「転石するイシ」 (Tenseki Suru Ishi)
It may have been a little cliche and predictable, but for a series that’s going for the reluctant superhero approach, it’s hard to fault Sunrise for using some of the staples of the genre. This includes the tried and true mustering strength out of nowhere and coming in the nick of time to save the heroine. Knowing what it was going for, I actually found Alma’s fight with the two Ashi pretty cool to watch. It had a very shounen-esque feel to it, where our hero was down and out and getting the crap kicked out of him and dug deep within to find it in him to pull through.
It wasn’t all that unbelievable either, since we don’t really know the true abilities of Alma’s “Liberator” form (as it’s known as). What we do know is that he’s been thrown into a situation where he’s asked to fight Ashi when he isn’t particularly good at fighting to begin with, so it doesn’t require too much suspension of disbelief to see that he could probably do a lot better if he did. In this particularly case, it wasn’t so much skill as it was heart though, hence why I enjoyed this episode as much as I did. Just when I thought it was over, they slipped in one more threat to really cement the idea that Alma had found a new purpose in life.
As a bonus of sorts, I finally got to see the Corundum Laser Cannon fired, even though it didn’t prove to be as impressive as I had imagined. Ruri’s rail gun was much more so, despite the fact that she missed the core of the gigantic gluttonous Ashi. Production-wise, I was pretty forgiving of the fact that the faces looks terribly simplified in a lot of the scenes, as well as the artwork in general during the action ones involving Alma, simply because it was offset with a lot more animation. It seemed like a fair tradeoff taking fluidity over detail, given that this series hasn’t really given any indication that it’s a high-budget Sunrise project. It was also nice to see Alma do something new in battle, using his scarf as a weapon for the first time and tossing the first Ashi into the air before dealing the finishing blow. Coupled with the heroic music and the sound of Alma screaming his lungs out — pumped full of adrenaline — the flashy conclusion to the fights on all three fronts gets a thumbs up from me.
Best of all, we had some more profound character developments between Alma and Wakana, going back to the small rock that he gave her long ago. They also hinted at the possibility that the rays of light from Alma’s desperation attack may free Ruri’s sister from her crystallized prison. It’s hard to tell if Aoi’s going to be freed by that, but the preview does suggest that we’re going to take a trip down memory lane about her.