「決死の脱出行」 (Kesshi no Dasshutsu Gyou)
Since Zephyr is out having a ball, I’m here to cover base for him in the meantime. Boy, was this the episode for him to miss out on–Chihaya Gunzou is in clear danger for the first time, with a pissed-off Kongou still ready for revenge and the mysterious twin sisters acting under command of another mysterious power. I can’t believe this show is ending in three more episodes–I want more!
Though I don’t normally consider myself a fan of the pew pew anime, Ars Nova has a warm place in my heart this season, even compared to my favorite genres. The way that the show finds a delicate balance between advancing the plot and not taking itself seriously allows us to read into the show as much as we desire. Want to kick back and enjoy the innuendos and fanservice? Go ahead. Have a hankering to read into the deeper implications of “weapons with a conscience?” Go for it. The flexibility that this show provides, as well as the enjoyability factor of the genre, has made this show into something that has far exceeded expectations.
What’s left now is the climax. All good shows with action must have some sort of satisfying climax, with this episode being at least the first of such. Today’s episode provided excellent development of Kongou’s character, who has slowly started to acknowledge the effect of mental models interacting not only with humans, but with humanized mental models. Unfortunately for her calculations, physical isolation of her core from the island did absolutely nothing to protect her. While Kongou most likely assumed that mere presence around Gunzou is what causes errors, it is the actual input that a mental model receives–holographic or not–that affects their cognition. Through a variety of interactions with her former subordinates, even the patient Kongou has her limits, where even the Admirality Code cannot save her from the mind games and emotions of others. However, if this was the case, then where did our twins come from, and who sent them? We can infer that they aren’t moving of their own command, so two questions remain. First: who is it that sent these two submarines? Second: who was it that was smart enough to see through Gunzou’s plan and outmaneuver him in the field of battle? I guess that there is a higher-up in command at work here, one who even Kongou cannot compare to. With three episodes left though, will we see the answers to these questions? Hopefully so.
On the presentation side, this episode was pretty top-notch. The pew pews were as colorful and energetic as possible–that vertical merge of the two supergravity cannons was especially beautiful, as well as the multi-layered defense that Hyuuga sustained despite hundreds of missiles coming her way. For a 3D CGI show, I thought that the character designs would be too jarring to bear, but at this point of the show, it’s grown on me. Times do exist where the animation is low on the framerate, but these are far and wide enough to not pose a major issue.
Overall, I look forward to seeing how Ars Nova will wrap itself up, especially considering how far they’ve drifted from the source material (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). If they continue to drive home these themes of purpose, direction, and humanization up until the end, Ars Nova is shaping itself up to be one of the better-crafted shows this season in terms of pacing and character development. While the pew pews are a joy to watch, it’s nice to step back and view the show through its constant questions:
Where are we going?
Where do we come from?
How big can Chiyaha Gunzou’s
fleet harem get?
ED3: 「Innocent Blue」by Trident