So I may as well post my thoughts because if there was one general episode of OS that I was remembering, it was this one. Perhaps because it's a sharp contrast to the generally upbeat tone of the series. Of course, where else to start but the star attraction, the relationship between Jim and Hanmyo.
Let's summarize the story: Jim and Hanmyo meet and get sweet on each other, but it's revealed (if the hints weren't enough) that Hanmyo is one of the Anten Seven, meaning that Jim and Hanmyo are on opposite sides and something was going to happen. This already speaks for itself. Of course, there has to be something for me to talk about for me to be making a longpost where a significant amount of the material--not all of it, I'll get to that--is going to be talking about the relationship. Naturally, there is: Hanmyo's personality.
Let's recap: Jim gets enamored by Hanmyo's dancing in front of the fountain, but gets shy and tried to figure out exactly what to say to not spook her. Hanmyo, however, shows excitement about the idea of being boyfriend-girlfriend with the guy. Things go well for a while, but fate, the thing Hanmyo believes in, isn't going to be so kind, and I think one can make the argument that it's from Hanmyo choosing to be a pirate and an assassin. But even if Hanmyo had been more evil, it would still suck to see somebody with spirit get hit by karma--or rather, NEED to get hit by karma. I should point out that ironically, Hanmyo didn't mention much about Jim during her fatal battle, even if Kemi and Mata having just been killed does make that understandable when she's about to die herself, you'd think she'd at least spare a thought for Jim in her last words.
I don't think that Hanmyo's feelings for Jim were fake, though. She did arrange for another date with Jim that would have happened after actually defeating the OS crew, to Kemi and Mata's own protests about her not consulting them first. I daresay the cheerfulness is actually genuine too, and even fits with the cat theme. Let me point out something: we do NOT know Hanmyo's origins, which would no doubt have shown what happened to have her part of the Anten Seven specifically. There's no proof of anything, but maybe she managed to be a specialized assassin by being flighty. Even if that sounds outlandish, I doubt Hanmyo would be a stranger to creativity even if she could use work on things like her Guess Who game, and I guess we'd end up with more questions trying to find answers anyway.
Fortunately, the other female character who makes the episode memorable doesn't provide more questions, if because of her more simplistic thought process, no offense meant to the character in question. Alright, yes, it's Aisha Clan-Clan. I was remembering how at the end she and Jim argued like an old married couple when Jim made a remark in his depression over Hanmyo having apparently stood him up (by the way forgetting to Hypocrisy Nod, but that could have happened in the muted voice segment anyway, and it's not like Jim never gave a damn about Hanmyo anyway). The arguments also involved the basic sort of material you'd see in a case of Savvy Guy Energetic Girl--yes, you can see where I am going with this.
When I rewatched the episode a few months back, I was actually shocked to hear Aisha call herself a livewire. Yep, that was the comment I was alluding to in that post I bookmarked for this week's episode, and it leaves me wondering: why isn't she listed under Genki Girl on vanilla TV Tropes? She practically admits to being one, and it's not like it's inconsistent with her behavior, past, present, OR future.
What's particularly noteworthy? How about the general subject I'm pointing to: is Jim and Aisha's interaction with each other. It'd also be textbook Wacky Parent, Serious Child if Jim were Aisha's child. I should point out that Outlaw Star's dub originally aired after I got interested in a Genki Girl 2 years older than me, and this episode certainly did. You see why I'd end up remembering this episode more easily.
May I point out that there's a thought process where things like sagacity and efficiency would be more impressive than age and experience, as shown by Jim. Sadly, sometimes I wish I could go back in time and prove as much--of course, that would just be a cheat no matter who else I would fool. And ya know, that's having me realizing that I'm driven by wanting to prove to people that I'm not some shallow twit. Lot of good that does me when too many people out there just want to be negative for its own sake. What's the point of trying to be inspiring when nobody would listen?
Though it's funny how I would consider these free spirits as my muse. Or at least I would want to. I certainly would rather believe in somebody who would be positive and unwavering. It's when they'd have to be an idiot for that to happen when that's a problem, but if I had to make a compromising choice between an idiot friend and a dangerous enemy on who to support, well I AM interested in being the perspicacious one. Of course, if the friend has to be dumb to be nice, it would because of clear grounds for pessimism that should just be overcome. She's supposed to be admirable because she *DOESN'T* break, but if she is being broken because the world wants to be so arbitrary, then that just means we have a Sicksack World on our hands.
Ah, at this point, I'm practically talking as somebody who is a display something the episode shows: that we can't control who we love. And that if we can't hope for the best, we have to prepare for the worst. Maybe all we can do is be empathetic about it instead of trying to turn it into a hawk-dove game like the first 81,018,001 hawk-dove games that we already have out there.
I thought that this episode was okay. It was nice to give Jim a bit more focus. Despite being the youngest of the crew, he is clearly the most responsible and tries to keep Gene going in spite of his own laid back nature. His instant crush on Hanmyo was kind of cute and they seemed to have fun playing around like little kids. Gene would give him a hard time about it, but his line about how little Jimmy discovered girls was pretty funny.
I figured that Hanmyo would be connected with the villain who tried to kill them at the beginning of the episode, but I didn't think she was the villain. I thought that she would be the pirate's daughter or something like that. While there was a sense of tragedy with Jim unknowingly killing Hanmyo and her cats, I was honestly too confused to really get sad during this episode. The cats somehow able to help with her space ship and talk was really strange. I know that IGXP had the same thing, but that was established right from the start. They didn't introduce talking cats twenty episodes into its series, so I was just thrown off by that twist.
I also honestly couldn't tell if she was just a one shot character or part of the Anten Seven. I think that is an issue with the villain's group more so than with just Hanmyo herself, but I honestly couldn't tell if someone is connected to that group if it wasn't for the list that comes up here whenever one of them is defeated. The group's name hasn't come up too often in the series and there's nothing really connecting the different members together to identify them as Anten Seven members. Plus, I honestly don't know how Hanmyo could know who Gene was while not knowing who Jim was. Again, this might be a problem more with the Anten Seven, but you'd think that they'd know the entire Outlaw Star crew if they're that intent on killing Gene. Even if it was just to kidnap one of them to lure Gene out, it would make more sense than seemingly not knowing any of the other crew members.
It was still sad to see Jim sit waiting for Hanmyo when we as the audience knew that she wasn't going to come back. It did seem like Hanmyo did like Jim based on the flower at the end. Although, I really wondered how the flower could have survived an explosion in space. I know that it was supposed to make the ending more sad and dramatic, but I just kept wondering why it wasn't burned up completely. It wasn't quite emotionally manipulative. They did like scenes like Jim walking up to Gene after feeling like he was stood up speak for themselves, but the episode wasn't nearly as sad as it wanted to be, at least not for me.
My confusion over Hanmyo and the Anten Seven really weakened the emotional impact they were going for. It might have worked better if Hanmyo was around for two episodes instead of one. While the interactions between Jim and Hanmyo were nice and felt genuine, it wasn't really enough for me to care about her impending death. We knew so little about her and why she joined the Anten Seven that I felt no emotional investment during the battle outside of how Jim unknowingly killed his first girlfriend. I was fine with Jim not knowing her fate. It was something a bit different with this concept, adds to the tragedy and it could have been too complicated if he did know her true objective. He could have never forgiven Gene for killing her if he had to do it himself or they would have attempted to redeem her in order to avoid killing her. The latter could have been fine depending on what we learned about her, but it would have been a bit more cliched or safe. I just don't think that this concept really works as a one episode conflict. Two would have provided more breathing room and would have made the emotional impact more believable for me. Overall, it was an okay episode.
This past episode basically shows why it's a bad idea for the characters to engage in lethal dogfights where blasting your opponent to smithereens is basically the expected end result. How many other people's Hanmyos did Gene and company kill along the way?
On the one hand, I do have to point out that morality with shows would have still been evolving. I'm not claiming that to be a free pass when Jojo's Bizarre Adventure exists, of course--especially in light of the lengthy post I made about recent gross-out humor. I'm just saying that Outlaw Star is what would be Fair For Its Day at the very worst. It'd be quite a while before works like Death Note where the shounen hero would be deconstructed with Light thinking himself such in all its clear-cut irony would come into the woodwork. For the record, the previous episode did show why Gene is ultimately heroic enough that a gruff dino officer capable of figuring things out would let him go on his merry way.
I mean hey, I'm empathizing. I fashion myself very adept at game balance, but even if I find that it doesn't evolve well, I still find for example that Super Mario RPG is its own case of Fair For Its Day in terms of game balance.
You do still bring up valid points, such as how the Standard Evil Organization Squad tends to be mishandled. I personally am not blaming Outlaw Star for that, but mishandling of the SEOS trope does tend to show the weaknesses of something. There's something in the final episode of Outlaw Star that I'm now thinking about, but we'll get to that point when we do. Meanwhile, may I point out that the trope is meant to showcase a group of bad guys who provide persistent threats to the heroes while building them up. The real problem is making sure they don't just butcher the heroes with a Story Breaker Power. Imagine if Leilong instead was just a merciless mercenary. That would have easily brought the story to a grinding halt.
Where I want to talk about is the question your post provides: what is just right in the amount of subtlety? Too much subtlety leaves the viewer confused for years to come. While I recall as a kid I did recognize Hanmyo as one of the Anten Seven, I can see how the hints can get too sloppy, relying on the viewer to remember the SEOS trope when they could have missed the episode with Leilong. At the same time, I think it can actually be good that the Anten Seven was never pointed to by mention of their name or any show of their other members, because it avoids insulting a consistent viewer's intelligence. That's the sort of thing to keep in mind to avoid making a repeat case of Metroid Other M, which was all too happy to shove its motherhood themes in our faces, especially glaring when it did this at the cost of Samus's character. Of course, it's as you indicate: it's possible to have too MUCH subtlety instead. It can lead to justifying overly obtuse plot points that leave the audience to cry foul because the author relied too much on Fridge Brilliance.
Just for reference, I would have liked to see the idea of a redemption arc for Hanmyo, but I think we can settle on the Tear Jerker we have because that too does have its idea of creativity (OS not being afraid to show a kid getting killed, complicit assassin or not). I'm not even sure how Hanmyo could have been handled within the confines of the plot anyway.
I don't doubt you have more stuff to say to make even more valid points--by all means, feel free so that we can help future writers figure out how to do things better. I just have to input my 2 cents for an episode that stood out to me for welcome reasons, not the least of which is--believe it or not--sufficient influence by female characters like Hanmyo and Aisha.
Is it weird that I kinda think Jim and Aisha would make a cute couple, here me out imagine either Aisha being younger or Jim being older. I personally think they would make a good B couple to Gene's and Melfina's A couple
Last time, plot dvelopments were overshadowed by Jim's interactions with multiple given females, one of whom he ended up killing in a Tear Jerker.
This week, we become archaeologists and hope that we don't have to deal with some slasher film villain being even worse than before.
Oh, and by the way, as to that spoiler tagged stuff, KS?
I checked that episode you were referring to. Its importance is really just how the hot dog gets made, so the original dub could get away with not airing it. Not that what is cut out as a result doesn't involve worldbuilding, but it's standard environmentalism-induced worldbuilding that wouldn't outweigh the reason the episode isn't aired. Also, one of the Anten Seven becomes comic relief there.
Yeah... I just watched the end of Peepoodo... And I wish I hadn't. If I'm considered a wuss for liking Milo Murphy's Law. Big City Greens, Summer Camp Island, Clarence, Craig of the Creek, Hilda, Harvey Beaks, Harvey Street Kids and even The Loud House - not to mention LPS (2012, 2018) SO MUCH MORE because at least those shows have some constraint to not be this gross - then I could care less what you think of me.