「ハルパーの鎌」 (Harupaa no Kama)
“The Harpe Sickle”
After all the crazy battles, it’s somewhat refreshing to get a dose of the game’s intermission side of things to set the stage for the upcoming battle — Operation Plantagenet. It’s the codename for the plan to retake North America from the Inspectors, except it comes with the added twist that it’s in cooperation with the Neo Divine Crusaders. They say your enemy’s enemy is your friend, but I’m not so sure that applies when your enemy’s enemy is your enemy as well. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out, now that Graien Grusman (Kanemitsu Nobuaki) has taken over the Earth Federation and put it under military rule with the help of Kenneth Garret (Takaoka Binbin). At the moment, it looks more like a coup d’état than simply invoking martial law, regardless of whether the higher-ups decided it was the best course of action to defend Earth from the alien threat. This of course is more on the political side of things, meaning that the trickle down effect to our protagonists remains to be seen.
Overall, this turn of events did showcase the franchise’s tendency of having betrayal and corruption as recurring themes, much like in the case of Nibhal Mubhal (Ishii Kouji) who’s seen conspiring with Wendolo for unknown reasons. The same can be said about Mitsuko, who’s been doing whatever she can to profit from the war, even if it’s contacting Vindel from Shadow-Mirror. Her capitalist ideology is pretty ludicrous to say the least, considering that she’d sell out mankind to dimension travelers and aliens just to make Isurugi Industries rich. Quite honestly, I can’t see what good all the money in the world will her if aliens took over the Earth.
Other than that, recovering Mai (Orikasa Ai) from a Judecca fragment and mention of the T-LINK Twin Contact System has me looking forward to seeing SRX in action sometime in the near future. Surprisingly, the fact that Mai somehow managed to survive burning up in the atmosphere at the conclusion of the L5 Campaign was glossed over for the most part. Instead, the story simply reiterated that she’s still suffering from the brainwashing that she was subjected to by the Aerogaters before she was made the core of the White Death Cross mobile weapon. There was brief mention that Ryuusei and Rai still don’t know that she’s alive, so it’ll be nice to see their surprise when Aya decides to let them in on the news.
Coincidentally, the Earth Federation isn’t short on any sort of firepower now that Dr. Radom has made Arado into her pet project of sorts and bestowed him with Wild Wurger. While it goes against all common sense to give a captured soldier one of their prototype Personal Troopers, I had to just cough that up to how characters switch sides fairly quickly in the SRW stories. In Arado’s case, it’s somewhat believable that he’s turned a new leaf after being reunited with Lat, learning that Shine is staying on board and continuing to fight, and receiving preferential treatment from Kai though. It probably helps his personality when he’s not subjected to constant “tuning”, which we all know Seolla still has to endure. Speaking of Seolla, the Ace Attacker Ver.W music that played when Arado took off was a nice touch and got me kind of pumped that the prospect of him bringing her over to the Earth Federation side so that they can unleash their Twin Bird Strike tandem attack.
As for the tail end of this episode, it seems Neo DC is supportive of the Harpe Mission that will put Brian Midcrid out of office and turn the Earth Federation into the “capable” military that Bian Zoldark wanted. Of course, the fact that Axel in his Ashsaber is among them makes all of that suspect, since Shadow-Mirror appears to have their own agenda. At least, that’s what the preview seems to suggest with Shadow-Mirror making a move of their own. Earth Federation, Neo Divine Crusaders, Shadow-Mirror, and Inspectors. Things can only get messier from hereon in, with another faction slated to arrive later on.
On the lighthearted side of things, Kusuha’s health drink and Lamia’s broken polite Japanese when talking to Axel were pretty funny. I got a good chuckle out of the latter, simply because Axel thought Lamia was messing with him.