Soukou no Strain – 03
A seriously damaged Gambee arrives in the hanger bay and the pilot requires immediate medical attention. A medic named Becky is met with an outpouring of blood when she removes the pilot’s helmet and finds Sara. Running out of time, she panics trying to find the switch for the seat belt, and the nearby instructor soon declares that Sara Cruz is dead. Fortunately, all of this was only part of training. Sara and her classmates are currently aboard the warship Libertad for their sub-light-speed maneuvers and have been away from Basion for four days, though a month’s time has actually already passed on that planet (because of time dilation). After her shower, Sara once again finds her uniform torn to shreds, so she has no choice but to wear her bloodied flight suit all the way back to her room to change. Along the way, Lottie attempts to talk to her again, but Sara barely speaks back. Lottie reveals to Jessie afterwards that she’s interested in Sara because she feels that Sara resembles herself.
Upon her return, Sara has to endure the insults from her roommates until she’s done changing clothes. She then heads for the hanger where Emily is kept and where Melchisedec and Carmichael are working on the Strain. Emily has been cleaned up and Sara has even made a lace headband for the doll. Melchisedec meanwhile has been having problems with the repairs, but he has a lot of faith that if the Strain could move, it could sway the tide of war. When the time for the sub-light-speed combat maneuvers finally comes, the Gambee pilots learn that they are being relegated to being gun batteries because of their limited mobility. Unfortunately, Sara’s Gambee doesn’t even start up and so she’s forced to sit out the exercise. From the control room, she listens as their instructor tells the others not to get separated from the mothership and not to attack directly ahead because they’re traveling at sub-light-speed. Over on one of the escort ships flying ahead of the Libertad, the crew has detected TUMORs, though at first they don’t think that the enemy will attack a ship with no strategic value. By the time they see Deague approaching from the front, it’s already too late for the escort ship.
The news quickly reaches the Libertad and preparations begin for a real battle. Sara wants to help out, but she’s got no Gambee to pilot. When the second escort ship launches its’ four Strains, the Gloire-type Strain accompanying the Tumors quickly destroys them all and the ship too. Knowing that it’s Ralph Werec attacking, the commander of the Libertad orders all of the students to sortie, including the Strain pilots. While the Strains are to go ahead, the Gambees are to defend the mothership from the Tumors. The Strains have no trouble launching from their special catapults, but the inexperienced Gambee pilots have a hard time making their way through the access tunnels to their posts. When Sara learns that there’s a Strain among the enemy that could be Ralph Werec, her eyes go wide with shock. Since she can’t go out to space, she frustratingly questions why she’s there. In the battle outside, Lottie watches as one of her allied Strains accidentally kills itself trying to shoot Tumors that are in directly front of it. She personally doesn’t care about the Tumors and wants instead to find Ralph Werec, for whom she has a deep hatred. A group of the Tumors manages to reach the Libertad and comes face to face with the deployed Gambees. Isabella becomes their first victim as she’s pulled off the surface of the ship and blown up.
The Gloire-type meanwhile continues to destroy Strains and the damage reports start to pour in: the Libertad’s acceleration rate is decreasing and they’ve lost a chunk of their forces. Lottie’s friends Jessie, Dickon, and Carris are all still alive, though Lottie herself is still after Ralph Werec. She finally finds him after he destroys another pair of Strains and heads in his direction. Sara meanwhile has gotten a certain feeling and has come back to the hanger where Emily sits. She intends to board the Strain, but Carmichael points out that she doesn’t have a Mimic. In response, Sara claims that she does indeed have one: Emily. Carmichael continues to resist because Emily is someone else’s Mimic, but Melchisedec thinks that it’s ok for her to go ahead. With his permission, Sara takes Emily and plugs the doll into the front of the cockpit. She knows that a Strain cannot be moved with another person’s Mimic, but she also felt that Emily was calling to her earlier. When she asks Emily to allow her to see her brother, Sara suddenly finds herself naked in a tunnel of light. Much to Melchisedec and Carmichael’s surprise, the Strain starts moving, meaning that the two have the miracle that they were just talking about. After her Strain is released from the back of the Libertad, Sara heads for her brother.
Boy am I glad that Isabella was one of the first to die since she was such a despicable girl. In a way, it’s probably thanks to Isabella’s sabotage that Sara’s Gambee didn’t start and she wasn’t sent out to be slaughtered like a grunt as the others were. Oddly enough, Isabella and Mary from the first episode were both voiced by Tanaka Rie and both are already dead.
In any case, Ralph has attacked again and Sara gets an unexpected chance to confront her brother. This time though, she has the mysterious Strain (called RAM-DASS) and the mysterious Emily on her side. I had thought Emily would come to life or something by now, but so far the doll has been pretty lifeless, unless you count Sara feeling that it was calling to her. The RAM-DASS meanwhile looks like it could go head-to-head with Ralph’s Gloire-type, but I doubt that Sara’s up to his skill level. And with Lottie also after Ralph, I get the feeling that the two girls might end up competing against each other to get to Ralph. Or maybe Lottie will want to kill him and Sara will try to protect him because she doesn’t want her brother to die or something. Speculation aside, the preview for next episode does seem to show Lottie quite angry at Sara, so something is going to happen between them.
Finally, I have to say that I wish that this episode hadn’t ended in the middle of a battle because that just makes me want to see more. So far, Soukou no Strain has been quite impressive as a series.