Aww yeah, the penultimate episode of Ars Nova is here, and it’s every bit as epic as we expected it to be. Best of all? It wasn’t even so much about the combat as it was about the developments that happened during it. That’s not to say the taking down of 22 Nagara class ships in the span of 30 seconds wasn’t impressive—it was quite awesome—but there’s so much more to this show than just epic piew piew, and we get another great episode proving just that. Because amid all the fighting, we got Kongou breaking loose and prepping for her own carnival (turning ever more human in the process), and touching interactions between the I-400 series of sister ships.
What this goes to show is how the Fog no longer even need to have direct conversational contact with Gunzou and his crew to be affected by them now. Instead, they need only to be in the sights of a particular Fog vessel as a primary objective, and it highlights how our main cast have grown since the beginning of the series. Whereas they had originally been just a “blip” on the screen in the Fog’s eyes, they’re anything but now—both literally (in terms of size and gravitational readings) and figuratively. Their incomprehensible tactics, ability to survive despite literally having been sunk previously, and the ever growing additions to their crew… all of these have combined to make the Arpeggio fleet a mobile virus, or “error in logic” of sorts, and they’re able to cause issues in the Fog’s processors just by being on a mental model’s radar now. That’s just how incomprehensible they are, and they’re a threat that grows bigger and bigger the longer they survive and the more mental models they come in contact with.
I-402 (and subsequently I-400) end up being the latest to be hit by this phenomenon, and it’s not without irony that the Fog’s tactic of creating a mental model ended up being a double edged sword. What was made with the intent of understanding humanity has since turned their own members into human or human-like organisms, and it’s a perfect storm of events that could very well lead to the Fog’s demise. That is of course, assuming that Gunzou can fight back against his toughest challenge yet. With a powered up Kongou x Maya behind him, a huge fleet of American faction Fog in front, and the hope of humanity in his possession, it’s crunch time—right in time for the grand finale. And what a grand finale it’ll be.
That said, I can’t say enough times how spectacular this episode was. The entire episode was just filled with “awwwww yeahhhhh” moments—mixing together plot progression, character development, serious moments, and lighthearted fun. Takao’s “return” was a great moment especially—ALL HAIL THE TSUNDERE CRUSIER—and it’s added on to superbly with the continuation of Hyuuga’s Iona-obsessed antics.
Looking forward, it’s just full steam ahead, because there just isn’t any choice on the part of our main cast. It’s do or die time, and it’s only fitting that the best is indeed saved for last. While I completely expect Gunzou to maneuver his way out of this—perhaps by utilizing Kongou to his advantage—the fact is, even if they do somehow fail to survive the next episode, it’s already been a journey memorable for a whole range of reasons. It goes without saying that this series in general has vastly exceeded expectations—it’d be my choice for that category if we were doing the AOTY post today—and I’d just like to end things here to those viewers who have joined both Zanibas and I for this wild ride. One last episode to go.