Earl and Fairy: Episode 1

15 03 2009

Hakushaku to Yousei – Earl and Fairy.  It’s based on light novels.  It is part mystery, part fantasy, and part romance.  I happened to see the first episode and I thought I’d give the rest a try, despite how silly it looked, because I like European settings, as bizarre as they usually are in anime.  I suspected I was in for a pure romance novel, but I gave it a chance…  It’s really not entirely terrible, but in general the pacing is not very good (a common problem with series made off of light novels), the characters are, for the most part, just kind of depressing in their codependence and sociopathy, and the whole thing plays like a bodice-ripper.  If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll probably like it.  Either way, you’ll have more color terms added to your vocabulary than you ever wanted.

Let’s start with a summary of Episode 1.  Because it’s the first episode, I’ve gone over it with a fine-toothed comb, but  don’t worry, in future reviews I’ll leave more WTF moments for you, the valiant reader/watcher to discover!

England, the 19th century.  Some shadowy-faced guy is interrogating some other guy.  The shadowy-faced guy (who sounds like he might be hot!) kills the other guy, but not before the other guy tells him that a fairy doctor like Lydia Carlton, who lives in Scotland, might be able to help him find the Noble Sword of Merrow, whatever that is.  Meanwhile, in some bizarre alternate Scotland where it is sunny, red-haired, green-eyed fairy doctor Lydia is busy freaking all the regular people out by talking to and about invisible things, including a “fairy cat” named Nico.  Then the opening animation tells us that there are a bunch of guys who are going to pursue Lydia but Lydia only likes the blonde one with grey eyes who looks like he’s up to no good.

Thankfully, Lydia's father (left) is NOT one of the guys pursuing her.

Thankfully, Lydia's father (left) is NOT one of the guys pursuing her.

Given a choice, Lydia will apparently pick the biggest jerk.

Given a choice, Lydia will apparently pick the biggest jerk.

Well, we know how it ends, then, right?  So I can just skip watching the rest?  No?  Aw ._.  A narration by Lydia’s dad tells us that long ago there was an Earl Ibrazel who was recognized by both the fairy and the human nations.  Okay.  Skip to the present day, where Lydia is being escorted on a ship to her father’s workplace in England by a Mr. Huskley.  Nico, being oh-so-rascally and refusing to pretend to be a regular cat, reads a newspaper article about an on-the-run murderer with “ash mauve” eyes, whatever the hell that means, while Lydia gets emo when Huskley says that he recognized her by her “rust-colored” hair.  If the weird color terms are starting to annoy you at this point, GET OUT.  IT ONLY GETS WORSE.  SO MUCH WORSE.

Huskley installs Lydia in an expensive-looking room, which contains a suspicious-looking armoire.  Sure enough, the armoire would seem to contain a fugitive murderer, who takes Lydia hostage.  Here’s our first clue that this series is going to be making me sigh a lot: he grabs Lydia from behind and covers her mouth – and then we get treated to some extra animation of his hands tightening on her mouth and body.  Okay.  So…she’s a hostage, but it’s kind of sexy, apparently.  Anyhow, Lydia is initially frightened, but is immediately reassured when the guy tells her that Huskley is a bad guy’s servant and that he (the fugitive) got totally screwed by him somehow.  Oh!  Well, then, that’s okay!  The fugitive begs for Lydia’s help and lets her go.  Lydia then immediately notices his “beautiful ash mauve eyes”.  Let’s keep a running tally, shall we?  ASH MAUVE: 2.  Anyway, Lydia notices that this guy is not in good shape and agrees to help him so that he doesn’t get killed by Huskley.  The man smiles and replies, “Thank you for believing in me…pretty caramel-colored hair girl.”  CARAMEL-COLORED HAIR: 1.  Lydia is immediately completely won over.  It would seem that she has some kind of complex about her hair and the color term that’s used to describe it is extremely important.  That’s not dumb at all!

So Lydia tricks Huskley into going one way while she and Mr. Criminal go the other.  Huskley and co. see them as they run away and a chase ensues.  When Mr. Criminal and Lydia are getting off the ship, one of Huskley’s goons grabs Lydia, but Mr. Criminal punches the guy, or knees him, or…something.  There are a lot of sparkles, I’m not really sure what’s going on.  Then he looks back at Lydia and they both sparkle.  Bad guy falls off the ship with a scream and it is all very touching.

ONE!

ONE!

 

TWO!

TWO!

THREE!

THREE!

Finally, they manage to get away to some room…somewhere.  Really, who knows where we are now?  Oh well, guess it doesn’t matter!  Nico doubts the man’s intentions, and Lydia agrees to ask him whether or not he’s a villain intent on deceiving her.  That’s a good idea, right?  But before she has the chance to put this brilliant plan into action, Lydia FALLS ASLEEP.  GOOD JOB.

When she wakes up, Mr. Criminal is now a blonde.  With ash mauve eyes.  Hmm.  A dark-skinned servant named Raven, with eyes that will probably be described at some point as “ocean emerald” or something similar appears with a change of clothes.  When he notices the rope burns on Mr. Criminal’s wrists, his iris shrinks (someone needs to tell animators that PUPILS can contract, but irises CANNOT) with surprise and dismay, and we hear a…I don’t know…”freaky” sound effect that I guess is telling us that he’s REALLY REALLY MAD ON THE INSIDE.  Mr. Criminal tells him that there’s no need to kill anyone over such a small thing.  Raven agrees, but doesn’t look convinced.  Lydia is a little weirded out by how casually they’re discussing the possibility of murder, but forgets all about it when Mr. Criminal reveals he knows her name, and introduces himself as “Earl Edgar Ashenbert.”  Lydia is impressed, then is unimpressed, then decides she needs to leave, but as it turns out, “some room somewhere” is apparently on an already-sailing boat.

Much like these fellows!

Much like these fellows!

Lydia, incensed, asks if Edgar’s capture was staged to get her onto the boat.  Edgar tells her that it was real, but that he did it to get close to her.  Lydia is outraged that he would ask for her trust and then betray her; Edgar says that yes, he wants her to trust and to aid him.  More convincing is obviously needed, but then Edgar comes out with a baffling “Dinner will start without us if we don’t hurry.”  Well, you just kidnapped this girl but you don’t want her to be mad about it.  Further explanation should really be a high priority, but god help us if Milord’s blood sugar drops!  Edgar instructs Raven to put Lydia into a purty dress, and leaves.  Raven’s eyes scan down Lydia’s body, with another creepy sound effect, and then he agrees.  Uhhh.  Okay.

Not creepy at all, Raven!

Not creepy at all, Raven!

In no time at all, Lydia is in a dress, Edgar is in a tux, and Edgar is hitting on Lydia.  Lydia doesn’t like it but really she does!  Tee hee.  At dinner, the other rich people exclaim over Lydia’s beauty, and Edgar spreads rumors about the two of them for no apparent reason.  Well, I know it always gets ME hot when a guy I just met tells everyone we’re doing it!  Soon the conversation turns to Edgar’s heritage, and everyone is amazed that he is descended from the legendary Blue Knight Earl, Lord Ibrazel of the Fairy Kingdom, who pledged his loyalty to King Edward the First of England, giving Edward sovereignty over the Fairy Kingdom.  Everyone thinks that the Fairy Kingdom part is a joke and that Ibrazel was just a guy with a “very British sense of humor” (this actually made me laugh).  Lydia gets mad and insists that the Fairy Kingdom is real; everyone thinks that Lydia is weird, but Edgar, to Lydia’s surprise, says that he believes her.  And then proposes marriage in a roundabout way.  What the hey?  Lydia, somehow, is able to tune out all the bizarre come-ons and is simply touched that he defended her.  There is really a lot that you have to tune out in order to like Edgar.

Lydia goes out onto the deck to consult with Nico, who is busy throwing back shots of something that’s probably not good for cats.  Nico says, very sensibly, that she shouldn’t get involved with Edgar because he’s not a very good person; Lydia replies indignantly, “I think Edgar is very handsome!”  Awesome logical connection there, and of course there’s some good timing as Edgar appears and gloats that she likes him.  Lydia quickly qualifies that she’s only stating the public opinion and doesn’t actually feel anything for him.  Edgar is not at all convinced that she doesn’t want him, but acknowledges that she may have some right to be unhappy with her kidnapper.  You would hope that they might discuss that rather important issue, but then they move right along to “Lydia, who were you talking to just now?”  “Nico!  OH NOW YOU PROBABLY THINK I’M CRAZY WAAAH FINE I DON’T CARE”.  But as the romantic ending theme begins to play and credits begin to roll, Edgar expresses something that may be a belief in her ability to see fairies, and also talks about the beauty of her “pale-green peridot eyes.”  Among other eye-related things.  PERIDOT: 1.

Eventually he gets to the fact that HE can’t see fairies and knows fuck-all about them, which is why he needs her to help him find the Noble Sword of the Merrow, the proof he needs to succeed the Blue Knight Earl.  There’s a riddle that needs to be solved, and other people after the sword, and this is why Edgar needs Lydia’s help.  Quick, we’ve only got 60 seconds, let’s give the viewers some kind of idea of what the series is actually about!  Edgar continues to back the obviously-frightened Lydia up against the rail while Nico watches with vague interest.  Worst familiar ever.

Edgar causes Lydia to fall backwards over the rail, then gets to look cool catching her.  Smooth operator!

Edgar causes Lydia to fall backwards over the rail, then gets to look cool catching her. Smooth operator!


Lydia says that she doesn’t believe that Edgar is descended from the Blue Knight Earl.  Edgar, charmingly, responds by threatening her.  Would she like to swim home?  Of course, he’s not such a villain as to throw her overboard, but she, being broke, will be at the mercy of Huskley’s hounds if Edgar doesn’t protect her.  So…what a lovely fellow!  The episode ends with the BEAUTIFUL ASH MAUVE EYES narrowing menacingly.  I’m getting a good feeling about this pairing, are you getting a good feeling?

Color term summary:

ASH MAUVE x2

PERIDOT x1

RUST-COLORED x1

CARAMEL-COLORED x1

Maybe Edgar will stop being an arrogant jackass in the episodes to come.  I mean, anything is possible.

–Menma

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One response

13 11 2010
dianasweetgirl

i really love this anime…is so cute and intersting

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