「その境界線の上に立ち（シン・レッド・ライン）」 (Sono Kyoukaisen no Ue ni Tachi (Shin Reddo Rain))
“Standing on Top of the Boundary Line (Thin Red Line)”
It’s Tamura Yukari overload this week as she brings a spirited childish energy to Tabane like only she can. I sometimes wonder what the starring cast of younger seiyuu think when they see Yukarin come into the studio and bust out that voice when she’s a good 10-13 years older than them. Granted, she doesn’t look it since she’s a fellow “eternal 17-year-old” member, so perhaps reality’s not as funny as I imagine it to be. But… but… Ni-paa!
Anime sure seems to love making the brightest minds in their fictional worlds out to be beautiful carefree individuals, and Tabane takes it to extremes with her arrival in a giant mechanical carrot. She’s not exactly the spitting image of the mastermind behind the IS cores with her bunny ears and all. As if to mock all the people who have to work their butts off in hopes of achieving a fraction she has, everything seems to come effortlessly to her too. Damn anime, there are limits to how far genius-level talent goes! I swear some poor naive soul is going to be really disillusioned one day.
Tabane is almost too fun of a character, given how she wanted to size Houki up and latched herself to Chifuyu. While I’m all for that, Houki’s time in the spotlight with her new Akatsubaki was one of my favorite moments. She may have been receiving the most powerful weapon in the world, but she acted like a little innocent girl who finally got what she needed to fit in with all of the competition. They say good things come to those who wait, which in Houki’s case means, “Dai-yon Sedai. Uwaaa.” Or for all you English-only people, “Fourth Generation. Ooooo.”
On the romance side of things, this series never fails to leave me smirking ear-to-ear. Cecilia going on the “offense” and subsequently being shot down with everyone else by Chifuyu was absolutely priceless. That was partly because I imagined Ichika’s big sis following up her “Pssh, know your place you 15-year-old amateurs” remark with “He’s mine you fools!” Even if she didn’t outright say that, it was clear in my mind that she likes all the perks that come with Ichika. Cooking, cleaning, massages. She can’t just hand over those massages to these kids.
What was harder to take at face value was the developing plot about the unmanned experimental IS that’s gone berserk. It was pretty obvious the story’s working towards the cold opening we saw back in episode one and likely the conclusion to this adaptation, but it felt too forced sending in a bunch of inexperienced kids for the crucial part of the mission. After all, we had the White Knight who saved Japan from the missile barrage present (i.e. Chifuyu), along with the genius creator of the IS cores who probably could have pulled an IS out of nowhere and refitting it for her in a matter of minutes. Instead, the whole operation that rests on a small window of opportunity is up to Ichika and Houki. Houki ranking up, fate of Japan down.
Production-wise, the artwork was all over the place, which by the magic of selective screen capping, I’ve spared readers from except for one example. It wasn’t only on the distant shots either, as a lot of the character faces looked off more often than not. To the series’ credit, it wasn’t that obvious while watching, not when compared to swapping out Houki’s pilot suit with a white one all of sudden. Not the first inconsistency in the series, and likely not the last. Anyway, with two episodes remaining, it’s likely the next one will focus on stopping the Silverio Gospel IS and the finale will be about Houki’s birthday. The latter was completely brushed aside this episode.
Same version as last time, but now everyone’s bigger! Houki also moves to the front of the pack and closest to Ichika, where I feel she should be.