「カドケス高等学校飛空科」 (Kadokesu Koto Gakko Hi Sora Ka)
“Cadoques High, Aerial Division”
Here we go. As training gets underway, this could be the start of something great… or one of the bigger disappoints of the season. Because if there’s anything I’ve noticed here with Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta so far, it’s that there’s a lot to work with, and how much they successfully execute it all could result in a wide range of final impressions.
At the moment though, they seem to be doing quite well—seamlessly integrating the Cadoques High introductory segment with extra information about the series’ rather extensive universe. And it’s a great start, because having such an extensive universe and managing to tell viewers about it without it being overbearing are two important elements for any adventure story. This goes double for this series in particular, as this setting also sets the foundation for the drama and romance portions of the story here, and it’s nice to see that they’ve gotten that down early on.
Indeed, the whole three continents surrounded by an endless sea (and an endless waterfall) setting ends up being quite unique in its own way, and it serves quite well as a factor that engages viewers and gets them invested in the overall story. There’s an air of mystery about it all that leaves you wondering what exactly it is they’ll find when they reach the End of the Sky and whether or not all of them end up surviving until then. Benjamin’s question of why Isla needs protection in the first place hints at some potential enemies in the future, and it’s interesting to note how both the instructors chose not to answer the question directly. Furthermore, it has to be noted that the flying island they’re on may not be entirely of their own design at all—it may have just appeared the Holy Spring—which if true, brings with it a whole host of questions about its origins and the technology behind it.
There are just a lot of puzzle pieces to sort out before it’s all said and done, and again, how they end up being addressed—along with the budding romance between Claire and Kal-el—will end up being key determinants of how far this series goes. For now however, we’re getting back some pieces in regards to the main cast, and it’s nice how this episode seems to exchange the questions about the grand scheme with information regarding the rest of the pilots. Best of all, none of it is rushed, and we manage to find out quite a bit about each member’s past and/or the reason they signed up in the first place. Notably, this also set up the whole noble vs. commoners conflict we saw budding in the first episode, as well as the revelation that Ignacio Axis seems to know exactly who Kal-el is—providing even more plot threads from which to build from.
Ultimately, this second episode is good follow up to what’s been a pretty solid start to the series so far. If the many potential plot lines have hinted at anything, it’s that this could be the show with one of the highest ceilings this season, and I look forward to seeing how things work out here. I can’t say I’m enthused that the series only has one-cour to work with and I can’t say I liked how Kal-el nonchalantly ditched Ariel for Claire during the training exercise (even if it made perfect sense why), but yeah… guess we’ll see. Until next week, be sure to “nurture your own independence.” Just don’t take that to mean that you should only eat bread all the time like a certain someone.