Mardock Scramble: The Second Combustion continues right from where the first left off and seems more made to provide back story than action. Œufcoque is mortally wounded and Rune is staring right in the eyes of death as the two are ambushed and cornered by Boiled. Just as he closes in for the kill, Dr. Easter comes to their rescue using an escape pod called the Humpty Dumpty and manages to flee from Boiled. The two recuperate at a special facility called Paradise, which is also the same place Boiled was “reborn.” Despite Paradise being a comfortable haven, Rune chooses to live in the outer world and see justice being served as she, together with Dr. Easter and the recovered Œufcoque, infiltrates one of Shell’s associated casinos after learning where Shell has hidden his memories.
A major distinction between Second Combustion and First Compression is the overall character focus. Clearly not as impressive as the first of the Mardock Scramble trilogy. I’m sure it’s the build up to the final installment of the trilogy and I’m hoping it won’t disappoint. I do think this second movie was more of a buildup for what’s to come next. It’s not as intense as the first, but I think it has a sort of slight-calm-before-the-already-brewing-storm feeling. Many people who have seen the film say the casino scene is the strongest scene. There isn’t much to say about the casino scenes, they start with cards where Dr. Easter and her play the table which seems to have nothing but cheaters sitting, then Ballot goes off to play roulette and gets a bit of philosophy from the table manager.
That said, this is an excellent continuation from where the first film left off. While the spotlight was shown more on Rune and her budding relationship with Œufcoque in the first movie, it is now shifted more toward the supporting cast. We get some answers (finally!) about Easter’s past and Balot’s present, as well as who Boiled really is (though more of that is detailed in the prequel, “Mardock Velocity”, which came out after this first trilogy was published). We see Boiled evolve as well through his lust for regaining Oeufcoque (but not as a partner) and his willingness to stop at nothing to retake the golden mouse. The movie for Ballot wraps up with them getting to the Blackjack tables which seem to be in the more high-class, high bets area.
Mardock Scramble is, to be blunt, pretty amazing, and this episode just helps it along it’s rainbow patterned, thought provoking way on the path of an anime movie trilogy. I guess what really is wonderful about this second movie (at the end of the day), is Balot’s willingness to push forward in her quest for justice against Shell, no matter how much it hurts her. We see the evolution of her as a person, regardless if she’s more than half metal at this point. You have to watch the first film to understand this one, and this film you’ll only find worth watching if you liked the first. On its own though, this film isn’t a standalone and though you can catch on to what is going on, it may feel very shallow to those new to the story. After all, it’s only a hour long.