While I knew the battle was coming to West Genetics, it didn’t take away from the excitement in this episode one bit. The Nova’s arrival on the outskirts of the school jacked up the suspense right from the get-go, so I was pretty psyched even when it was a bunch of unfamiliar fourth-years who were sent in first. Once the first platoon was deployed and the music kicked in, there was an immediate sense of the urgency drew me right in.
Incidentally, the decision to have the third-years form a line of defense while the second-years remain on standby allowed for some more development between Kazuya and Satellizer. Last episode, I was on the fence about the sudden rift between those two, but it was surprisingly woven into the story really well. If nothing else, it gives some focus on the main characters, since the anime will likely wrap up around the Nova attack on West Genetics. It’s basically now or never if they want to get some more subplot from them.
Rana on the other hand continues to spice things up by pouncing on every opportunity she can to make Kazuya her Limiter. There’s no doubt she’s a huge third wheel, but I find her cheerful and assertive attitude really amusing to watch. Her “lesbian, nude, and chichi (breasts)” remark from mishearing Ravensborne Necleochede was just too funny, and went on to show that she has an innocent side. Very cute.
Story-wise, the revelation that Maria Lancelot is the mother of all Pandoras and is stored deep within the school grounds gave me Mai-Otome vibes (i.e. Fumi and the GEM System). That thought actually made me realize that the Pandora are a lot like the Meister Otome, in the sense that they all to go school to train to be female weapons, yet often wind up bickering amongst themselves. I may have subconsciously been aware of that similarity, since it does align with the aspects of FREEZING that I enjoy. One notable difference is how a Pandora’s powers come from the very Nova they fight, which is somewhat of a big revelation seeing as that’s how Kazuha died.
On the action side of things, it felt like we got a little bit of everything this episode. There was Kim and Elise leading the attacks, and of course the Nova Form of the East Genetics Pandora whose stigmata went berserk after they were absorbed. All my attention was on Cathy and Milena since they’re the ones to watch for. The sight of their rogue group of Pandora darting through Ravensborne Neclechede in search of Maria more or less set the stage for the final two episodes too. Satellizer should be getting her rematch against Cathy, whereas the third-years responsible for all the hazing in the first half of the series will finally be seen fighting alongside her and Rana for a change. The latter is just something that had to happen at some point, since they clearly aren’t antagonists.
Looking back, I may have been thrown off by the show’s frenzied pace at the beginning, but now it’s showing every indication that it was all planned out perfectly. The last two episodes should be a treat.