On the Imperial side, a young man named Karl Oswald has recently been assigned to be Selvaria’s aide. At around the same time, Maximilian has to return to the Empire to report what’s been going on to the emperor, and he isn’t taking Selvaria with him. What Karl doesn’t tell anyone is that he’s been assigned under secret orders to keep Selvaria away from Maximilian, and when Selvaria tries to go after Maximilian, Karl convinces her not to. Jaeger has his suspicions about what Karl is doing here, and it all comes to a head after Karl is nearly killed by someone sent from Central to take him out after his job was done. Fortunately, Selvaria saves him, and she and Jaeger don’t blame him, but they do realize that Maximilian might be in trouble.
The three thus head out by car, but by this point, the house that Maximilian is staying at has come under attack by assassins. Karl does everything he can to get them there in time, and with his driving and Selvaria’s ability to break through gates while standing on the hood of a moving car, they finally make it. When the assassins fire on them, Selvaria uses her powers to cut through both bullets and men, and she rushes towards Maximilian’s room. To her surprise though, he’s already personally killed all of the assassins who came directly after him. Selvaria is ready to take responsibility for disobeying his previous order for her to stay put, but Maximilian doesn’t punish her or say anything to her at all before continuing on his way to speak with the Emperor. Karl meanwhile stays on as Selvaria’s aide and gets used to his new life.
That was a nice change of pace. Not only was there some political intrigue, but this episode also let us see the other side of the conflict and got us better acquainted with Selvaria and company. It’s hard for me to even call them villains now because they really aren’t. Maximilian is just really ambitious, Selvaria is fervently loyal to him, and Jaeger is the same as always (I never considered him a villain in the first place because of his laid back attitude). Karl was a decent character as well, though his relative naiveté makes me wonder if there’s any role for him to play in the series after this. Maybe they’ll use him exclusively to develop Maximilian and Selvaria’s characters from time to time, and he won’t ever show up in battle against Welkin and Squad 7.
The crown prince actually appears to have the potential to be more of a villain than anyone else on this side of the story, and given how Maximilian is the same voice actor as Lelouch, I was half-hoping that the crown prince would be Schneizel and the emperor would be Charles. No such luck however: the crown prince was instead voiced by Midorikawa Hikaru (who did Xingke) and the emperor was Yada Kouji. Speaking of Maximilian, this episode also made me wonder about the difference in his and Selvaria’s ages. I didn’t think it was very big, but in the scene where Selvaria was remembering her past, she looked like she was an eight or nine year old girl, and he (at least I assume that’s him) looked as old as he does now. That in turn makes me wonder how much of her following him is loyalty and how much of it is love from a young age.
In any case, the story returns back to the Gallia side next week, and the preview and next episode title suggest that something will happen the night of a snowstorm.