Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen – 18
Well it looks like the writers decide to do a bait-and-switch, as the “NR” in “NR Syndrome” stands for “Nanjou Reika” after all. From our standpoint, it doesn’t appear to change our understanding of anything up to this point though. Everything that we know about the U-Link System and the current Trail Krieger prototypes still leads back to the original experiment that claimed Reika’s life. What’s new is how the data of Argevollen’s battles with Sturm Alpha is leading to the development of “Perphevollen”, codename “Akatsuki”. Judging from the final scene with a hanger full of drone-like Trail Kriegers and the preview where they’re seen swarming a Seiran, I’m unsure as to whether Perphevollen will function as a “hive mind” like Reika’s original protoype or whether it’s completely unrelated to these Trail Kriegers. At the moment, I’m thinking that it’ll be the former given the drone-like heads, but whatever the case, I’m puzzled as to why they’re attacking Arandas’ units. Cayenne spoke rather metaphorically when he compared raising fish to manipulating Samonji, so my guess is that Samonji decides to oppose Cayenne and not just be someone’s pet.
On the Ingelmia side, I have to say I’m quite surprised to see Lontar from Intelligence assassinate Zarl. It happened so abruptly and I figured there would be more to Zarl’s character than simply acting as a stepping stone for another character to usurp control of the Ingelmia army. While it was foreshadowed quite heavily that Holmes and Garp were going to do something about Zarl, I just wasn’t expecting the guy that we saw briefly in episode three to do it for them. However, between Zarl and Holmes, I do feel that the latter is a bit more righteous (…even though they both scheme quite a bit). I guess the only thing we need now is for something to happen to Cayenne so that Samonji bumps heads with Holmes directly and in the process, finds some way for Arandas and Ingelmia to reach a truce. So far, the story’s made it fairly clear that Samonji and Holmes are the commanding officers to watch for on each side, so it’s only natural to expect them both to play a profound role before everything’s said and done.
Last but not least is Tokimune. I said last week that it’d be a pretty gutsy move if the writers actually killed him off, but I can’t say that I’m disappointed that they didn’t. I am however a bit conflicted about how memories of his older sister is what “keeps him going” through all his hardships and the effects of the U-Link System. The reason being, I’ve only seen glimpses of their past (like we did here) and they haven’t been enough to get a real sense of how close they were. I don’t know, it could just be me though.