"26 Days" of Future Boy Conan - Episode 07
Episode 07 - Chase
Episode Summary: Dyce escapes in the fog. Lepka gets permission to use the GunBoat and Falco to pursue Dyce. Conan escapes from jail and sneaks onto the Falco. Jimsy informs Lana that he is a companion of Conan. Dyce meets with Lana and when she gets angry that he left Conan he opens the window and threatens to throw her out. The Falco sees the light and follows the Barracuda. Conan escapes and attempts to board the Barracuda.
Alright, let's see if we can get back to our regular schedule on the Conan blogathon. I think I'll have to put "26 Days" in quotes now, heh heh. At this current rate, we'll have the entire series finished in time for Christmas. Joy! And if history is any guide, this blogathon will finally receive its deserved attention sometime around the year 2014...So all is well. Cough.
Anyway....One question that's always on my mind when watching this episode, and a lot of Future Boy Conan episodes: How does Miyazaki get himself outta this jam? How many times over the course of this series did he and his team find themselves completely, hopelessly stuck? Conan begins and ends this episode stuck in a series of cliffhangers, each one tighter than the last, and all I can think is...How does he get outta this?! Surely, being trapped in an ocean with magnetic braces tying his arms and legs together, as the Barracuda sails off in the distance, is an impossible fix. This show must have been murder on ones nerves back in '78. Imagine waiting a week to find out.
This is another thrilling episode, with the tempo staying high. This is a high crescendo of the first act, and Miyazaki never wastes any time. I never get a sense that the pacing is lagging or being rushed; plot details are dribbled out piece by piece as needed, quiet moments are allowed room to breathe, and bursts of action have purpose, meaning. We could say this is a story that has been thought out and meticulously planned in advance...but this is Miyazaki. We know from his Studio Ghibli films that this isn't the case. He works extensively on the background of the characters, and the major plot points, and the overall themes he wants to address. But this is more of a general strategy than a specific plan. Once the first couple episodes are scripted, it's off to war and damn the torpedoes.
This is why I ask myself just how many times Miyazaki or Otsuka were honestly, genuinely stuck. They had to have been caught at least once, given all the exciting chases and narrow escapes. The lucky thing is that they manage to find a suitable solution without resorting to cheap gimmicks or deus ex machina. Conan's escape from the prison cell, the Barracuda's stealth escape in the fog and ruins of Industria, Jimsy's attempts to break Lana out of her cell (again), and Conan's escape from the seaplane (again)...these are all so brilliantly timed and paced. This series has the feel of a great jazz ensemble, and it's a joy to see them create almost moment-to-moment.
There are a lot of great bits in this episode. That part where Jimsy finally meets Lana and is dumbstruck, almost shy, it's endearing. He hands her a frog because, well, what else can he do? That's his only trick to dealing with girls. That was pretty much my entire repertoire with girls in college. It's a miracle I ever got anywhere...and it's a miracle I never got myself stuck in a porthole. Oh, and bonus points who spotted that gag of Jimsy in the porthole and remembered it's also in Castle in the Sky.
Also, Dyce has a really creepy side that we need to address at some point. He still reminds me of Homer Simpson. And did Monsely really talk about Conan as a pet to be tamed? Lots of people in this show have issues, don't they? We'll get to that later. I need sleep.