“The War Begins”
After weeks of dialogue heavy episodes and lack luster battle scenes, this episode finally kicks things up a notch. With a war of epic proportions breaking out, I was impressed with the scale that things are taking place on — we’re not talking about just Misaki City anymore, but the entire world.
In all honesty, I always had this impression that the Flame Haze existed in ragtag bands here and there; all fighting for their own purpose and removing anyone, including other Flame Hazes, who got in their way. But as I watched hundreds Flame Hazes throughout the world rallying together as they were getting bombarded by thousands of Tomogaras, it really changed my image of just how many and how organized the Flame Haze are. As I think about it more, they’d have to be pretty organized to stand up to a well organized barrage like this huh.
With explosions and fights breaking out everywhere, I thought the action matched well with the high paced tempo this episode had. To my surprise, Ernest Frieder seemed to be a much bigger badass than I originally thought. While his introduction a few episodes ago led me to believe he was a big pansy, my entire perspective changed as I watched him leap straight into the front lines to save his fellow comrades and take on Ribesal! But Ernest wasn’t the only one busting out some fancy moves — Wilhelmina, Rebecca, and Khamsin all looked pretty cool this week.
As the three began their assault on the Seireiden, I thought that their goal was to quietly retrieve Shana and get out as quickly as possible to avoid a large fight they might not win — boy was I wrong. If Rebecca’s large scale explosions weren’t enough to reveal their presence, I’m sure that Khamsin’s gigantic stone golem wreaking large-scale havoc on Seireiden did the trick. But after I stop to think about it, this large scale attack could provide the perfect cover for Wilhelmina to go and retrieve Shana, wouldn’t it?
While I’m on the topic of Shana, let me just say how impressed I am with her character’s growth since the beginning of this series. Starting as a Flame Haze whose only goal was to fulfill her purpose as a Tomogara hunter, she’s come a long way on the road known as life. Watching her try to accept and understand her emotions for Yuuji has been fun, and as lousy of a reference as it is, I love how she’s come to terms with her love for him by interpreting it as the “strongest unrestricted spell”. Not to mention that she finally recognized that to become a stronger person, she needs to accept both her roles as a Flame Haze and as a woman with feelings. All in all, I’m happy that as dense as I am, even I can see the progress she’s made.
I’m so pumped up for the next episode that I can barely wait. As it stands now, each side seems to be holding their ground fairly well. But in a war this large, who knows what will happen once each side’s ace comes out? Seireiden’s Yuuji/Sairei no Hebi is obviously their trump card but for the Flame Haze, I’m willing to bet that Shana’s role will eventually outshine even the strongest like Sophie. However, before that happens, I’d love to see Sophie start busting out some of her moves.