「閉ざされた森」 (Tozasareta Mori)
“Secluded Forest” (lit. “Closed Off Forest”)
At the request and compensation of Allison, Wil heads off to the country of Ikstova (イクストーバ) (I’ll correct this when I find an official spelling) to participate in a school study tour. Shortly after arriving, Wil gets abducted by a few men and thrown into a car, only to find out that this was setup by Allison so that she could be alone with him. As it turns out, she was in the country for joint military rescue exercises with Sou Beil. Having finished yesterday, Allison decides to go sightseeing with Wil and also tells him that she has something important to talk to him about.
While passing through a town, Wil takes notice of all the posters, which turn out to be political propaganda. Upon realizing that, Wil recalls how Ikstova is possibly seeking independence from Roxche. In any case, Allison wants Wil to meet someone first, so they head off to a Sou Beil garrison, which makes Wil realize that the war is really over. There, they meet up with Benedict, who is now the youngest major in Sou Beil’s air force and quite the hero. The three of them reminisce about the mural and talk about the purpose of the rescue exercises.
As they leave, Allison suggests that they have some tea together, so Wil and her go off in search of a good place. On their way, Allison asks Wil about his post-graduation plans and is about to suggest that he do something with her, but they find themselves caught in a snowstorm before she can finish her sentence. In the meantime, Benedict is worried that Allison and Wil may get lost, so he goes in search of them. Before he leaves the base though, one of his men hand him a rifle due to the bears and wolves seen during this season. (…great foreshadowing)
Allison and Wil eventually make it to a secluded village and ask one of the villagers about a place to rest. Unbeknownst to them though, the old lady that gave them directions then rushes into the hidden basement of her house to alert the other villages that two suspicious looking outsiders have wandered here. After her phone call, the old lady picks up a rifle before heading back upstairs.
At the assembly hall, Allison and Wil are having tea with another old lady and they talk about the royal family crests on the wall. Based on what he’s learned, Wil points out something strange about the daughter’s crest (i.e. how there should be two additional flowers), which irritates the woman. She then excuses herself, only to discuss with some other villagers about how the outsiders are indeed suspicious and could be spies. Alone together, Allison and Wil talk about how Ikstova shouldn’t have a royal family after they died in a suspicious fire ten years ago. Their discussion then shifts back to Wil’s post-graduation plans, but before that gets anywhere, the two of them pass out from the drugged tea.
Meanwhile, Benedict has found some tire tracks and notices how there shouldn’t be a village in that direction. Regardless, he decides to check it out and runs into Fi (short for Fiona), so he asks her what the name of the village is ahead. Fiona doesn’t pay any attention though, and instead, takes notice of the politician pictured on the paper Benedict is holding, saying that it’s Owen Nicht (オーエン・ニヒト). With tears in her eyes, she tells Benedict to take her to Ikstova’s capital, Kunst, but before Benedict can say anything, another villager calls for Fi and she heads back.
「フィオナの谷」 (Fiona no Tani)
Given the conclusion of the treasure arc last episode, I kind of expected Allison & Lillia to slowly ease its way into the next arc this episode, but boy was I wrong. At first, this seemed to be the case with the reunion of Allison and Wil with Benedict, but things rapidly picked up near the end in that secluded village. Speaking of which, once the grannies started packing guns, I just couldn’t help but think of the British movie Hot Fuzz. If this episode of Allison & Lillia and Hot Fuzz has taught me anything, it’s to stay the hell away from secluded villages! *makes mental note*
Anyway, from what I’ve been hearing from people familiar with the novels, there’s quite a lot of material they’re trying to pack into 26 episodes, so I guess it’s not too surprising that the pace picked up so quickly again. Granted, I’m sure some people will feel things are a bit rushed because of this, but I for one am really enjoying the pacing of these adventures. The end scene in particular was a great hook for anyone who (like myself) may have felt that the series started off kind of slow. Since I’m not familiar with the novels, I guess I don’t quite know what I’m missing out on; however, for those who are familiar with the novels, I find that if you view anime “adaptations” with a clear slate, you may not even miss the cut out material that much.
Due to time constraints, the anime obviously won’t be able to delve into certain aspects of the characters or story as thoroughly (or at all), but what the writers have selectively shown us so far seems to stand on its own very well. One thing to keep in mind is that actively captivating a viewer’s interest is arguably more important in anime than manga or novels. In the latter two’s case, the reader is free to control the pacing themselves, but in the former, viewers who are quick to grasp what’s going on may find the pacing too slow. If that’s the case, they’ll probably either lose interest because the story feels dragged out, or even if they continue watching, they may feel that the anime dwelt too long a certain part of the story, thus negatively impacting their impression of the series as a whole.
A good example of the latter case is D.C.II ~Da Capo II~, which probably spent around 10 of its 13 episodes focusing on the interactions between Yoshiyuki and the robot Minatsu instead of his relationship with Koko or the other girls interested in him (Nanaka, Yume, Otome). In retrospect, if D.C.II didn’t have a second season, it wouldn’t have been worth your time watching, regardless of whether you were a Da Capo fan or not. Actually, now that I think about it, you don’t even need to watch the first season to enjoy the second season. Given the direction that D.C.II S.S. is heading right now, the only thing you have to take away from season one was that Yoshiyuki went out with Koko, but they have since broken up. I digress, but I think you get my drift.
Thankfully, Allison & Lillia shows no signs of poor pacing or discontinuity and is really starting to feel like one adventure after another. Since the story is progressing quite impeccably on its own accord, there’s all the more reason to view the anime and novel separately if you’re familiar with both. Otherwise, the constant comparisons will probably take away from your enjoyment of the anime, which for someone in my position, is shaping up to be quite the hidden gem in this spring’s lineup. Once the series is over though (or at least, when one particular arc is over), I’d actually be quite interested to know how the anime compared to the novels, so if you’re familiar with them, please fill me in then! For now, I say let’s just enjoy this adventurous ride.
Back on track with this episode, we actually find Allison trying to be more forward with Wil, but she still can’t quite put her feelings into words properly. Watching Allison’s attempts to do so though simply reminds me how charming her character is at times. I guess I didn’t mention this before, but Mizuki Nana really helps bring out that playful innocence we see in Allison. Wil on the other hand isn’t really dense or anything, so we can’t really blame the guy. I mean, he just happened to pass out from being drugged right when Allison was going to say something.
Last but not least is the introduction of Fiona, who I’ve been inadvertently told/spoiled is quite a key character. I mean, I knew she was one of the main support characters, but I didn’t have to know about that, so please add “spoiler” tags to your comments when they’re needed! Moving on, Fiona is voiced by “the heavily-desired amongst seiyuu yuri queens”, Noto Mamiko. Mamiko doesn’t use her quiet, passive voice here (think Kotomi from CLANNAD), but instead uses her more adult-like, sexy voice (much to my delight). It’s more akin to the voice she’s using/used in Mnemosyne and Witchblade if you’re familiar with either of those. In any case, it seems like Fiona is joining up with Allison and the others in the preview, so I can’t wait to see what happens in that messed up village next week.
– Allison (アリソン) / Mizuki Nana (水樹 奈々)
– Wil (ヴィル) / Kumai Motoko (くまい まとこ)
– Benedict (ベネディクト) / Yamadera Kouichi (山寺 宏一)
– Fiona (フィオナ) / Noto Mamiko (能登 麻美子)
– Old woman (老婆) / Shouji Miyoko (莊司 美代子)
– Ema (エマ) / Satou Ai (さとう あい)
– Matthew (マシュー) / Nishigaki Yuka (西墻 由香)
– Captain (大尉) / Takase Akimitsu (高瀬 右光)
– Village chief (村長) / Inada Tetsu (稲田 徹)
– Sergeant (軍曹) / Shinomiya Gou (四宮 豪)
– Jan (ジャン) / Konno Jun (金野 潤)
– Female soldier (女性兵) / Fujimura Ayumi (藤村 歩)