Toonami Airdate: September 26th, 2015
There were a LOT of coconuts throughout this episode.
Taking place across the course of 5 days (from April 28th to May 2nd), the episode starts off showing what happened in the aftermath of Atsuko’s confrontation with Michiko back in episode 10. When the police learned about what she did, Atusko gets reassigned to working in Ilha Azul, a job that mainly involves working around the Temanaga Ruins and in the nearby forest. One day while cleaning up garbage around the ruins, she has a flashback to when she was still friends with Michiko, on an occasion where the two of them attempt to rob a store. Atsuko gets caught by the owner, but Michiko manages to offer a distraction so she can get away. Back in the present day, a woman who looks suspiciously like Michiko is brought into the police station having been accused of theft. Taking pity on the woman, whose name is revealed to be Vanessa, Atsuko takes her into town and buys her a sandwich before walking away and leaving her behind. The next day, Atsuko’s in the forest on a mission to help rescue a child’s lost pet, when Vanessa appears and offers her coconuts in exchange for the sandwich. She learns of Atsuko’s assignment, and when she sees the monkey up in the trees, Vanessa throws one of her coconuts, knocking it unconscious and allowing Atsuko to take the monkey back. Later that night at the station, Atsuko and her new captain are talking, and she asks about Vanessa and what her deal is. The captain then begins to explain a legend about the Temanaga Ruins: it’s often believed that there is a highly valuable ancient golden pot hidden with the ruins that can only be accessed via hidden passages in the water channel. Vanessa’s father attempted to find the gold before, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He then drowned a year before the present day, and Vanessa ended up running a coconut plantation. The next day, Vanessa and Atsuko meet up again, and after apologizing for the incident with the monkey, she leads Atsuko to her “secret spot”: a beach-like area away from the ruins and outside of the forest. Vanessa goes swimming topless for a bit, and when she finishes, she begins to ask about Atsuko’s criminal history, suggesting that Atsuko just own up to her own crookedness instead of trying to hide it.
Vanessa then reveals that she wants to team up with Atsuko to steal the fabled golden pot from the Temanaga Ruins. She’s initially hesitant to the idea, but she’s somewhat inclined to go along with it after meeting up with Vanessa again later and learning about her intentions. In addition to wanting to find the golden pot, Vanessa wants to track down an old boyfriend of hers who was an aspiring musician (this scene is, of course, accompanied by GUITAR TWANGS). That night, the two of them finally attempt to break into the ruins via the water channels. They make their way deep inside, but Atsuko has second thoughts and suggests that the two of them go back. Vanessa doesn’t want to quit since they’re so deep in already, but Atsuko ends up knocking her out after she gets a little too belligerent. Trying to go deeper into the ruins on her own, Atsuko begins to pass out, having a brief hallucination of the pot before passing out completely. They somehow managed to get out alive, as the next day they’re in the forest lamenting their failure. Vanessa looks up to the sky, comments that it’s a beautiful day, and then she leaves to go find her boyfriend. Atsuko then flashes back to her and Michiko on a rooftop where Michiko looks up to the sky and comments in a manner similar to Vanessa. The episode ends with Atsuko meeting up her commanding officer Ricardo, determined once again to track down Michiko and Hiroshi.
“Goldfish of the Marsh” was a very interesting episode from a character perspective. The meat of the episode is built off of the character dynamic between Atsuko and new character Vanessa, who reminds her quite a bit of Michiko in terms of appearance and stubborn personality. Much like Michiko, Vanessa’s ultimate goal is about tracking down a man that she was intensely in love with. The plot of the episode, in a nutshell, is very much meant to mirror the struggle of the two titular leads: Michiko and Hatchin are both attempting to track down Hiroshi, a man who may not even be alive anymore. They’re both relying on slim leads and blind faith to track him down, which is very much what Atsuko and Vanessa do when trying to find the golden pot. It’s constantly stated that its existence is a legend, but Vanessa’s hell-bent on getting to it, believing that obtaining the pot will lead to some kind of salvation and sense of personal freedom. Meanwhile, Atsuko has to deal with the personal conflict of possibly never having any real sense of freedom. Ricardo and Vanessa both suggest the idea that her criminal past is a reflection of who she truly is and that she’ll never escape it no matter how hard she tries. A great episode, and it looks like we’ll be getting back to the main plot next week, hopefully.