「朧月の群れ」 (Oboroduki no Mure)
“A Flock of Hazy Moons”
Continuing straight off from the last episode, Yui continues her barrage against Yuuya… and well, let’s just say after counting no less than five epic insults in the opening minutes, I lost track. I mean, Bridges got owned so many times that I unconsciously started counting how long it took between insults! Yui was just on a roll today to say the least, and more power to her, because if there’s anyone who needed to be taken down a few pegs, it was him. Some memorable quotes below… and don’t forget the peanut gallery watchin’ ya:
Phew. Quite a few zings there, to say the least, and that was just covering the surface. Combine that with his inability to pilot the Fubuki, his poor performance in the simulated BETA exercise with the Scarlet Twins, as well as the hate toward his Japanese heritage… and it’s no wonder he has Yui practically haunting his dreams too!
Anyway, jokes and insults aside, this episode did a surprisingly good job of integrating some character development, as well as insight into the Total Eclipse‘s world.
For one, we see a large amount of racial discrimination present. Yes, I know many viewers will probably point to this being a subtle satire/insult of Americans as being the reason why it’s there. But, while that’s a fair assessment, considering the fact the original visual novels also incorporated a fair amount of such elements, I think it also serves as an important thing to show just how the Total Eclipse world is, as well a demonstration of human nature. How so?
See, each Eishi in Total Eclipse comes from a different country. And the differences between them are clear cut, even emphasized from episode to episode in terms of how they act and so forth. And when they’re talking to each other, at some point, the country of the pilot’s origins/allegiance comes into the conversation as well. And from this, and especially from the conversations Bridges and Yui have regarding being Japanese and bring American, it’s seems that nationalism is a key element in the Total Eclipse world.
Granted, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s a complete waste of time, not to mention a negative to be so preoccupied with who’s from where, and in thinking one’s nation is worth more than another when you should be uniting together. And from the objective sense, you would be right. But the thing is, what should happen, doesn’t mean it’s something that will happen. And this is what Total Eclipse seems to be giving us: a realistic interpretation of human nature. That even in the face of a threat of something that’ll potential wipe out the entire race, we’ll creatures that will still put a priority on protecting what’s near and dear to us, on protecting our own countries, over yours if need be. Sure, I might be going a bit deep into it, but regardless, I feel it’s an interesting aspect to at least ponder as a possibility.
In any case, the racial discrimination in turn also gives us some character development for Bridges and Yui. We see why Bridges is how he is, considering how he grew up being treated as an outcast because of his Japanese heritage, an American bias, and an American father (grandfather?) who spent his time telling his family not to trust other Japanese. And from here, it explains exactly why he’d subsequently grow up to be who he is now, because he had to grow up as someone who despised and threw away part of himself (his Japanese heritage) and someone who had a lot to prove to both himself and others, that he wasn’t inferior to the eyes of the people looking down on him.
In terms of Yui, the whole Japanese aspect, combined with how she acted toward Bridges, shows us the ultimate effects of her past experiences in episode 1 and 2. As someone who lost friends and fought BETA at a young age, it’s no wonder she’s developed into a person who’s no nonsense and expects the best from others, so that no other lives need to be lost. Furthermore, having fought to defend the Japanese capital and having seen the efforts of fellow Japanese in fighting off the BETA years back, we see how she’s merged her cultural pride with her reasons for fighting, culminating in her outward disgust toward Bridges, whom I suspect she realizes is trying to throw away that side of himself. Ultimately though, from events at the end of the episode with Yui assisting in helping Bridges escape the clutches of the Soviet interrogator and his “special techniques”, she’s still someone who secretly cares about the people she works with, even though she doesn’t show it outwardly. I guess in a way she’s a bit of a tsundere and I guess her character doesn’t necessarily break a lot of archetypes, but she’s definitely a likable character for one reason or another… at least for me. You just have to admire how she’s overcome her dark past to get to such a point… if not her ability to take down arrogant assholes down.
Moving on, another important thing from this episode was the whole conversation between the Argos Flight team during the drill… the whole bit about “There’s so much of them! Is there something wrong with the system?” “What’s wrong Top Gun?” “This is pretty normal for Asia.” “Europe too.” And it’s important because it demonstrates a clear difference between what the Asia and European fronts have been facing, compared to the Americans. We had a glimpse of this difference last previous episode via the map that showed that most of the Eurasian continent has been taken over, compared to the American homeland being virtually untouched… but this episode just hammers in the difference in battle experience and goes to show that even though he’s an American ace, mock combat is a lot different than real combat. It’s an aspect Yui mentioned as well toward the end and it definitely feels like a key thing to keep in mind. Notably though, the fact he isn’t as great as he was said to be is a good thing in my opinion, as it’ll pave the way for some nice development and interactions with his other teammates.
All in all, another pretty solid episode. It wasn’t absolutely amazing, but something continuing to watch. It would’ve been nicer without the awkward and excessive censoring on certain scenes in this episode and the first few, but alas… can’t get everything you want. Next episode seems to start with the Shiranui testing, so we’ll be moving right along. Lastly, I gotta mention them Scarlet Twins again, they’re just so HNGG!
EDIT: Please keep VN references in spoiler tags and note as such, as many people have yet to play them.