Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan – 04

Local Chinese cat-girl Xiao Mei enlists the help of Rick and Neris in the salvage of a large underwater treasure trove. Neris’ attempt to hook the huge crate to a rope almost gets her drowned, and they require one of Hank’s machines to haul the crate out of the sea, destroying their rented ship and losing the machine in the process. Hank finds something related to the mechanical doll in his workshop, but before they can take stock of what they’ve salvaged, palace troops arrive and carry it all off.

Um, yeah, this series has some serious problems. The pacing is pretty slow, and the motivations of the characters is a bit wishy-washy, and the events of this particular episode make no physical sense. We’re made to believe a wimpy pulley on a small wooden boat and a thin hemp rope are enough to haul a crate that weighs at least a few tons out of the water. When the pulley inevitably breaks, the rope eats through the decking, but doesn’t break, even though pulling it by hand did. Neris can hold her breath way too long, there’s no explanation for how Hank gets a huge machine down the mountain and onto the ship, or how they get the crate onto land.

Beyond all the ignorance of the laws of physics, nobody considers the fact “the palace” will simply show up and snatch whatever they’ve found, in accordance with the island’s traditions, which forbid taking anything out of the sea that’s “not for eating” so as not to create conflicts amongst the villagers. But what the hell is up with this palace? Who put them in charge? Why didn’t Hank just “eat” the thing he wanted for his android? And why the heck is the mysterious girl still not recovered? There’s just way too much stuff that doesn’t make sense here. It’s a friggin’ mess.

Rating: 3 (Bad)

Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan – 03

Rick and Amil find a strange girl washed up on the shore with a stranger pendant that glows eerily. After leaving her in a doctor’s care, they prepare for another day of baking, but the chimney is blocked by a fallen branch, and the pressure destroys the oven. The gang pays a visit to Hank in the Dwarven mountains, who demands steep upfront payment. That night the military orders a townwide curfew and blackout, as a fleet of pirate ships approaches the island. The girl wakes up, knowing little but her name – Kaguya. The light of her pendant attracts angry soldiers. The ship fires a devastating blow near the town, but an automaton Hank has in his shop returns fire, destroying the ship.

Finally, this series starts to show a little excitement! Sure, none of it makes any damn sense, but still. Where to begin? The doctor seems like a quack. Rick, the girls, and Hank have a very odd, tense negotiation over furnace repairs that ends with no deal. Perhaps Hank is curt beause he doesn’t want his sexy invention (?) discovered by some meddling kids, but until further notice, Rick & Co. can’t bake any bread, which means they can’t make any money. This is a problem, but it’s not the most pressing one.

Just like Rick, this girl washes up, in strange garb, with no apparent memories but her name. The girls took Rick under their wing and taught him how to bake in lieu of his old life which he didn’t remember anyway. But this Kaguya girl might remember something, if only she could stay awake for more than a few moments. As for her pendant, it just screamed “Laputa.” We weren’t quite sure about the connection between the pendant and Hank’s “doll” weapon, or about what a bunch of guys with swords expect to do against a fleet of what look like advanced dreadnoughts. Like we said; not a lot of sense in play.

Rating: 4 (Fair)