I wish they broadcasted (or simulcasted) this show at a higher resolution than 360p. Encoding "real life" cleanly is a lot more difficult than encoding animation. So the show does not scale terribly well on a larger screen. It’s fine for most scenes, but anytime there’s action, you’ll see blurring and some encoding breakup. But I digress. The third episode of Moyashimon introduces Haruka’s whip and Aoi Mutou.
I’m not sure how faithful the anime was to the manga, but the latest live action episode veers even further from the anime. While Mutou’s lovelorn backstory and her position as president of the UFO club is still intact, the circumstances of her arrival and Tadayasu’s meeting with the UFO club is almost completely different. They’re not terrible changes, but the anime counterpart to this episode was funnier.
Each episode of Moyashimon has started off a little off kilter, with what looks like a movie parody or something. This episode starts off with a mystery girl hitchhiking on some dirt roads, before we dive into the next "normal" scene with Prof. Itsuki salvaging his rice field after the UFO club’s crop circle vandalism. We then meet the members of the UFO club – probably representing the gross otaku stereotype – with the most annoying one randomly chanting "Bentora, bentora space people" (is that a reference from something?). One of the things 2D doesn’t do well is show people at their grossest. The artwork’s always just a little too clean. Not a problem for 3D. Gooey sound effects only add to the effect.
I eagerly anticipated the introduction of Mutou, because IMO, she’s the hottest 2D character ever. Perfection. So I wondered how she’d be in 3D (yeah, yeah I know I could see her in the OP, but that’s not the same). And my verdict is… 2D was better. But 2D was probably incomparable. 3D Mutou is still a bishoujo though and shines much more once she dons the cheerleader outfit. I laughed at how dirty she was supposed to be, except her hair still seemed shiny and fresh like a morning sunrise.
While the show stays true to Mutou’s backstory – lived with her boyfriend, returned home one day to find that he ditched with another girl, refused to believe it and instead believed that he was abducted by aliens, leading her to join the UFO club – we never really hear why she was out hitchhiking. Unlike in the anime, it doesn’t seem as if she was doing any research for Itsuki. She surely didn’t return with any fermented goods or killer bacteria. The show also doesn’t explain why she shows up later wearing a cheerleader outfit (she borrowed it from a friend). I guess we’re supposed to assume she’s got a fetish or something.
With Mutou hung over, Tadayasu and Hazuki head to the UFO club to tell them that Mutou is quitting the club, but not before the club members try to recruit the two of them – getting their grubby hands all over Hazuki along the way. But when Hazuki lays the hammer down, the club unveils their secret weapon – vacuum packed dirt from a UFO landing site. Once the aliens return to collect the dirt (hey, no one ever said otaku had to be smart), Mutou will clearly see that the UFO club is more important than her studies.
Back in reality, Tadayasu notices that the vacuum packed dirt is harboring some fiercely lethal germs. It’s really quite convenient (and polite actually) that the bacteria willingly state their killer intentions. Tadayasu informs Haruka, who gets the quarantine team ready for obliteration. And while the UFO club gets preoccupied by Hazuki’s femininity, Tadayasu uses the moment to steal the dirt, and pass it to Hazuki who escapes with the dirt.
Haruka and the quarantine arrive to blast the dirt into oblivion under the scorching heat of a flamethrower. But just when the UFO club had lost all hope, a huge spaceship arrives… and proceeds to send out a scout ship. UFO club win? Nope. Just a little Itsuki sensei revenge. Itsuki guides the little scout ship into the UFO club building and proceeds to blow the building up, Lethal Weapon-style. Don’t mess with a man’s rice field.
That was a really bizarre end to the worst episode of the show so far. I don’t mind if the live action version strays from the anime, but I also don’t want to see the show turn into some outrageous farce. Even up to the ending, the episode wasn’t too bad (too much UFO club though – they were really annoying), but that spaceship was just too far out there. I know Tadayasu’s ability isn’t realistic, but Itsuki building a spaceship makes no sense whatsoever. The man studies fermentation, not electronic wizardry. Let’s hope the next episode gets back on track.