「蒼ざめた焔」 (Ao Zameta Honoo)
“Pale Blue Flame”
The Blue Flag mock battle tournament gets under way, and everyone’s eager to take down a particular somebody. It’s just really hard to be the center of attention sometimes, but it sure looks like Yuuya’s starting to relish his role as that center. We got Lt. Cui on one end, Leon on the other, and we even got Cryska being distracted by him too! In any case, what can I say? This episode was rife with some darn nice developments as a result of this attention, and we viewers definitely reaped the benefit because of it.
First and foremost, perhaps the most notable benefit was the seemingly increased budget allotted this episode. Sketchy animation’s been a common occurrence throughout the series and heck, it’s even spawned a whole host of internet memes (such as Muv-Luv Alternative: Total “QUALITY”). But for once, we got some great, quality animation throughout, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t choose a better episode to do it. That extra detail on Cryska’s Eishi suit mid-way thru the episode! Part of me was blinking twice to see if I was imagining things, as well as wondering if it’d continue… and well, it did. The CG for the TSF fights between the Idar Flight and EU squadron had some amazing detail to it already, but I didn’t expect em’ to maintain it for the Bao Feng Flight vs. Argos Flight battle toward the end. Either way, it was definitely a pleasant surprise, and one I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more often. The added detail just adds so much to the experience, as does the addition of insert songs from GRANRODEO (NO PLACE LIKE A STAGE!) too. Just amazing, amazing stuff.
Moving on, it’s not all just action and visual eye candy this week though, as we get some nice developments and reinforcement of past ones too. The politics aspect gets emphasized further for one, as Leon and his American counterparts show their true intent, which is to enforce American dominance and to end the entire Prominence Project altogether. In addition, we see exactly why the UN bothered agreeing in the first place as well, which was to acquire various details on primary technology they currently don’t possess, such as the J-10’s sword. Guess in the end, it breaks even eh? You steal some of our stuff, we’ll steal yours. Sounds like a fair trade to me, albeit somewhat stupid, considering their need to cooperate in order to survive. But hey, it’s just the continued commentary from Muv-Luv in regards to human nature, and I’m inclined to think that if we were thrust into a similar scenario, we’d be doing the same thing. Humans really are enigmas when all’s said and done… but yeah, that’s enough philosophical pandering.
Continuing off from before after reinforcement of past developments, we get continued emphasis on Yuuya’s development and maturation as both a person and an Eishi. His acceptance of himself as a Japanese-American continues, and it’s surprising quite a few people in the process. It’s been a long time coming and not quite unexpected as a result, but it really is just nice to see. His skills have improved greatly with the adaption of Japanese technology and TSF philosophies and he’s notably nowhere near the arrogant asshole he was before… though that role’s now being taken over by Leon. Seems like there just has to be one of those guys around from time to time eh? Keep the motivation levels high, heh.
In any case, it sure looks like there was some romance going on between Sharon and Yuuya at some point before, which in turn seems to link somewhat to an event that Leon seems quite distraught about. Not quite sure what it could be at the moment, but hoping they’ll go into some more detail into that soon. Continuing on the romance discussion, gotta also love Cui and her assertiveness, as doing somersaults and saying things like “It’s okay to fall in love with me too” are some quite bold (and enjoyable to watch) actions/statements.
Looking forward, while it seems like things’ll take a break from the serious anti-BETA operations for a little bit, it doesn’t look like any of the coming episodes will disappoint at the least. The Infinities vs. Argos Flight battle’s coming up soon, and it’ll be a darn treat. Until then, here are some relevant pictures of some figures I’ve recently acquired regarding the Muv-Luv franchise:
Full-length images: 18.