「要塞港 横須賀」 (Yousaikou Yokosuka)
“Fortress Port of Yokosuka”
Our favorite submarine loli is back for its third episode, and while it ain’t as packed with as much action as the previous weeks, it’s still an equally superb episode. And why’s that? Because of the puns, of course!
Ahem* Terrible jokes aside, it was a pretty good episode—seriously—because while there was a general lack of naval combat, it was easily made up by the sheer amount of both plot and character development. Indeed, as Gunzou and the crew make it back to Yokosuka after two years, change is the name of the game, and things are really starting to get rolling in the background.
First and foremost? The obvious change in the Fog following their deployment of mental models—most of which have now developed individual personalities, and from there, evolved tactics and ways of thinking as well. And it’s something that’s both demonstrated via the unprecedented attack on an inland port by not one, but two battleships and by Takao’s decision to leave the fleet of her own free will in hopes of making Gunzou her captain (OH THE PUNS!). Furthermore, Iona’s obviously changing as well—asking of questions about the world by her own free will, showing interest in people other than her crew, and actually having an answer as to her purpose. Needless to say, Gunzou’s choice to board the 401 and his subsequent victories against the Fog over the last two years have definitely done enough to break the stagnant status quo. The problem? By breaking the status quo, he’s forcing things to move forward, and it’s a decision that might very well cause humanity’s destruction much sooner than expected.
With that said though, it was arguably the right choice considering the fact the humanity’s days were probably numbered either way, and it’s something that highlights Chihaya Gunzou’s awesomeness as a captain and as a human being in general. Because ultimately, one can say that he was the only one willing to make the tough choice (though I guess he was the only one given this choice), and it’s something that may just very well give humanity their only chance to successfully fight back. Combine that with his characteristics—he’s decisive, willing to take risks, skilled with naval combat, able to talk it up with the best of them (even the potential new Prime Minister), and takes responsibility for his decisions—and you arguably get the best humanity has to offer. And it’s just fitting, as there ain’t anyone better to fight off the Fog than he is at this point—especially since his designation as a “traitor to humanity” makes it so he doesn’t have any political allegiances or anything of the sort. Granted, that doesn’t mean he won’t end up getting caught in any political gamesmanship on the part of others that do have allegiances, but gosh darn, all that sets up are some awesome scenes of him and Iona just sticking big middle fingers at those people and not giving a rat’s ass.
But yeah, the aforementioned make this week essentially an episode that gives us a necessary and meaningful break from the action. And that’s without talking about the potential meanings behind Gunzou’s discussion on “illogical whims,” his mention of humans “seeking meaning in meaningless things,” or Kita Ryoukan’s remark about Iona being virtually indistinguishable from a real human. Looking forward, it just looks like it’s going to be darn awesome (pun-filled) ride, and it’s a ride that’ll be on RC from this point forward. In response to popular demand, both Zanibas (caps) and I (post itself) will be combining together to give Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova weekly coverage, and it really is as they say: two heads are better than one. You don’t have to take my word for it though, as the Fog obviously agree too—sending not one, but two battleships into the fray next week!
Author’s Note: Please refrain from spoilers beyond this point in the manga. If you must, please use spoiler tags.