This show has gotten me thinking about strangest of things; bothersome not in the sense that these things significantly affect my experience of anime as a whole, or even just this show, but a couple of things that are like itches I can’t reach.
Now we see Lag leave Cambel, the place that plays the role of his home town; with Aunt Sabrina playing the role of his primary parent or guardian. Here begins his quest to become a Letter Bee. In the previous episode we see how Gauche delivered Lag as a human parcel to Aunt Sabrina.
Rather, we see how Lag carried Gauche on his back after the former fought a rather trying battle against a swarm of Gaichu. The pertinent thing is how Aunt Sabrina rather rudely treats Gauche, mirrored afterwards by how the rest of the town treats him.
It’s apparent that him being a civil servant and a government official makes him a troublesome person to endure in the town that harbors pirates. In this episode however, everyone is rather proud that Lag intends to become a Letter Bee. And it is Aunt Sabrina herself who acknowledges how ill she treated Gauche back then.
Lag explains that it’s because of the train built in Yodoka that lets a lot more people come back and forth, thereby exposing the townsfolk to different people and perspectives.
In the Light and Blue Night Fantasy special we see how the Letter Bees tricked a dingo to believe he is performing his duty as a guide while actually being the package himself. There’s something touching about the end the deception serves — how they lead the dingo to end his days right by the side of his beloved Bee.
But this gets me wondering about thinking beings as packages. We transport animals and the like through courier services. Zoos get their animals through at times complex logistical efforts. However, for the purposes of this post I don’t relate to these animals as sentient individuals as dingos appear to be, capable of human-like judgment and decision making; as well as having human-like emotions so much so that they need manipulating.
What more a child like Lag, who was Gauche’s package?
Then we have the curious case of Niche, who is a mystery not having an identified sender, and not enough postage for her destination (Love Someone Down, the town of Rent).
In her case, as well as Lag’s himself, we have two living children as packages that have been left by the wayside — perhaps due to their Bees dying, but it’s unclear why exactly.
For the purpose of the narrative however, being a letter is a rite of passage of some kind. Lag’s journey with Gauche ‘made him a man’ in that he saved Gauche by carrying him on his back to complete his delivery over a considerable distance. It began Lag’s journey to become a Letter Bee. This delivery will most likely serve as the beginning of Niche’s journey to become Lag’s dingo. It’s not difficult to imagine given Niche’s physical gifts and Lag’s lack thereof. Niche will save his life, and this will be her role as his dingo going forward.
I admit that I never really did extensive research, so there really could be a precedent in sending children as packages via mail. I mean, it’s not difficult to imagine tasking someone to transport a child or animal as a paid service, but for a postal system to accept such packages to the extent of tagging them with postage and the like is something I did not find in my admittedly limited forays in postal history.
I’m interested to find out if there is a fictional precedent to this. I only know of Jeremy Statham’s The Transporter franchise of action movies, where at some point he transported a human package.
On an unrelated note, I am of two minds on how to relate to the fanservice in the show. Niche’s character design is the starting point. She’s a loli through and through, this isn’t just a young woman made to look like a child. She’s a child, whose defining behavioral characteristic so far is a history of not wearing underwear. This becomes the narrative turning point for her relationship with Lag:
A charming appeal for her to wear underpants; made with innocent sensitiveness and some genuine concern for her welfare.
It’s cute. Charming even. However, I can’t help but wonder at the choice. Why pantsu? why the slow motion sequence involving Niche flashing Lag with her naked girly bits? It’s something that I feel is a play for some controversy, however minor; and definitely played for titillation. I can’t help but imagine how this was carefully planned to become a point of interest for the show. Do I feel it necessary? No. But am I surprised? Not really, it’s a shounen anime after all and this is an accepted trope for anime itself.
I can’t help but wish however, that it didn’t have to be like this Letter Bee. Not for any high minded moral or artistic stance, only in that I can’t help but raise my expectations for this show after what feels to be such a well-done episode.
There does seem to be something sinister as to how Niche is left in that crack in chains (Shinmaru 2009/10/18)
A straightforward review of the episode (animewriter 2009/10/18)
The fanservice money-shot is a variation of the pantyshot obliquus; from a brilliant post that more people should read (iKnight 2008/01/29)