「ルイズの選択」 (Ruizu no Sentaku)
I sometimes get the feeling that this anime isn’t doing the source material justice. That’s pure conjecture since I haven’t read the light novels, but there are occasional flashes of high-quality fiction that hint at deeper stories not told. This episode was one of those flashes. The lead up to Louise’s titular choice was done quite well, with the foreshadowing obvious enough to make it hard to miss, while still being subtle enough to avoid insulting the viewer. When it was coming, I knew it was coming, and that made me dread it, which heightened the impact when Louise closed the portal. Compared to the often heavy-handed treatment we get from the fanservice wing of this series, this was much better storytelling. I also teared up a bit. Oh Louise, whyyy~!
Of course, in a way Louise’s decision was very, very silly. Where you come from doesn’t really matter, it’s where you choose to be that matter, and the people you choose to be with. Ask anyone who has ever left their country of birth for a chance at a better life elsewhere, and they’ll set you straight on that. However, her decision was also very understandable. Louise wants to protect the man she loves from death, whether it’s quickly in battle or slowly from using his Lifdrasil powers, and she thinks that sending him away is the best way to save him. Stupid? Yes. But it’s a very understandable, human stupidity, as Tabitha and Henrietta vouchsafed for.
The whole episode wasn’t dramatic partings though. Though the fighter jet that Saito found back in episode 7 didn’t come in handy in the way many of us thought it would, I was glad that it still had an effect on the plot, and watching everyone getting together to make a plan to save the world gave me the warm fuzzies. More than that though, it was seeing everyone gathered together at the academy to fight the Ancient Dragon that gave me chills. I’m super susceptible to those sorts things, I have to admit. A bunch of close friends sticking together even through the worst of dangers always gets my romantic’s heart pounding. And then the Elemental Siblings showed up, and I laughed. It was a good laugh! Mercenaries often get a bad rap in fiction, so I forgot they can work for the good guys too. Nice to see them, and I can’t wait to see what damage Damian nii-sama and the others do in the coming battle.
Even so, there’s nothing even close to smooth sailing ahead, since apparently a void mage snack results in a serious power up for the Ancient Dragon. Yeah, I totally called that one, and I knew the Pope was going to get someone killed eventually. But now, the stakes have been successfully raised! The good guys are down one more void mage + the power of somewhere between one and three familiars (Gandalfr, Lifdrasil, and Windalfr, if Julio has been de-powered by the Pope’s death), whereas the Ancient Dragon gained the ability to fly. Next episode, we have the showdown. Everything is set up for Saito’s triumphant return, the protagonist’s glorious victory, and the wedding that the last few eyecatches have been alluding towards, but I have no idea how Saito will get back without someone summoning him. What I do know is that I cannot wait to find out.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Louise’s choice has put the world in danger, but I can’t blame her for making it. Next ep is the last one. I just might cry. #ZeroNoTsukaima
- The animation suddenly got really good in this episode. I don’t have another comment about that, I just thought I’d mention it in case you missed it. Zero no Tsukaima can look pretty too, when it tries!
- I’m glad that Saito dismissed the fighter jet he found because it was busted. Thank the gods! If they had claimed they cleaned up all those sensitive electronics that had been stewing in a lake for who knows how long, I would have thrown my hands up in the air and yelled “bullshit!” I’m glad it still had an effect on the plot, though, and not the expected one. Well played, well played.
- Speaking of, how was Saito planning to steal a fighter jet again? And fly it through that tiny portal? Of course, by then I knew that Louise wasn’t planning on stealing a plane at all, but come on Saito. the JSDF can’t have that bad of security.
- One more episode. When it’s all over, I just might possibly cry. Or go pick up the light novels and lose days worth of productivity, Orz.