「聖泉」 (Hijiri Izumi)
“The Holy Spring”

Here we are. Having flown officially over the Holy Spring, the first part of Isla’s journey is now over. It’s been said that an end is merely another beginning though, and it’s almost time that we see exactly what it is the End of the Sky has to offer (aside from what’s likely to be a variety of testing trials for our cast). For now though, we’re still in the calm before the storm, and this week’s episode ends up focusing more on individual character development more than anything.

Sadly however, what this episode also ends up being is a mixture of hits and misses. Because amid all the celebrations and our cast’s attempt to forget the presence of the Sky Clan, it seems like some development was forgotten as well. Maybe it was just me, but the biggest issue I had with this episode was the focus on Chiharu and Mitty’s relationship, which seems to have abruptly jumped a few steps onto the level of crying, holding hands, and expressions of “I just want to fly this sky forever.” I get what they were trying to do here—there’s a lot of parallels to be drawn to Claire x Kal-el especially—but at the same time, the latter had nearly half the series to develop to the point it has, and the former has only had a few glimpses up until now. There’s a jarring difference between the developmental time given to the two relationships, and this ended up being something I couldn’t end up buying into.

That said, even the relationship between Claire and Kal-el seemed to take a slightly unnatural turn this week as well. Part of their interactions could be explained by the events of last episode, but at the same time it feels like there was a decent amount of time that passed in between this episode and the last. Generally, it feels like they were both getting along a lot better than one would’ve expected given what we’ve seen so far, and it felt somewhat odd to see. This doesn’t end up a big issue considering how much their relationship has been developed so far, but it’s hard to shake off the notion that some of the character development (and some of the animation) seemed off compared to previous episodes—even without mentioning the many question marks surrounding Ignacio and the inconsistencies behind his actions.

At least though, we do get some developments rolling on the story front, and it’s interesting to see how things are developing here. Because at this point, the Council of Four clearly demonstrate that they knew about the Sky Clan all along, and the way they seem content to label them barbarians AND their willingness to send trainees out to fight seems to point at some rather sinister motives. Up until now, I had been thinking that much of the dark foreshadowing will have to do with the enemies they have yet to face. But while it’s clear the Sky Clan (and/or whatever else hasn’t been revealed yet) will play a part, it’s intriguing to note that the very people giving our main cast their orders may end up playing an equal or bigger part.

All things considered, the future looks quite bleak, which is sad considering how this episode continues highlighting how Claire is essentially a normal girl now. She’s just someone who wants to live a normal life and be around the person she’s fallen for—even if deep down she may feel like there’s no way they could be together if he found out her secret—and she may not even get that if the Council of Four have their way and forcefully separate the two. It’s a heart wrenching scenario if I’ve ever seen one, and the foreboding title of next week’s episode (“Glorious Death”) doesn’t help the cause either. Phew* The next few episodes could be quite loaded…




      1. @ewok40k: “Japanese aircraft so far spotted in China seem to be bad copies of old european designs” – US intelligence report, summer 1941. You know what followed next?…(attack on Pearl Harbor cite)

        Wow… sorry, but that’s a gross over simplification of the actual events, and frankly IMO, relating the two is highly tangential at best apart from the obvious sign of continued Japanese aggression during the period. Besides, the IJA (army) conducted air operations in China while the IJN (navy) was obviously in charge of the Pearl Harbor attack, and the two for the most part did not use the exact same aircraft.

        The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was an IJN plane, not an IJA plane. Furthermore, the IJN was still ramping delivery of the Zero during 1941. The Type 0 Model 21 wasn’t finalized until the end of 1940 with maybe 3 carriers worth produced by the end of that year. By summer of 1941, there were not enough Zeros to go around for both the IJN and IJA even if Japanese HC wanted to allocate the plane to both.

        The IJA’s Nakajima Ki-43 “Oscar” was quite similar (not identical) in design to the (in)famous Zero fighter, but entire 1941 production was quite limited. In fact, the “Oscar” first saw operational use over China in October of 1941 with initial delivery to one IJA Chinese based squadron taking place between June-August 1941.

        That leaves the Nakajima Ki-27 “Nate” (which was replaced by the Nakajima Ki-43) as the main IJA figher in China during the summer of 1941. By 1941, the fixed landing gear “Nate” was clearly obsolete, and arguably in many ways, inferior to the also obsolete US Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo – nicknamed by USMC pilots as the “flying coffin”. In short, the statement “Japanese aircraft so far spotted in China [emphasis added] seem to be bad copies of old European designs.” during the summer 1941 is actually a fairly accurate one. Even if it wasn’t, it had little bearing compared to many other events which lead up to the Pearl Harbor attack.

        OT: If you’re interested in reading up on that subject, I highly recommend the book “At Dawn We Slept – The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor” by Prange, Goldstein and Dillon.

      2. @Daikama:
        Not only Zeros were tested in combat over China, but Claude Chennault leading Flying Tigers volunteers helping the Chinese defend against Japanese aggression was sending info on “new advanced Japanese fighters” back to Washington via unofficial contacts. He was of course completely ignored.

        The first Zeros (pre-series A6M2) went into operation in July 1940.[13] On 13 September 1940, the Zeros scored their first air-to-air victories when 13 A6M2s led by Lieutenant Saburo Shindo attacked 27 Soviet-built Polikarpov I-15s and I-16s of the Chinese Nationalist Air Force, shooting down all the fighters without loss to themselves.


      3. @ewok40k: Regarding the part you quoted, you have highly trained, experienced Japanese pilots shooting down antiquated bi-planes (I-15) and a 1934 designed (I-16), first gen monoplane which (according to Wiki) was “a difficult fighter to fly” – both of which were piloted by inexperienced Chinese aircrews.

        Hardly surprising if US HC didn’t consider that encounter an “apples to apples” comparison for the Zero against US planes and pilots. As for the quote where Chennault was “completely ignored” regarding info sent back via “unofficial sources”, I didn’t see that on wiki though quite possible I missed it/you got it somewhere else. In terms of any intel obtained during his command of the AVG (“Flying Tigers”), the group’s first combat mission didn’t occur until Dec 20, 1941 – two weeks after Pearl Harbor. Noting that for timeline matching. From the same wiki article you quoted: The Zero quickly gained a fearsome reputation. If some in the US HC dismissed Chennault’s pre-Pearl Harbor warnings, that didn’t last for long. “Never dogfight with a Zero” was basic doctrine for USAA/USN/USMC early on if not from the start of the war for the US.

        Even disregarding the above, from everything I have read, I simply cannot understand why this potential failure of US intel in the summer of 1941 would have made any material difference regarding Pearl Harbor. 155 US planes – a large chunk of which were P-40s (the best fighter the US had en masse at the time and capable of taking down a Zero), were destroyed/rendered inoperable on the ground because US Army Hawaiian commander Lt. Gen. Short feared sabotage (to the point of near obsession) MUCH more than any carrier based attack. On his orders, the US Army Hawaiian based Airforce went on “sabotage alert” = planes were stacked in nice neat rows in an open space and NOT armed (ammo was ordered to be locked up >_>). The IJN literally could not have asked for a better situation if they wanted. The best planes, enemy aircraft intel and derived tactics are meaningless if your planes never get airborne. It’s that simple.

        The above is just ONE in a chain of material mistakes made by the US at that time – none of which include failure regarding enemy aircraft capability intel AFAIK. The book I mentioned above is over 700 pages (not including index/notes/etc.) – one of many on the topic. It’s impossible for me to go into detail here. Even so, I honestly cannot “connect the dots” between the two events as you suggest, and thus the reason for my replies.

        In terms of the show, I think it’s a given that the commander grossly underestimates the Sky Clan. As many have noted, this episode has more “flags” than a semaphore contest – that being one of them.

      4. @ Daikama I was referring to the generally condescending and carefree attitude Western Allies had towards technical capabilities of the Imperial Japan, not the PH attack itself. The attack could have been even worse if Kido Butai nailed the US carriers or destroyed more of base itself, especially fuel tanks.

      5. @ewok40k: Fair enough, though as I noted, that didn’t last long – particularly concerning the Zero. The F6F Hellcat was the direct result of such realization, and with its introduction along with the F4U Corsair in 1943, the aircraft technological tables had turned in the Pacific. It should also be noted that for all its offensive potency, the Zero was a potential flying torch – a veritable glass cannon against .50 cal tracer and incendiary rounds.

        And yes, the Pearl Harbor attack would have been much, much more devastating had the IJN destroyed the fuel tank farm and repair facilities as well, but Yamamoto and the IJN HC were focused on ships, not the base itself. That mistake falls squarely upon the IJN (though the US should have realized storing millions of gallons of fuel oil above ground on a military base is not a good idea). US Admr. Nimitz himself stated that had the tank farm been destroyed, it would have prolonged the Pacific War by at least several months if not a year or more. The IJN didn’t correctly prioritize targets and/or taken the risk for a third strike.

        They didn’t “finish the job”, and they were utterly mistaken as to the psychological impact. Rather than “crush the weak US fighting spirit” to the point the US would sue for peace, the PH attack had the exact opposite effect. The IJA/IJN certainly had a condescending view of their foes as well – arguably more so and longer lasting.

        Back on topic, one thought I have is whether this whole thing is in part a set up for Claire to reveal her “true” identity to Kal. Have the rookies decimated (possibly the normal squadrons as well) to the point the “wind priestess” is forced to save the day. For all it’s heavy-handedness, I must admit I’m a bit curious as to how things play out.

  1. I don’t think it’s all that odd that they’re suddenly giving development time to Chiharu and Mitty – they want us to feel sad when they inevitably bite the dust (next episode, guessing from the title). I mean, really, the death flags are pretty obvious. Kind of a cheap tactic to use, but hey.

    I agree that elements of this episode felt off – it didn’t seem to flow all that naturally sometimes. Got the feeling they’re rushing it a bit or something. I liked the scenes with the Council of Four and the other admirals though, as they not only provided hints about some dark motives but also fleshed out the other teachers some more.

    Welp, time for drama next episode.

    1. “they want us to feel sad when they inevitably bite the dust”

      Well,their cheap tactic didn’t work for me and probably for many other viewers too(I guess that’s why it’s called cheap,heh).

      I’ll be blunt though,I don’t give a damn about the side characters in this show. Okay,maybe a little about the adults but the trainees just look like wasted screentime,taken away from the real meat of the series,the story revolving around Karl & Claire. At least the adults help drive the story forward,but mostly everything that happens when the trainees are in the spotlight could be labelled as filler material and I really don’t think this show can afford that with so much to do in just 1-cour.

      To me,the other trainees always felt like the weakest part of this anime so this episode was probably my least favorite so far. I hope there won’t be much time spent weeping for their deaths whenever they come…

  2. I liked this episode and the change of pace. As for Chiharu’s and Mitty’s relationship, they have been spending a lot of time training together off camera (they’re a team like Kal and Claire), so I’m willing to believe Chiharu has developed some feelings for Mitty as he is helping her become a better pilot, which is important to her (wants to feel important, capable). And it doesn’t seem that the next episode will be so relaxed as well so it’s all good in my book.

    1. Meh,it kind of annoyed me. These off-camera events are a bad way of handling developments of any kind if you ask me. The audience can speculate all day & night on what happens off-camera but at the end of the day,they’re nothing more than speculations.

      1. They’re not the focus of the series though, it’s understandable that the writers don’t devote much screen time in this romance. On the other hand if the “death flag” comments come true, it will definitely feel sloppy and forced in one episode they’re holding hands and in the next drama because one of the two dies..

      2. That’s why it’d be better not to attempt to make some half-assed developments at all,when it can use that time for better things.

        To me they were cannon fodder before and this episode hasn’t changed that. They’re just don’t seem relevant to the story at all while breathing. Their deaths,on the other hand,will most likely prove to be much more useful and they don’t necessarily need to have much of an impact on the audience for that(although it’d certainly be a plus,but I feel that’d be asking too much),it’s gonna have enough on Karl & Claire either way. In fact,when some of the trainees will(inevitably?) bite the dust clouds,I’ll probably end up feeling more sorry for Karl,Claire & I Airi for loosing their friends rather than the friends themselves 😛

        And with that,I’ll now be going to hell.

  3. Ways to tell when something bad will happen to a character(s)…

    1.) The character(s) get A LOT more screentime than they usually do.

    2.) Whatever relationship the character(s) is in will get a lot more screentime and development.

    3.) The character(s) suddenly start getting a lot more of their backstory revealed within the same 1-2 episodes.

    4.) When the character(s) start saying they want things to go on “forever”, “a really long time”, etc.

    …and so on…

  4. I really like this series but I wish they could have expanded on the aerodynamic theories of the floating island, the airship, and the airplanes a bit more. I don’t know if I just missed it, but the world building felt lacking. It’s like they just introduced a really interesting concept yet they failed to deliver.

    I want to know how the hell were the rear-seat passengers able to stand on a plane which is flying around 30,000′ msl. Forget the lack of oxygen, the main problem is how their bodies able to withstand that intense dynamic pressure and drag.

    Also it still cracks me up whenever I see the airship with windmilling propellers.

    Goodbye Mitty and Chiharu. You will be missed.

    1. I totally agree, this felt like a waste of an episode for this series. It would have been fine for a two-cour series but there are only 12 episodes in which to build a world, develop the characters so you have a vested interest in their fates, and then put them in situations where you see how they work through and overcome obstacles for a payoff in the end.

      The events in this chapters came down to three items: They found the Holy Spring. They will have to fight. There is a rushed love/death flag moment. They could have covered all this in about 7 minutes at most.

  5. Am I the only one got “Chiharu belongs to Sky Clan” vibes from this episode?
    Her face whenever the enemies were mentioned seems to hint that, not to mention mentioning them made her all angsty in the first place.

    In my opinion, it’s that or death flag. Bad things coming for them whichever it is…

  6. I agree, it was kinda hit&miss this time. it wasn’t bad episode or something, it was fine on its own. but I expected the series to enter high gear by now.
    I can’t say it was total waste of time. but instead of pushing a little more, at least at the end of the episode, it felt a little like they are taking the time a bit too much than necessary.

    it was quite clear that this group won’t stay as it is after the upcoming events (sky clan or whatever else coming toward them). it’s hard to say who will survive or not..and it will be dramatic when the death will occur. I hope not too dramatic.
    but there is a good dynamic within that group of trainees. and I believe it’ll be the key to their survival.

    Claire is carefree now. she seems to enjoy life she has right now and all. and it’s nice to see there are good people like the admiral who takes care for her. it shows that even though it was seemed like she is a mere puppet in all this journey, there is still hope. kinda like Ari’s father when he took Kal.

    half of the series is behind us already. 6 eps left. I hope the series will enter higher pace and become more intense. it’s time to push story forward and deal with challenges. first one will be the upcoming battle. and later on, I hope without too much time to rest, it’ll be the time to face other challenges like Kal and Claire (more like Karl and Nina LOL).
    it is the time to bring out the potential of this show.

  7. I was happy with the flow of the episode and every scene of it. The point is, are all other couples banned from falling in love, holding hands, kissing and doing whatever they like just because they didn’t have as much screen time as Kal-el and Claire?

    They spend the same amount of time on their relationships. They’re in the same situation on the same island. Also we’ve seen them interacting with each other in previous episodes, it was obvious they’re falling for each other, it’s not any surprise that comes out with this episode.

    The problem lies not with them being fast, but Kal-el and Claire taking the typical anime-style “let’s hesitate with showing any feelings till the last episode”.

    1. Also, I’ve enjoyed their last scene a lot. It’s not many times we can see in anime a gentle romance development of two side characters without any drama going on between them. It’s good to see such a thing from time to time.

      1. We usually do that when we are going to kill them later on. Are we gonna kill them later? Something tells me(next episode’s title) the show’s gonna kill them later/next episode. Wouldn’t it be nice to kill them while their love is still in the bloom? We’ll be reaping angst and suffering.

  8. It looks like our Ice King Ignacio is slowly starting to defrost. Thank you, Ariel. Also, if the spoilers I’ve read are any indication (and if my estimates are correct), he’ll be getting his time in the spotlight pretty soon- either in the next episode or the one after, and I reckon the series’ focus on him will last two, maybe three episodes.

  9. wow…. bring out the body bags and tissue boxes. Next episode is our all to famous Death Flag episode! Naturally, fat boy is gonna die first, but i wonder who else is gonna get axed?

  10. I personally fall under the faction of viewers who liked the way this episode went. I can see how some of the pacing felt a little bit wonky, but over all, I liked it. I see it as the final calm before the storm. I also got vibes that Chiharu is somehow connected with the Sky Clan. The budding romance between Mitty and Chiharu brought a smile to my face. I personally thought it was a pretty well developed background romance. The hints were shown but not in the forefront like Claire and Kal-el. I guess I’m pretty relaxed about the pacing because part of me feels as though this is going to get another season. I would like for it to have another season, because there is so much potential and I think if they slowed down and fully developed it, this could be one of the most amazing shows I’ve seen in a while.

    tl;dr – In denial that the show is only getting one cour to show its massive potential. MittyxChiharu OTP!

    The Walker

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