Right, that does it. I’ve put up with this series’ nonsense for long enough. I’m going to be mean about everything and everyone in this episode, whether it’s warranted or not. Time to show the blogosphere why I’m called AngryJellyfish. I’ll leave the explanations about the latter part of my username for another day…
The episode starts with Xiaomei and Hank in prison, presumably on charges of trying to forward the plot. They were pretty much asking for it though, breaking into castles without even the laziest attempt at disguising themselves. Xiaomei should have stuck to robbing people in the daytime like all other antiques dealers. As for Hank, being a dwarf, you just know that if he wasn’t activating weapons of mass destruction on the surface, he’d be digging too deep and finding them underground.
The next morning at Le Coeur, it becomes clear that Rick’s baking skills are dropping. Again. Forget the looming threat from pirates, this is a real crisis. So much so that Rick disappears from the bakery without telling his harem. For a series subtitled ‘Bread of Happiness’, he spends a ridiculous amount of time depressed. Meanwhile, Kaguya has also disappeared… I don’t know why they can’t just scatter breadcrumbs all over the place, that’d bring her running. However, we find out where they both are before long.
Our lame protagonist Rick is back home on his ship, lying down uselessly, when another ship beeches right next to his. He goes to see what all the noise is about, and finds several pirates (including Dylan from that godawful 8th episode) limping away, though it’s hard to tell whether they were injured or had simply had too much rum. They warn the islanders about a swiftly approaching armoured fleet… again, I don’t see why they don’t just tame these invaders with mind numbing bread.
Kaguya was abducted by the robot, who proceeds to break into the prison where Hank and Xiaomei are being held. She claims that Kaguya (who she calls her ‘master’) is from another world, and that the aforementioned giant fleet intends to kidnap her. She figures that her master is safest in the castle, far away from the sea. Is rocketing off towards another island not a better option? We’ve already seen what these alien weapons are capable of back in episode 3… back when this series still showed promise…
Rick’s harem finally discover him at the clinic, helping out with the injured pirates. They’re angry, but Rick largely ignores them (he’s gotten good at this over the past few episodes), and instead asks Dylan to tell them how he escaped from the fleet. The only vaguely interesting thing that hadn’t already been mentioned earlier in the episode was that the crew of these ships are serpent men… which I assume is just to make them seem more evil. Also, that way there’s no need for individual character designs!
Meanwhile, for the first time ever, Kaguya manages to speak several sentences without mentioning either bread or her insatiable hunger! She doesn’t want the island that feeds her to be sacrificed, and requests that the doll hand her over to the lizards instead. The doll agrees to do so, but not before handing over Kaguya’s necklace (her most prized possession) to Xiaomei without permission and for no apparent reason, then slicing the bars of her and Hank’s cells with lasers to allow them to escape.
So… the island you’re ruling over is set to be pillaged in a day or so. Rumours and fears are spreading through the village. A laser-shooting robo-lady just crashed through your palace, freed all the prisoners in your dungeon, then sped off again without warning. The moon is an ominous red colour. What do you do? Play the harp and recite poetry, that’s what, because you’re the prince, and the guards will sort everything out. He could at least pretend to look as though he was doing something about it!
As Lagunas narrates, we see clips of the Le Coeur bakers searching for Kaguya, Rick staring vacantly out at the sea, the red moon (again), clouds (not I.G.’s best ones either), and Xiaomei and Hank’s escape from prison. Attempted escape, I should say, because after scaling the wall they find themselves surrounded on the other side. Surely they’d have seen the guards from the top of the wall? Anyway, the prince chooses this moment to take the limelight… I take it back, he was less annoying when he did nothing!
In the final minutes of the episode, the serpent man fleet comes into view. The palace soldiers prepare their puny counterattack, while Kaguya and robo-lady fly towards the flagship. The fleet fires at them, which is a bit stupid if we assume they want Kaguya alive for some reason or other. Then there was more bouncing back and forth to Rick and Co., and Xiaomei and Hank… at least this time they had a decent insert theme instead of Lagunas’ prattling. Then it ended, before anything really interesting could happen.
Reading this back, it’s a lot less angry than I wanted it to be… it seems that even at this point I struggle to truly hate Shining Hearts – it’s just so bland and inoffensive! 😛