With That Transparent Young Girl...
Alice of the Orange Planet enters, and finally there’s an episode that doesn’t feel as if it’s filled with flaws.
Explaining what Pair and Single mean fit perfectly into this episode. Better still, these are terms that have been used before (at least in the first episode), so there was no rush in explaining them to the viewer.
World-building came in two parts this episode. There was the return of Tour Guide Akari, explaining about the island and cultures of Neo-Venezia, and then Tour Guide Akari continued with “tell Akatsuki about what he does”, which survives only because it was in the context of “this is how I compare you with that statue over there”. The former part felt like, “Let’s name some places from Venice in a Neo-Venezia way, to make this world feel complete.” The latter tells about the world in context of the character. It isn’t intended to inform the viewer of things, it’s Akari explaining how she views the Salamanders to Akatsuki. Informing fellow Neo-Venezians rather than informing the viewer: that’s the difference.
The character-building comes with with a mix of minor things and not-so-minor things. Akatsuki has interaction time with Akari, and it’s learned about how he’s a Salamander, working up in the sky. Even though he freeloads some ride time, he also invites the girls with his employee passes to go up and see the sky island, as well as buying them a snack. There was the flashback of when Akatsuki was Akari’s first customer, which flowed better than the Aika/Alicia flashback in the prior episode. The not-so-minor character-building is in Alice’s actions, reactions, and internal monologues.
Putting Alice in a gondola gives another A-name Undine. She also has an A-name classmate, Anna.
Continuing with Alice, whose hair is as green as Akari’s is pink, she goes through the first steps of a change of character. Whereas Ai’s change was in her view of Neo-Venezia, and of how her sister bragged about it, it’s a little different with Alice. For Alice, it isn’t a conflict of expectation versus reality of the places, but rather the people. Aika explained how Orange Company has only been running for a decade, but is on its way up in the business. (This makes me wonder if there are more than three gondola companies in Neo-Venezia, leaving the Fairies to be the top three gondoliers, regardless of status withing their companies. And, can one company have two Fairies?)
As Alice looks at the smile of a fellow Orange Company Undine, she remarks to herself about the phony smile. Akari’s smile was different. Although Alice determined it to be phony after all, she realized this not to be the case. This brings into question Orange Company’s policies. Are the Undines of Orange Company smiling and agreeing about loving the city because it’s genuine and true, or because it’s in the job manual?
After the Acqua Alta, I figured the water to likely be fresh water. What’s the need for salt water, when fresh water will be much more usable for survival? In an e-mail, Ai recalls the “smell of salt” in the air, meaning that not only the water on Aqua, but the water making the pathways of Neo-Venezia, are salt water.
There were a lot of names of places spoken, adding to the “feel” of this world, and it was nice to not hear “Neo” prefixed to everything. I don’t foresee there being any need to remember these place names, so I’ll make certain not to do so.
The English credits now include Alice (whose name Alice Carroll I imagine to be based off of “Lewis Carroll” and “Alice in Wonderland”, making me wonder if other names have something like that to them). She’s voiced by Ryo Hirohashi (Rakka, Haibane-Renmei).
Final thought: Akari is the heir to Aria.