「She is Rana Linchen」
The other main heroine of the series makes her debut, earlier than expected after Ingrid’s backstory was glossed over last time. Hailing from Tibet, Rana Linchen and her bubbly personality is portrayed surprisingly well by Hanazawa Kana, more so than I was anticipating anyway. In addition to kicking ass with her hand-to-hand abilities and looking damn cool doing so, she’s already made strides towards wedging herself between Kazuya and Satellizer. It felt like the worst possible timing considering Satellizer had finally decided to make Kazuya her Limiter sans a baptism, except Rana’s different from all the other Pandora who are out to make Kazuya’s life difficult as well.
In terms of introducing Rana and showing how she decided Kazuya’s her soul mate, this episode did just that albeit in a slightly different way than the manga. Rather than having Kazuya, Arther, and Kaho on a day off out in the city and running into some punks, they emphasized the senior hazing aspect yet again by having the second-years who Satellizer utterly destroyed during the Carnival — Audrey Duval, Takeuchi Aika, Toris Mackenzie — stirring things up. The end result was more or less the same, but notable omissions include both Rana and Kaho being force to strip, and the latter getting tortured with gunshot wounds. It was likely another means of toning down the fan-service and violence in this adaptation, and one that worked well by bringing in the characters seen in the anime-only first episode. I just didn’t like how it made the bullying theme even more prominent than it already is.
There should be plenty of that in the coming episodes when Attia has her way and sends some of the third-years in, namely #4 ranked Arnett Mcmillan (Asakawa Yuu) and #5 ranked Creo Brand (Kitta Izumi). With all the extra hazing going on, even I’m going to feel that it’s a bit overdone by the time that rolls around, so I can only wonder what anime-only viewers will be thinking. Still, it did serve as some good build-up towards something that’s been foreshadowed for some time now, and already showed #2 ranked Elizabeth Mably (Kaida Yuuko) among them. Thus far, the series has done an impeccable job of making every senior Pandora seem like a horrible person, but overshadowed is the fact that Chiffon is rank #1, and Ticy Phenyl (Uchida Aya) who’s always with her is rank #3. I love how two of the top three are actually the nicest ones and don’t seem to be as strong as they really are. Anyway, some of my favorite parts of the manga are coming up, so I’m looking forwarding to seeing how it all plays out animated.