FREEZING – 09
「Godspeed of the East」
I wasn’t sure what to make of Kugimiya Rie cast to play Cathy Lockharte at first, but she brought out the best of the powerful yet soft-spoken Pandora and left me thinking this is her new calling in anime. Less loud, violent, little girls and more kind ones like this would probably make me look forward to her roles again, which I haven’t been able to do for some time now. She’s been typecast and milked for all she’s worth in them, which has overshadowed her actual talent to play a wide range of characters. Hopefully this will mark the start of changes to came, despite my reserved expectations about it.
As mentioned last time, this episode coincides with where I was finally able to put down the manga during my research for the season preview. All of it was entirely new to me, including the “Godspeed of the East” herself. The quick introduction of the second coming of Kazuya’s sister followed by her subsequent downfall did leave me wondering how much material was shuffled around though. Much like episode seven, it wasn’t the least bit jarring and even fleshed out Cathy’s character rather well, highlighting her aspirations of becoming a novelist and her previous encounter with Satellizer that struck fear in her, so it was mostly the feeling that a lot was covered that had me thinking that way. A quick skim of the manga afterward showed that to be true, with various scenes shuffled around and extra characters replaced with ones we already know to help condense the story.
In that regard, I must say this adaptation is a good example of straying from the source material yet adhering to it enough so that it doesn’t feel like the screenwriters were trying to change it into their own story. In this particular case, one may assume that’s because I saw the anime first and had that as the basis to go on, but I actually had the same feeling about the aforementioned seventh episode that covered seven chapters I had read beforehand. Having seen it both ways and felt positive about each time, I’m compelled to throw out the thought that one shouldn’t be so fixated to original source material if they were exposed to it first, as it’s a really closed-minded way to lose sight of how changes can be better from an anime standpoint. Taking Freezing for example, I never expected the story to get to this point in a mere 12-episode adaptation, but the producers have proven that they can do a lot with very little time.
As for the episode itself, I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a character like Cathy, who’s grown up with expectations of being the most powerful Pandora and inherited Kazuha’s stigmata to become it, when in reality she’s a sweet girl who doesn’t want any part of it. That aspect didn’t really make her any more complex, but it did make the reasons she explained to her senior Milena Marius (Oohara Sayaka) a lot more captivating. It was largely in part to trying to understand how someone so powerful could have no confidence in her resolve — to the point that she admits to being terrified of the battlefield. While it was pretty understandable given that it was Satellizer’s “never say die” attitude she was comparing herself to, Cathy’s backstory served as good foreshadowing for the second half when she and various other Chevalier class Pandora from East Genetics were sent in to deal with the four Novas that appeared simultaneously.
I was pretty much convinced that Cathy would mess up her role as a finisher, even with her Quadruple Accel and all, but I don’t think anyone can blame her given that this is a new strain of Nova they’ve never encountered before. I somehow figured her miss would serve as a means to re-spark her resolve, so you can probably imagine my surprise when she was absorbed by one of the Novas shortly after. It came as a bit of a disappointment too since I had already grown fond of her character, even though she’ll make a return in the Nova Form mentioned in the preview. With all the focus on Cathy, it was pretty easy to forget about Satellizer, who is clearly disheartened over the idea that Kazuya only wants to be with her because she reminds him of her deceased sister. He sure knows how to bring down the Untouchable Queen unintentionally, even with his words alone. Anyway, that should be an interesting subplot in the final three episodes.
* I haven’t been posting links to the end cards each episode, but I have been capping them. Sister Margaret gets the nod this week and shows us the hairstyle she’s been hiding.