Saw Eva 2.0 at the theater yesterday (it was the last night they were showing it, and I'd almost missed it). I will say it was fun watching with a selection of other Eva fans and that Funimation came out pretty decently quickly with a subtitled release (even if it made me cringe in spots--not seriously so, only because I dislike some of their conventions).
Anyway, that's part of why this act is late.
So we start off this installment with Tilaka and Kohl. Wow, how long has it been? Probably not since the end of "Ashes" have we had a passage from their perspective. This, to me, is part of what I've tried to accomplish with Identity, actually. It's a big story. There are lots of pieces in motion. You can leave a couple characters aside for the better part of four or five installments and then come back to them. While some characters may have a little bit more of the spotlight than others, they all have a piece and a role to play.
Of course, it's not like Kohl's been doing nothing. Here, we have to play a little catch-up with what his thought process is. We can see the Sorcerers are starting to really respect and fear Ranma, something Kohl is surely fighting against. And once again, his priority in protecting Tilaka overrides his ability to consider Tilaka's suggestion. Irony, of course, will have it that that's exactly what Tilaka ends up doing.
Probably the meat of this installment is the confrontation, the exposition, with Keema. Let it be known: Keema is more dangerous than a simple liar. She tries to weave the truth with fiction, making them impossible to disentangle. What do you think is true about her story? Anything? Nothing?
What's probably the most surprising about this passage is how Akane is, ostensibly, still under Keema's control. It isn't readily apparent how that could've happened, though I do try to give some hints. How Keema pulled this off will be explained--it has a very concrete explanation--but the nature of the story precludes that explanation from being revealed just this second.
On the ensemble nature of the cast, it's time we got back to Ranma, too, after he'd been missing for a couple acts. I know I've received some comments about the reactions and thought processes of characters exhibiting some measure of wangst--or that is, a particular, irritating type of whining angst that seems overdone or unjustified. To that extent, I don't agree. I put the characters through a lot, yet seldom do they whine to others or try to evoke pity. Ranma particularly is the kind of person who holds things in that really bother him (he can whine when he thinks he's getting a raw deal, but that's a different matter). I'm sure wangst can happen in internal monologue, but I think, as a rule, it's generally less irritating because the character can prove they're dealing with it with actions that are less, well, whiny. Can one really be blamed for their thoughts?
But I digress. When I received said comments, I immediately thought of how this scene with Ranma would, well, compound that notion. But again, the difference I see is that, while Ranma gives in for a moment to anguish, it's only for a moment, and he's back to business, knowing what he must do.
I had some level of cleanup to do with this installment. Kohl's scene at the beginning I tweaked to have Tilaka seem to sense the impending trouble. Ranma's scene with Surma is fixed to make the distance between the ground and the rocky obstruction in the tunnels more consistent with earlier. Overall, though, I think we're well setup for Ranma to exact payback on Keema--at least, once he can extricate himself from Cologne, Shampoo, and Mousse's combined assault. And, naturally, one knows now not to mess with Tilaka. She's very bad news for your sanity.