Aa! Megami-sama! TV - 15: Ah! A Heart Stolen By A Goddess?

Title:Aa! Megami-sama! TV
Episode:15: Ah! A Heart Stolen By A Goddess?
Skuld wants to be pampered by Belldandy but her older sister visits university with Keiichi together instead. Skuld is not willing to lose to Keiichi, and to make Belldandy pay attention to her she starts to construct the all-purpose robot "Banpei-kun RX" with household skills as well as anti-demon weaponry, to help and protect her beloved sister.
When Skuld finally switches the power on for her new machine the fuse of the temple is blown [image1] - and not only does Keiichi lose 15 hours and 22 minutes of work for his university professor, Urd's TV show comes to a sudden end in the midst of the crucial battle as well! So no praising for poor little Skuld... just when she burst into a stream of tears, Belldandy drops in and - Banpei-kun is activated successfully! Immediately the robot starts helping Belldandy with her housework [image2].
Meanwhile, Marller is observing the house, hoping to catch the unwary goddesses off guard. Time for Banpei-kun to show his second purpose - and Marller isn't that happy about it for sure. Skuld finally receives the praise she was longing for - but as to restore normality at the temple Banpei-kun has to be switched off. Now Urd can watch TV again, and Keiichi starts organizing his professor's data once more. But Belldandy feels sorry for the motionless guardian at the door and pushes the button on the back of Banpei-kun's head... Urd is really pissed now, and Belldandy has to apologize, making Skuld feel bad.
To make up for her mistake, Skuld starts to build a voltage-lowering circuit [image3] as to run the robot with fewer energy consumption - and encouraged by Belldandy she manages to complete her work successfully. Now Banpei-kun can remain activated - but he soon starts to treat anyone close to Belldandy as an enemy [image4]! During a maintenance diagnosis Skuld detects that Banpei-kun has rewritten his own program, adding an emotion circuit.
As only Banpei-kun can stay close to Belldandy now, she has to educate the robot, making him aware that Skuld, Keiichi and Urd are important people to her. Banpei-kun starts serving ice cream to Skuld [image5] but the girl is moping, still wondering about Banpei-kun's strange behaviour. "That's simple - he fell in love with Belldandy", states Urd.
Banpei-kun watches Belldandy cook bento for Keiichi, "the person important to me" as she tells the robot. When the telephone rings Belldandy answers the call - and Marller sneaks in, taking advantage of the opportunity [image6]. But Banpei-kun will defend Keiichi's bento box with his life, and he's not alone...
[2005-04-28, Devil Doll]
Originally this has been not a Skuld story but a Belldandy story (manga volume 7 chapter 46) but apparently the anime doesn't want to show Belldandy as the technology freak she's in the manga (which is part of why she and Keiichi understand each other so well). Certain other important aspects of this story are delayed until later episodes (such as the moon stones and Senbei, hopefully); but despite at least three illogical scenes during the second battle (if I insist on being nitpicking), rewriting this episode the way they did added considerably to the drama of the story, giving Skuld's character more depth.
Stories about robots with limited knowledge acting according their rule set are a two-edged sword. They can be executed in a way that the audience sympathizes with the robot, such as in Chobits, or they can be done in a way that looks ridiculous. I do have several complaints about this episode but Banpei-kun's behavior is none of them: His selection of attack methods is reasonable as well as funny, and allowing the audience to read his actions on his internal screen is a great idea. Banpei-kun learning with each new experience and even rewriting his program is done reasonably, as part of this is basically Belldandy's influence on him (and on all beings).
I use to like Marller's appearances. But her long speech this time right before the first battle, explaining all her evil plans to the audience exclusively, is something I hate about many shows, most notably Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon - this is a lot more childish than I was hoping this series to be. Compare this to Belldandy's speech to Banpei-kun half-way though this episode which completely makes sense (as the robot is in standby-mode). Then again, if Marller is in the show you may look forward to interesting action scenes!
Belldandy knowing Banpei-kun's name at their first meeting I consider a continuation flaw (nobody told her so until this moment, and she didn't know what was up in the room). Except for this and for the limitation of her part in this episode she has strong appearances ("I hope you can eat someday") - whereas poor Keiichi (wearing a helmet during most of this episode) serves as mere slapstick target in most of his scenes this time.


[AstroNerdBoy -- 27 April 2005]

On the whole, I rather enjoyed the episode. As Devil Doll stated, Mara's "here's my evil plans" was annoying. The most annoying part was Belldandy staying on the phone for three minutes talking to no one. That made me just want to SCREAM! Meanwhile Mara is attacking her sister, but Belldandy is blathering to nothing on the phone. I know Belldandy can be a bit thick at times, but I don't recall her being that thick in the manga. Ugh! I was disappointed that Belldandy's little spell on Banpei-kun in the manga wasn't used in the anime. As it was, the anime doesn't make it that clear as to how Banpei-kun developes emotions. It gives an explaination, but it didn't feel right to me.

On the plus side, I enjoyed Skuld's creation of Banpei-kun. I really enjoyed her battle Mara. It makes Skuld a stronger character in my opinion and should the anime cover the Lord or Terror arc, it should come to play there.

While there are more pluses than minuses, I'm very disappointed that I continue to find so many minuses in this episode.


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