Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ryouko's Case Files 07: Tree Huggers and Mutant Mangroves

IN THIS EPISODE: Ryouko and Izumida go on a vacation to Okinawa. But the vacation turns out to be just another mission to find out what the NPP is up to. Mutant mangroves and Yukino ass-kicking for about five seconds. Oh, and Ryouko in a bikini! Fan service, hell yeah!
Case 07: Okinawa, Isle of God
More Screencaps from Ryouko's Case Files 07

Ryouko is on on her vacation leave and has chosen Okinawa as her destination. Of course, she has to drag Izumida along with her. But while Izumida gets some alone time in the car, Ryouko defends herself against an ambush attack from a random bandage guy. Fortunately, her scarf is made of carbon fiber, which makes it almost as hard as diamond so Ryouko has no trouble at all twisting the fire extinguisher like it's nothing more than a can of tuna.

Still, random masked guy manages to escape from her clutches. Ryouko gives chase but her efforts are thwarted since her car is parked way inside the cargo hold. She blames Izumida for their situation but Izumida only points out that it was Ryouko who ordered him to get in first. Undaunted, Ryouko starts the engine and proceeds to drive on top of the other cars before her.
looking familiar there

Despite Ryouko's efforts, they lose the black rover that random masked guy used to escape. Izumida then asks Ryouko why she has to bring him along her vacation since he'll probably just get in her way. But Ryouko only playfully states that part of Izumida's job description is to ensure his boss' safety even while on vacation. Izumida is flattened.

Next, they go sight-seeing where Ryouko exhibits a thorough knowledge of mangroves. As they near a huge mansion standing right at the center of a mangrove forest, they see a small group of environmentalists picketing in front of the mansion gates.

As the group becomes more and more aggressive, one guard steps forward and pushes a girl to the ground. Izumida immediately comes to the rescue but once he gets a good look at the guard, he finds that his face is a familiar one. Ryouko then identifies him as the NPP captain they met in Aoyama. Ryouko also recognizes him as the masked guy who attacked her earlier.
must be a Yakushiji family trait
"that said, i get the feeling Okinu is just using me to her advantage." Ya think?

Izumida starts to wonder what the NPP are doing in Okinawa. He also wonders if this is Ryouko's reason for vacationing in Okinawa all along. Ryouko brushes the question off and instead recalls her earlier conversation with her sister Okinu wherein they discussed the recent team-up between the Japanese government and NPP, in order to remove JACES' market share.

It was from Okinu that Ryouko learned about former diet member Tadomura's locking himself up in his Okinawa mansion for six months. She figured that if she found out why he locked himself up, then she might get a clue about NPP's weakness.

Then Ryouko figures out too late that Okinu is probably just using her, knowing that this is precisely what she (Ryouko) would do if given a push in the right direction.

At that moment, Yukino and Akira arrive. Ryouko is just as surprised as Izumida to find the two of them on the island. Ryouko then makes a crack about Yukino being demoted to a position in a far-off island away from the metro. But Akira dispels that notion by volunteering that they are there as security detail for the superintendent-general who is meeting with Tadomura. Ryouko then cracks that Yukino likes to deal with illegal stuff. Yukino merely throws the insult back at her. While the two of them face off, their respective lackeys stand by and wait for their bosses' tempers to cool off.

After the standard exchange of insults, Yukino belatedly asks Ryouko why she is in Okinawa. Of course, Ryouko does not answer and instead grabs Izumida's arm and orders him to leave with her.

Later that day, Ryouko is enjoying a margarita at the lounge in front of the pool, dressed only in a bikini, while Izumida chews on the NPP and their shadowy objective. At that moment, the tree-hugger girl from earlier arrives with their drinks. However, when Izumida recognizes her, she runs off, forcing him to give chase. When he finally catches up to her, he finds out that her father went to see Tadomura about the environmental problems that his resort is causing but was never seen again after that. She feels guilty because she protests against Tadomura's resort but at the same time works there as a parttime serving maid.

While trying to comfort her, Izumida catches sight of a strange-looking stone on the ground. The girl calls it a "kyouzuka" which is used by Buddhist monks to seal evil spirits. Ryouko arrives just then and tells them about an Okinawan legend of a monk who came to Okinawa and blessed the island with these stones. The real stones have been escavated but the spirits of the island remain. The girl then relates another legend of a Mangrove god who protects the forest. According to her, nature is like god so she wants to protect it, too. Ryouko says that there is a superentendent from Tokyo in Tadomura's mansion who might be able to help the girl.
vivipary seeds are scary

That evening, Yukino and Akira are in the dining room, about to enjoy dinner, when the NPP captain and his group arrive to bring them to Tadomura. While they are outside, on their way to Tadomura's private quarters, something attacks them in the dark. All of a sudden, Yukino finds herself forced to the ground by one guard while another one tackles Akira. It turns out that the guards are being controlled by a vivipary seed from the mangroves stuck to their necks.
go Yukino!

Meanwhile, in some other part of the mansion grounds, guards are alerted to the presence of intruders, who turn out to be the tree-huggers, led by the girl from earlier. She shouts that she wants to address Yukino. On the other side of the fence, Izumida listens to the commotion and correctly deduces that Ryouko told the girl about Yukino only so she and her merry, tree-hugging friends can provide a distraction. Ryouko then orders Izumida to offer her his back to give her some leverage as she climbs up the fence.
this is why you don't wear long skirts to a high-risk mission

Back to Yukino and the Vivipary Seeds of Doom, she works on the guards holding her down but gets immobilized when more vivipary seeds fall from the tree, pinning her skirt to the ground. As more seeds fall down on her, Yukino hears shots and looks up to find Ryouko and Izumida there to save the day.
hasta la vista, baby

But instead of thanking her rescuer, Yukino asks if Ryouko even has a permit to carry the gun. Ignoring her as usual, Ryouko demands that Yukino beg first. Just then, the guards regain their consciousness and prepare to attack. But Izumida quickly jumps into the fray and gives them the beating of their life.
Izumida being cool
"No fair."

This disappoints Ryouko somewhat as she wanted the saving to come after the begging. After taking care of the goons, Ryouko and Izumida leave to search for Tadomura. Before going though, Izumida gives Yukino a heads up on the tree-huggers who are being detained by Tadomura's guards.
this is the creepiest monster yet in the series

Izumida and Ryouko are later joined by the tree-hugger girl. Soon, they find themselves in Tadomura's study. But to their surprise, instead of encountering a live Tadomura, what they find is a shell of his former self, completely covered in mangrove roots. The girl wonders if it is the Mangrove god come to take his revenge but Ryouko says that it is most likely a mutant species of mangrove, courtesy of NPP's experiments. As they look around the room, the girl is horrified to find that her father is among the mutant mangroves' victims.
even upside down, Ryouko's hair still manages to look hot

Just then, Tadomura's moves and lets loose a rain of vivipary seeds at Ryouko. She tries to shoot them off with her gun but trips on a live root, dropping her gun in the process. As Ryouko hangs upside down from a live branch, she asks Izumida for his gun. But he hasn't brought his gun with him. Instead, he fishes out of his pocket that kyouzuka, remembering that it is used to seal evil spirits.
izumida being the hero

Izumida runs towards Tadomura's body and plants the stone right on his forehead.
ooh, shiny

The stone emits a holy glow.
Ryouko is PWNed

Then, Izumida takes Ryouko's hand and together, with the girl in tow, they run for their lives. They arrive near the gates just as the mansion collapses under the weight of a huge mangrove monster. Yukion and Akira have secured the area but are shocked to see the monster creature emerge.
maids of doom

A JACES helicopter flies by, driven by none other than Lucienne and Marianne. They radio contact Ryouko and tell her that the napalm bomb is ready. Without waiting for anybody's reaction, Ryouko gives her maids the green light. They all watch as the whole thing blows up.
the great EXPLOSION climax


Captain dude is perhaps the first recurring villain from this series. Oh wait, I forgot about the white-haired lady. She didn't she appear in at least two episodes as well? Anyway, cool episode. I love the monster. So creepy.

I am beginning to enjoy Yukino and Ryouko's exchanges. They're getting nastier by each episode.

Oh, but carbon fiber scarf! LOLz

The tree-hugger comment is not meant to disparage against environmentalists in any way. It's just...perfect in the context of this episode.

Oi, we finally get to see a member of Ryouko's family. Oh, and it's an older sister and she's gonna be in the next episode as well. It's so awesome the way she pulled a trick on the seemingly invincible Ryouko. Before this episode, I couldn't imagine Ryouko being someone's baby sister. So the next one should be even more interesting.