「散りぬべき時知りてこそ」 (Chirinubeki Toki Shirite koso)
“Knowing When Not To Scatter”
The Earth Cradle chapter comes to a close both inside and out, as The School children rid themselves of their past demons and Sanger/Wodan settle their rivalry once and for all. While I already knew how things were going to unfold, that didn’t really take away from the bittersweetness of it all. I even found myself getting a little teary-eyed at the end when the emotions poured uncontrollably out of the kids. The flashback at the beginning went a long way in building up those emotions, since their time back at The School hasn’t been shown thus far. It highlighted the kinder side of Ouka, which made Cero’s sacrifice to restore her memories an a roller coaster ride of emotions that would tumble down when she sacrificed herself to stop Setme. The positives to take away are Ouka regaining her memories before she died and deciding for herself to protect those she cares about.
In comparison, Sanger and Wodan’s climactic battle was a lot easier to swallow, simply because the two of them seemed to have an unwritten samurai-like code of honor. Their battle wasn’t completely driven by hatred or deceit and instead, and came down to something that was inevitable given their conflicting goals. They share the same desire to protect Sophia, except Sanger wants to stop seeing her used for the wrong reasons, whereas Wodan feels Shadow-Mirror needs her control of Machine Cells for their cause. The key difference I see between Wodan and Setme is that he doesn’t see Sophia as a tool but as an important existence, despite how much the stasis capsule she’s in suggests otherwise. For that reason, I’ve also thought of Wodan as a respectable antagonist, whose death here leaves me with mixed feelings.
Animation-wise, it’s worth noting that this episode was all over the place. Any opportunity to lessen the details on the robots was taken, which accounts for most of the distant shots. In execution, it didn’t really take away from the experience, but it was really apparent as I was going through looking for images to capture. To be fair, I pretty much expect this in a robot anime that’s been running for two-cours without the same budget as Sunrise’s Gundam ones get, so I’m more understanding towards the dips in quality. I do hope this means Asahi Production will be saving the best for last though, now that the story is gearing up towards the finale with Kyousuke receiving his Alt Eisen Riese upgrade. Neo DC is out of the picture for the most part (there’s still Egret and Uruz), meaning that the focus should be shifting to Inspector/Shadow-Mirror alliance and the Einst.
There hasn’t been much focus on the Inspectors after Operation Plantagenet, so in my mind, the only outstanding subplot that needs extra attention is Kyousuke and Excellen’s one. With four episodes remaining, there should be ample time to wrap everything up.
* Full-length images this week: 02, 05, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 33.