is why I learned Japanese in the first place so I wouldn’t have to make the choice!

        To quote Shelley’s Defence of Poetry: “It were as wise to cast a violet into a crucible that you might discover the formal principle of its color and odor, as seek to transfuse from one language into another the creations of a poet. The plant must spring again from its seed, or it will bear no flower — and this is the burthen of the curse of Babel.”

        I know, I know, it’s only the odd line here and there but it *niggles*!

        • Oh, to be sure, it kinda sucks to be Nazca. Unless Tetsuro is a reincarnation of Nazca’s maybe? And then he kind of maybe possibly gets the girl in the end..

          “Suit yourself” would be perfect for Harlock’s comment. It’s definitely cold, though that’s kind of the way he is most of the time. Your suggestion of a budding Harlock + Tochiro + Nazca love triangle is very intriguing. What? You didn’t suggest that?? Oh yes you did!!!

          Translation is always a painful struggle, where you basically murder stuff for a living. Very sad. But isn’t that how life works? For something to be born something must die. Cycle of life and all of that 🙂

          • I was actually thinking it was more of a kid thing – “you can’t be friends with *her* coz you’re MY friend”. Harlock really does give this vibe off more than once… (Original series where he’s glaring daggers at “Emeralda” for muscling in on his pal springs to mind) it’s very childish, but then, there is an argument that the lanky lug doesn’t really grow out of a stormy adolescence!

            I had been trying to avoid the thorny issue of Harlock inviting young boys onto his ship to make a man of them… obviously at 18 he’s still in denial… ;-P

            I find I tend to prefer subs to be more literal than dubs – I like to understand what I’m listening to in order to be able to pick up on the same phrase if I hear it again, so for that, literal is fine. Dubs otoh I prefer to sound more natural in the spoken language- I don’t think there’s anything worse than listening to actors trying to deliver (accurately translated) but totally artifical sentiments that would NEVER be expressed in that fashion normally! For that purpose the *art* of translation should apply. The fansub for SSM tends to verge on the overly creative at times when it doesn’t really need to! (The group has a tendency to do this – their Galaxy Railways sub has the same issue…)

            The best sub I’ve ever seen is still the labour of love that was Corn Pone Flick’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock… now *that* strikes an almost perfect balance between accuracy and art!! Shame the visuals made my eyeballs bleed they’d been copied so often on the copy somone gave me way back in the day!

            • Well, if we look behind the scenes, there’s nothing more embarrassingly childish than Marianne of my Youth, a film which I’m starting to believe teaches us much about what Matsumoto is focused on and where he wants to go.

              I don’t like dubs. Don’t watch them in any context. I have opted out of watching things because only dubs were available. It’s just a pet peeve.

              Subtitling is tough because it’s not only accuracy vs aesthetics, there’s also the compression of time and space issue. Talk about an activity that makes you feel like you’re committing a criminal act on a language!!

              • Whoa, and all along I believed in that scene Harlock was annoyed (jealous?) of Maetel having a young protege!

                No need to worry anyway, Tochiro doesn’t seem to be much into Nazka 😀

                Btw, it’s kinda awesome that the first boy to be made a man of on the Arcadia is introduced by Maetel. Those four are a close-knit team, aren’t they?

                (I don’t remember 3/4 of Marianne of my Youth by now, but what you say sounds scary.)

                • I don’t remember much either. Maybe I’ll watch it again when I’m 50. Certainly not before then!

                  • I still have it in my French DVDs case ready to watch – but I gather the book’s rather better (I have it, in the French translation with the film title, natch – I was hoping for a copy with the original title “Doloreuse Arcadie” – “Sorrowful Arcadia”, but the Marianne title was cheaper so… (shrugs).)

                    It’s a bit of a pain to read though – whether that’s just that I’m not great with 20th C French novels or a factor of being translated from German, I’m not sure! It’s in the reading pile well below a stack of Verne, Dumas and Barjavel, so not sure I’ll get round to it this decade! 😉

                    So, painful to watch I gather??

                • quote: Whoa, and all along I believed in that scene Harlock was annoyed (jealous?) of Maetel having a young protege!

                  Funny you should mention that, because I did get a sense that Harlock and Maetel didn’t exactly get along in both this and in CWZ, and my thoughts were along the lines that Harlock wouldn’t approve of her ferrying these young lads to their deaths… but since in SSM he’s already a bit hostile, not too sure where it’s coming from here!

                  OTOH the only time I can remember him NOT being a misogynistic bastard (on screen at least) is in AoMY/SSX!

                  The TV series of GE999 has one meeting between them – the 3 part Pirate of the Time Castle, which does have some tension… can’t remember if it plays out the same in the manga – have to check!

                  • Whatever the reasons may be, it really amuses me how those two harldy exchange few words across the decades of the Leijiverse lore 🙂

  3. quote:Whatever the reasons may be, it really amuses me how those two harldy exchange few words across the decades of the Leijiverse lore

    Heheh… In GE999 (tv) he’s on his way to clean up HER mess, and seems content to step back once he realises she’s actually going to sort it herself: “I underestimated you…” (Could have meant her capacity for strong booze, but on a more recent viewing I did wonder…)

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