「人形の家」 (Ningyō no Ie)
“House of Dolls”
Just when you thought you had the series figured out, it surprises you with something new. Coming into this episode, I would’ve bet money that we were going to get nothing but 20 minutes of epic naval piew piew. But as it turns out, I was completely off the mark. As with the previous weeks though, it’s all good, because it’s yet another pleasant surprise. Indeed, Gunzou continues to show just why he’s such a mystery (and lure) for the Fog, and it’s all about turning on the charm as he tries to turn the tables on Kongou and Maya.
The attempt merely delays the inevitable though, and the hospitality card doesn’t end up changing their overall situation. It did set up the foundations for key revelations and future developments however—some of which are listed below:
What this episode ends up being is more philosophical than anything, and it’s a great showcase of interactions between the Fog and the Gunzou group. Both sides are probing each other for the answers they can’t figure out on their own, and it’s akin to two spy agencies competing each other to find the answer first. At the same time, it’s interesting to note that finding out the answer isn’t exactly a priority either. After all, there won’t be a need to find out the answer if you just eliminate the source of the question, and it further emphasizes the dynamics at play here. Adding more to this dynamic is the continued humanization of the Fog members—even Kongou seems to be changing—and one could go on all day about the many aspects Ars Nova is balancing on its plate at the moment.
In the meanwhile, it must be said that it’s great how the series doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. It’s always important to have a proper balance of elements—especially when you’re not going for a grim dark series—and this episode continues the series’ tendency to even out serious moments with comedic ones. Kirishima messing around with the waves, Haruna’s shazaam moments… it’s these little things that Ars Nova does extremely well—making the series a pleasure to watch. 20 minutes just pass by, and this is easily turning into the show I most look forward to on a weekly basis.
That said, it looks like we’ll finally get the clash we’ve been looking forward to next week. One wonders how Gunzou’ll pull off a win, but considering the amount of Fog ships he now has allied with him, he does have some extra firepower at his disposal this time around. Furthermore, it looks like he’s attempt to mess with Kongou’s logic processes did land a small success—one bite’s worth, to be exact—and it could be something that triggers the beginning of her downfall. At the very least, there’s a nice pun in there somewhere.