「星の海原」 (Hoshi no Unabara)
“Sea of Stars”
Let’s get right down to business and address the elephant in the room, shall we? Claire Cruz as Nina Viento? I did not see that coming. At all. And really, I’m still reeling from the shock of the revelation, which was game changing both in terms of the series itself and the impressions I have of the series as a whole. Because even though I’ve spent the last few episodes discussing how Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta has potential, this sudden twist makes me realize that even I may have underestimated the series, and it’s a pleasant surprise to say the least.
It goes to show how important it is to properly execute developments though, and Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta hits the nail on the head with this one—sucking us into its pacing since the very beginning by hinting at darker things to come, then striking us with probably the biggest reveal this series has to offer when we least expected it. Here I was, thinking it was merely going to be a straight forward rescue + character development episode, and look what we got instead. This is pacing and shock value done right, and it’s a revelation that completely changes the dynamics between Claire and Kal-el from the viewers perspective. The sudden “fairy-tale” couple turns out to be just that—too good to be true—and it’s something that both leaves you in awe, and wondering what the future ends up holding for the two. Could they be star-crossed from the beginning? Or will Kal-el really find out what it means to forgive?
There’s so much they can do from here, and it’s a testament to how much they’ve managed to develop here without us even realizing it. The gradual flashbacks to the past have started giving way to the big picture, and as I mentioned in my previous post, it’s a picture that notes just how similar Claire and Kal-el are. Indeed, it can be said they are two sides of the same coin—similar in the respect that they’re both on the same coin, but also literally (and eternally) separated by the fact that they’re on the opposite side of the same coin, just as they were during the Wind Revolution and just as their developmental paths were.
That said, it’s interesting to note that despite the many revelations we’ve been getting, we’re still far from the full picture. The series is doing things in such a way that we can’t really confirm or deny whether or not the Wind Revolution was warranted or not, and like many of the other developments we’ve gotten so far, it keeps us guessing at what’s to come—a notion that separates this series from the rest of the pack in terms of viewer engagement and development. At the same time, it’s important to note that this revelation suddenly makes it possible that they can wrap things up properly in the one-cour time slot given to them, and I don’t know what else to say here.
I’m just eager to see what Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta has left to give us. With the whole plot between Claire (Nina Viento) and Kal-el, Ignacio and Kal-el, and the inevitable developments regarding the “End of the Sky” all left, there’s just a lot of great plot lines to explore, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it’s one of only a handful of new Winter shows with this kind of potential left. Many of the new series have already shown most of their hands in terms of what to expect, but this series looks like it’s just getting started, and I’m darn excited to see how things end up. It may yet fulfill the high expectations placed upon it.