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« Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen – 23

Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen – 24 (END)

「白銀の意思」 (Shirogane no Ishi)
“Silver Will”

XEBEC’s original series draws to a close, and while it may not stand-out in the eyes of many, it manages to remain atypical until the very end. Almost all anime stereotypes that we’ve come to know were avoided and all the loose ends were wrapped up rather nicely. The writers managed to leave things open-ended for a potential sequel too.

The biggest uncertainty going into this finale was what motivates Samonji to go on a suicide run and it turns out it’s because he feels obligated to look over the U-Link System on Reika’s behalf. To me, it felt like an excuse for Samonji to throw away his life more than anything else, so I was glad to see Tokimune call him out on that. That scene kind of reiterated the sentiment that Tokimune’s matured drastically as the main character and also reaffirmed how he’s unlike most mecha anime male leads. It was befitting that he was the one lecturing his former captain, turning the tables compared to the first half of the series. I wasn’t too concerned about exactly how Tokimune and Jamie were able to overcome Perfevollen’s Fascinator a second time—simply chalking it up to how their “link” with Argevollen was simply stronger—as I was more interested to see how Samonji respond. What I expected to see was Samonji fighting Tokimune and intentionally losing, but the stoic captain just forcibly shut down all U-Link-enabled Trail Kriegers instead. No epic final battle or anything. Just an end to the war with Izumi’s forces coming in to clean up. It was a bit anti-climactic but so refreshingly different that I walked away from this finale more satisfied than I thought I’d be. The ending was “great” in the sense that it didn’t conform to how most people would probably expect a mecha anime to end.

As for the other loose ends, they didn’t really confirm whether or not Richthofen survived, but given that he was on the battlefield in search of Argevollen, I did feel like it was a sufficient conclusion to his subplot. Much like the fighting between Arandas and Ingelmia, his vendetta with Argevollen had lost all meaning at this point. It simply didn’t matter when everyone except the militaristic activists wanted to stop fighting and Tokimune was only interested in making Samonji come to his senses. Cayenne and Suguro also met their end, and while I could have anticipated that Suzushiro was going to kill the former, I really can’t say the same about Quasimodo assassinating the latter on Izumi’s behalf. That came as quite a shock, since characters like Suguro usually slip away into the shadows to scheme again another day, even if he did give Jamie a huge lump sum of cash as a nice gesture. Similar to the lack of romance from the main duo in the series, that proved to be yet another example of how Argevollen differentiates itself. For me personally, the most satisfying part of the of the ending is that Samonji survived and is left with the burden of being the emissary of sorts for the Arandas military. This finally put him face-to-face with Holmes, which I was anticipating for some time now. It also left things open-ended for a sequel, but even if one never comes, it hinted at how the efforts of Unit 8 are only a small part of a much bigger world and changing the world doesn’t happen overnight.

 

Final Impressions:

When it comes to a XEBEC original series featuring clunky mechs reminiscent of Break Blade, I, like many others, had reservations. Twenty-four episodes later, it’s fair to say that some of those reservations were well-warranted while others were not. Production-wise, Argevollen was actually pretty consistent across the board. The use of computer generated imagery didn’t detract terribly from the overall look and feel of the series and actually meshed well with all the lighting effects. The artwork never really faltered either, whether it be the character designs or the background scenery. The story on the other hand is something that deserves both praise and criticism. Praise for being distinctly different from what one would expect from this type of anime nowadays—side-stepping most tropes and not conforming to another cookie-cutter series—and criticism for not doing enough to draw viewers in, grab their attention, and never let it go until the very end.

To put it bluntly, Argevollen was distinctly different to almost a fault, despite how much longtime anime viewers such as myself welcome it. After all, it’s one thing to be different in an amazing way and another thing to be different for the sake of different. Luckily, Argevollen falls somewhere in between the two extremes and for that reason, should be remembered as an original series that a lot of people had a predisposition about and turned out to be a lot better. Taking a step back and looking at the broader picture, I have some renewed faith in XEBEC and their future original productions as a result. I’ll still have some reservations since their portfolio is ridden with mediocre series, but I’ll remember Argevollen as something that strived to be different and achieved it partly. I’m by no means hoping that they’ll make a sequel, but if they do, I’ll probably watch it with some optimism.

December 18, 2014 at 7:15 pm
20 comments »
  • December 18, 2014 at 8:17 pmSolace

  • December 18, 2014 at 9:44 pmAtalla

    I’m really glad I stuck with this show. :)

  • December 18, 2014 at 10:09 pmlaaa

    Well at least last 2 eps like 1st ep were worth to watch. Finally we saw some large scale action and character personalities. Like always After military conflicts end some who know too much were silenced.
    I liked part of Suzushiro as she finally got say look at me too because you know she has always been there near him but well she got her own part still in his destiny.
    Now I just wonder what is this show trying to make Jamie like she never went for main and that ending scene with her always with phone ready to work I wonder if she is more of money greedy character type.
    No one of main cast died and no one really went for kiss so we are kinda left with that overall friendly kinda family feel.

    It ended up pretty much wide open for new season but I m not sure if I d wana stick with 1 more of this show…

  • December 18, 2014 at 10:10 pminfo600

    This series as a whole was okay, worth the time for it to rev up slowly.

    The only gripe I have? Inconsistent animation quality.

    OTOH:

    As for the other loose ends, they didn’t really confirm whether or not Richthofen survived, but given that he was on the battlefield in search of Argevollen, I did feel like it was a sufficient conclusion to his subplot. Much like the fighting between Arandas and Ingelmia, his vendetta with Argevollen had lost all meaning at this point. It simply didn’t matter when everyone except the militaristic activists wanted to stop fighting and Tokimune was only interested in making Samonji come to his senses.

    With Richthofen so far gone in his own mind, I seriously doubt he had survived the “final battle”.

    Great ride you’ve made there, XEBEC

  • December 19, 2014 at 1:25 amDmonHiro

    You’re not making much sense. You enjoyed the ending only because it was different, not because it was actually good. That’s pretty stupid, IMO. The “no epic battle” is not a compliment, it’s just budget saving writing.

    • December 19, 2014 at 2:39 pmNayrael

      It is no budget saving writing, Argevollen had never chosen the path of pure action in the first place. Thus, the action-packed ending would be the least fitting development for this Anime.

      • December 22, 2014 at 3:31 amjltrm

        that’s your opinion.

        i found it very anti-climactic and quite a disappointment.

  • December 19, 2014 at 4:41 amflCer

    It was okay. That’s all I can say about it. Simply put, I wasn’t engaged. I was not motivated to emotionally invest myself on the characters. For example, if main characters died, I wouldn’t really react much.

    The show was just okay. None of the battles were exhilarating to watch. There is little elements of suspense, and there were little interesting character interactions. The animation was alright. Like Divine said, it was consistent. There are no obvious flaws in their physics but that probably worked against them. Argevollen or the cannon fodder, the suits aren’t visually appealing both in design and animation.

    It’s a show that won’t be missed. But I did find it helpful in passing the time when I’m relaxing.

  • December 19, 2014 at 6:33 amfomite

    I would say it is a decent anime, but nothing special to make it particularly memorable.

  • December 19, 2014 at 7:48 amP Ko

    What?! That’s it!? No! No no no no! This can’t be how it ends!

    Where’s my Jamie x Tokimune! Dammit it all! Fuuuuuuuuuuuuu~!

  • December 19, 2014 at 7:11 pmReikakou

    Well the series is kinda refreshing. The climatic battle between Arge and Sturm Alpha was actually prior to the final sequence.

    And Jamie X Tokimune is kinda platonic.

  • December 20, 2014 at 12:12 amPrivate

    Poor Richthofen. This kind of war is just a bluff for money.

  • December 20, 2014 at 2:12 amShinwinds

    Well Argevollen is not a fancy pew pew battle mecha show. But let’s be honest, they make the ending is “make sense” compared than Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny. GS and GSD ending is always make me “What the F*ck?”. :D

    The only fault in Argevollen is, they never explain the history behind the war explicitly. They took everything they had to throw us in the world of war machine without giving any f*ck. lol

    Well overall i give Argevollen 8.5, the ending is that good. A crystal clear and more relatable than any of the mecha series i ever watch.

    • December 23, 2014 at 2:37 amDmonHiro

      What exactly didn’t make sense in Gundam SEED and Destiny’s endings?
      SEED: Both sides call for a cease-fire after a madman just tired to BLOW UP THE EARTH, and nearly managed to do it. Leaders of both sides realized they’d taken the war too far.
      Destiny: Durandal’s government is taken down by the remnants of the former ZAFT government who did not want to continue a pointless war.

      How does that not make sense?

      • December 23, 2014 at 3:49 amJordan

        This is the same as saying that the Second World War ended with Hitler’s suicide and two bombs dropped on mainland Japan. The simplistic view just doesnt make justice to the madness and suffering on the background of these happenings.

  • December 20, 2014 at 7:12 amHochmeister

    And so the war comes to an end, not with a big bang, but a whimper and a couple gunshots. Argevollen definitely tries to do something different and portray war and soldiers in a more grounded, realistic fashion. This is both its strength and weakness; strong in that it feels more realistic and grounded than, say, Aldnoah.Zero or Valvrave, weak however in that reality is not as exciting as fiction. The main problems I have with this series is the slow pacing (with numerous panoramics and long stills) and lack of exposition about the setting. While the ending was satisfying, I can’t help but feel that the show passed up a lot of opportunities to make itself more interesting and engaging.

    Thanks for sticking with this till the end and the great coverage Divine!

  • December 21, 2014 at 10:27 pmBenigmatica

    Man, this ending feels so anti-climatic! And while the war has ended with a truce, I don’t think XEBEC would want to touch Argevollen again, so it leaves Viltriveld getting away scot-free! Dammit!

  • December 22, 2014 at 7:43 amtheirs

    I really liked this ending. It wasn’t as exciting as it could’ve been, but you could say that for the whole series. Everything went in a strangely logical way. The only shocking thing that happened was when Suguro got shot, but when the scene changed to Izumi, you could already guess who did it. Those three really are an interesting group.

    I started watching this series expecting at best Macross Plus and at least Total Eclipse. What I got was something totally unexpected. It wasn’t worse than my expectations, but completely different. In the two series I mentioned, the characters had me hooked, while here I’m not too emotionally invested. The plot and subplots were interesting, but the execution was off. They definitely have too many episodes, but thirteen would be too few. In the end, what I’ll remember of Argevollen is the plot and the ending. Yeah, this is a memorable ending. Satisfying, but not exciting.

    ps. Really wished they showed more on why Saimonji is referred as “Gensui”.

  • January 3, 2015 at 5:41 pmPTYW

    This series was not my favorite of the season. I keep getting the impression that the producers were trying to do to many things with the story and I felt little care for most characters. I still don’t see Tokimune as a Main Character.