Valkyria Chronicles – 18
At Isara’s funeral, Welkin surprises everyone by asking them to forget about her and just do their best as members of the Gallia militia. Lamar ends up lashing out at Welkin because he blames Welkin for her death, and Faldio has to restrain him. Welkin, however, doesn’t react emotionally, and even after two of his men try to raise his spirits by finding what they think is a rare bug, he responds to them coolly. Rosie meanwhile remains haunted by Isara’s death, and she can still remember how Isara died in her arms. Isara’s last words were about how she was happy to have been able to hear Rosie’s singing once, and she had died before Rosie could sing to her again. Wracked by guilt, Rosie tries to give the doll to Welkin, but he feels that it’s hers and coldly tells her not to blame herself. A little later, Damon visits Squad 7 because he had heard about the smokescreen shells they used, and he’s not happy to find out that the only person who knew how to make them is dead. What really pisses him off is seeing the Darcsen cloth draped over the Edelweiss in Isara’s memorial, and when he tries to remove it and stomp on it, Rosie stops him. Before this can escalate too far, Welkin apologies and takes responsibility for everything, so Damon gives him two days to figure out the process for making the smokescreen shells or else face punishment.
Later that night, Alicia finds some of the other squad members digging a hole to exact some revenge on Damon. Since she isn’t able to stop them, Alicia goes to Welkin, but he refuses to do anything and is instead just prepared to take responsibility for whatever happens. Alicia tries to plead with him because she knows that he’s still hurting from Isara’s death, but he responds coldly again and asks her to leave him alone. She surprises him by refusing and by confessing that she likes him, and she then runs out in tears. Along the way, she bumps into Faldio and drops the piece of ragnite that he gave her. Faldio notices that the ragnite is glowing, but it stops after he picks it up, and Alicia fills him in on what’s going on. Since she doesn’t want him bothering Welkin, Faldio goes and talks to the members of Squad 7 who are digging the hole. Instead of trying to stop them though, he points out that they’re being inefficient. They have a good way of embarrassing Damon, but it’s not the best because the regular army is full of people like him. Therefore, Faldio believes that what they should do is to keep winning until peace is achieved – that’s the only way to repay Isara’s death.
Around this same time, Rosie pays a visit to Isara’s grave and finds Lamar there. After placing the doll on the grave, she decides to sing for Isara. Faldio meanwhile goes to talk with Welkin, and when Welkin admits to feeling that he’s not qualified to call himself a commander because he couldn’t protect Isara, Faldio turns serious. His own squad has suffered its share of casualties, but Faldio points out that he’s not lamenting that he wasn’t able to protect them. He calls Welkin out for being an idiot immersed in self-pity and then punches Welkin after Welkin points out that Faldio is still there for everyone.
Why is it that at every turn, Faldio is portrayed to be a better protagonist than Welkin? This isn’t really a complaint about Faldio though as it is frustration over Welkin. I hated Welkin’s passive attitude and coldness towards everyone this episode, and I cheered when Faldio finally punched him. The problem is that, unless Welkin does a complete about-face next episode and starts to improve, he runs the risk of having built up too much ill-will in the audience (or at least in me) to overcome in the number of episodes there are left. Right now, I feel like Alicia should just dump him and hook up with Faldio instead. Speaking of which though, I was surprised to see her actually admit her feelings for Welkin this episode. I didn’t think there’d be more progress in their relationship until after Welkin got out of this rut.
The thing I did like about this episode was how they went back and showed Isara’s last moments. That was appropriately touching, though I do think the effect was diminished somewhat by putting it in this episode instead of in last episode. Rosie’s singing made for a nice scene too later on, and that particular song makes her voice seem hauntingly beautiful. It’s good enough to be used as a special ED or something. In any case, looking forward, the story seems to want to linger on Isara a bit more next episode (probably to allow Welkin to come to terms with her death) and then move on with maybe Zaka as the new mechanic.