Wrapped up the final episode of Mission E, and I’ve got to say, that was aggravating. If ever a series needed 13 episodes instead of 12 it was this one; the last episode omitted both the opening and ending credits, and still cut it down to the absolute bare minimum. Honestly, the series should’ve either cut several less-vital episodes out of the middle or gone into a full second season; the only legitimate reason I can think of for a finale that rushed is that they’d planned on stretching the plot out over two seasons but only got one funded.
There are sub-plots and loose ends left lying all over the place, including some hints at substantial backstory with one of the villains that don’t even appear until the final episode. Even the main plot feels like it got shoved into conclusion mode way before it was ready. Oh, it tried to give an in-story reason—the main villain’s backers decided to get uppity and forced him to play his hand early—but the series just didn’t feel anywhere near ready to wrap up.
Or rather, it didn’t wrap up. Even if you accept the rather abrupt, massively unsatisfying, and left-wide-open main plot, it does nothing to conclude such major things as what happens to Milis or anything resembling a satisfying progression of Chinami and Kotaro’s too-shy-to-get-anything-going-without-being-forced relationship (though you have to love Chinami’s flat-out order in the next-to-last episode in an attempt). Don’t even get me started on the fact that we never even get to meet Sonomi’s husband and kids, Yuma (the shrine maiden) not getting anywhere near enough screen time and her significant other showing up for all of five seconds in the last episode, or the whole Brimberg background hinted at earlier going nowhere at all. I’m also rather disappointed that after Code E had such a prominent role for Chinami’s family that Maori’s family is a complete afterthought. If she’d been a little older that would have been forgivable, but she’s not, and initially it made motions about doing something in the same area that it never delivered on. Heck, they didn’t even pay lip-service to the fact that they’ve got a minor playing secret agent without letting her parents in on any details whatsoever.
That last one is particularly bad since they established Oz as pretty much the worst secret organization ever. Worst as in they’re just plain too nice—they invite their captive enemy to the Christmas party and have picnics with the lackeys. Having them go out of their way to give report cards or something to Maori’s parents would have been fun and funny, instead of having Oz come across as being far sketchier than there was any indication they were. Ignoring their poor parental consent policies, however, that was one of the things that was fun about the series—Oz and the heroes are terrible superspies, and the bad guys aren’t afraid to point it out. But, they’re ok with that—that’s what you get when people like Chinami and Kotaro try to go badass, and that’s how they run things.
I also liked that the evil organization is neither all that evil, nor all that secret—they’re just a big corporation with some mildly unacceptable science experiments going on to try and get a competitive edge. Turns out they really don’t want to take over the world, or even do anything too illegal—they just happened to hire a mad scientist rather more malicious than the board intended. I found it particularly amusing when one of those sinister conversations between shadowy corporate backers pulling strings behind the scenes takes place, and you realize that they’re actually trying to stop the mad scientist from doing anything too bad. Ends up they’re greedy and shadowy, not evil. Again, amusing for the relative low-key-ness of it (Mission E retains some of Code E’s mellow groove, just in an entirely different way).
Other strong points are some decent character development with initially-dead-to-the-world Type E Maori coming out of her shell, unexpected romance, and entirely expected if completely incompetent attempted romance with Chinami and Kotaro. One of the best scenes in the whole show—practically worth the price of admission—is about halfway through when Chinami gets asked about her plans for the evening—nudge, nudge, wink, wink—and smiles blankly for far too long before realization slowly creeps across her face, and then she nearly boils herself to death in the bath she’s sitting in thanks to her inadvertent Type-E microwave effect.
Speaking of which, while the Type Es in this series have much better control of their abilities than Chinami did in high school, the show still does a great job of dropping hints as to mental state by the side effects of them. Everything from an excited Chinami sparking a code red panic on the loading dock as the minions frantically try to get the expensive hardware away from her to a great little bit that goes by so quickly you might miss it—a gunshot startles Maori, causing the lights in the room to flash for an instant.
It’s not that the series couldn’t have told its story in 12 episodes, it’s that it seemed to be going out of its way to introduce sub-plots and drop hints about backstory for many of the secondary characters, which it proceeded to follow up on exactly none of. Still, as bizarre a follow-up to Code-E as it was, and for all it blew at the end, it’s still a lot of fun, and I did enjoy it. I just really, really wish they would make a sequel. Maybe a prequel that fits between Code-E and Mission-E, for that matter.
Aside: I’ve finished my fansub of the final episode, which I’m a bit surprised to note took approximately as long as I expected—about an hour and 45 minutes to do the timing, about four and a half hours translation and on-the-fly touchup (I just translate directly onto the subtitles to save time), and another 30 minutes tidying up. I’ll probably spend another hour tweaking, but that’s not too bad. Had Akemi actually watched the rest of the series it might have gone a little bit faster, as would it have if I wasn’t rusty working with the software I was using.
If somebody wants to help distribute it drop a note.