It’s time for the Bon Festival, but Filicia hasn’t been acting like herself. While making lanterns with the other girls, she accidentally cuts herself, and the sight of blood causes her to flashback to what happened in her past. Everyone is concerned, but Rio thinks that they should leave her alone, and Noel sees her reminiscing by their tank. The truth is that Filicia had been fighting on the front lines at one point, and she had been the only survivor when her unit’s tank got destroyed. Stumbling on the battlefield, she hadn’t been killed by incoming gunfire only because she had fallen down a hole into an underground area. There, she found the remains of a soldier from a war past who had written a message that she couldn’t read. While she had been grieving over her dead comrades, the soldier had appeared to come alive and had apologized for losing to a certain side and for not being able to protect them. He felt that the world had ended and that people like Filicia were all that remained of humanity, and he questioned if there was any meaning in surviving in a world like this. Just as Filicia was despairing though, she had heard Amazing Grace and had been found and rescued by Princess Iliya.
Back in the present, Filicia appears to return to normal and tells Rio that she had only been concerned about her weight. The girls then make their way to the river to place their lanterns in the water, and Filicia has written on hers the names of the people in her old unit as well as the unknown soldier. Hearing Filicia talk about this, Kanata breaks down in tears because she wants to be able to worry about her too. This is because she loves Filicia, and Filicia returns those feelings, holds her, and tells her to stay as she is. Kureha and Noel were concerned too and join in the hug, and the girls then place their lanterns in the water and pray. Afterward, while talking with Rio, Filicia goes back to something Rio had mentioned earlier and explains how she realized that there was no meaning in the world. This is not a bad thing though because it means you can find your own meaning, and Filicia feels that hers is to make sure that Kanata and the others don’t experience the same feelings she had to.
Well this was certainly a welcome change of pace. I initially thought they were going to fake us out again like they did two episodes ago and give us another tame episode, but there was actually a lot of heavy stuff here about Filicia’s past and what motivates her now. I liked how the episode ended, and it made me wonder if there’ll be another conflict soon and if Filicia will try to prevent the girls from having to fight. Of course I loved seeing all the action and combat parts too, which got pretty intense at times, though I should mention that it still feels weird for them to be using horns for communication alongside spider tanks. Anyway, it would appear that Filicia fought in some battle a few years ago, but prior to that there was a major conflict between either different countries or between humanity and and some other, perhaps alien, force. That could fit with the legend, so the idea of Kanata and company fighting a monster with Takemikazuchi isn’t so far off anymore.
Aside from all that, this episode also connected Filicia and Noel’s past, connected Filicia to the trumpet woman we’ve seen with Kanata and Rio, identified that woman as the princess Iliya, and towards the end it seemed to suggest that Rio is her little sister and that she’s dead now. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Noel and Kureha have met Iliya as well, making her the key figure. So a lot got packed into this one episode, but they did so without overwhelming the audience, and I’d say this was probably the best episode of the series so far. I’m curious to see if they go back to the light-hearted stuff now or if the rest of the series is as serious as this.