「恋歌」 (Koiuta)
“Love Song”

If there’s one thing I have to say about Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, it’s how hard it is to get a grasp on it. One week it’ll be filled with hits/misses, another week it’ll be a complete miss, and other times it’ll manage to hit all the right notes. Say what you want about the previous episodes, but this week was definitely more of the hit variety than anything else. In fact, it might be the series’ best episode yet.

It’s been said that there’s a kind of beauty in simplicity, and ultimately, that’s what I feel like this episode (and to an extent, this series) ends up being about. Because despite the adventure backdrop and the whole story we get about The End of the Sky, Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta isn’t so much about those elements as it is just a straight forward love story; one built up on a simple notion that people will inevitably change over time and that sometimes, it’s better being able to forgive than to spend your entire life consumed with hate. What we see this week is our cast finally realizing and accepting this sentiment, and it was just nice seeing Kal-el, Claire, and Ignacio all come to terms with their past in one way or another. Sometimes, you just don’t need fancy plot twists and/or crazy convoluted plot lines and Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta really demonstrates this.

Don’t get me wrong. This series isn’t a masterpiece by any sense of the word—there’s a boatload of issues one could talk about—and some of us may not even remember it given a few years, but the fact is that Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta isn’t bad by any sense of the word. This week’s episode demonstrates exactly why and one needs only look at Kal-el’s singular reply to Claire/Nina as the main reason:


In ways, it’s as simple of a reply as they come. But while it may just be one phrase, it’s also a beautiful representation of how less can sometimes be more. You don’t always need a dramatic speech or some long-winded confession. Words can’t always encompass all the feelings one may have in a given moment, and it’s times like this where only one word (or phrase)—especially if it’s one you never thought you’d say—is all you need. The fact that Kal-el ends up telling Claire to live—him out of all people—makes this scene more powerful than any other phrase or action that could’ve been done here, and it’s just good execution in a series that’s often had its share of faults in this regard.

Needless to say, the aforementioned goes a long way towards fulfilling at least some of the expectations I had for this show, and it feels nice to have the series meet at least some of that before it’s all said and done. That said, it’s interesting to note that there’s a mention of “one last sacrifice” needing to be made, and sadly, what this does is just make it seem less likely than ever that our main pairing will last. There’s been a kind of feeling that their relationship has been star crossed from the start and things are lining up to an ending that will confirm this. As for when the ending’ll come though, it’s interesting to note that next week may not actually be the last episode. Both MAL and ANN only have 12 episodes listed respectively, but the Japanese airing schedule actually lists a 13th untitled episode as the “final” instead. The journey may not be over yet after all.




  1. Still think this show needs 24 episodes. Does feel like it’s only in the middle of the story. I’m glad that he now understands his mother’s words and willing to move forward instead of living in the past.

    1. Yeah the ep count doesn’t do the show justice. Kinda reminds me of another pretty awesome show with hit misses because the quick pace, Galilei Donna. Was one of my favs that season, shame to hear they went from 22 ep to 11 in that show.

      Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta is definitely a too short category.

  2. This was acceptance. For Kal, acceptance that unless he let go of his past self and hatred, he’ll not continue ahead, and for Claire, acceptance of what she really is. As for how Claire/Nina recovered her power, she just accepted what Kal has given to her (her own life as a person, not as a figure)
    Banderas, showing his more MANLINESS side, helped the other two badasses of this last combat. Are we going to see Benji with a silver armor and a mechanical arm from now on? :p
    Ignacio, get a life, emo boy!
    It’s a shame that an episode so tense and full of emotions is lessened by a serious lack in the animation front.

    1. I´ve read of mothers that were capable of forgiving the murderers of their own childs, extremely difficult to happen but not imposible, life sure has all kind of surprises.

      1. I didn’t say it was impossible, i said it was highly unlikely.I have read plenty of stories, mostly of war times and through history in general(the french revolution, when the aristocracy heads began rolling lol). People just didn’t let it go even after many after years and even through generations. Personally i wouldn’t be able to do it and probably most of the planet too. I think what helped here is that Nina was just a “tool” and didn’t have a direct hand in Kal’s parents death. I was expecting some kind of Count of Monte Cristo unrelenting revenge drama at the beginning of the series.

      2. I know what you mean, I was expecting a story like that as well but I realized that it´s a deconstruction of that story, Edmundo Dantes was not capable of keep up living if he didn´t erase the people who destroy his life, he was more that capable of living with the thing he did to obtain peace of mind; kal in other would surely be eaten alive by his own hatred.

  3. Superman always forgives, it was expected. Zod didn’t forgive though, he still jelly for life, “it’s not fair” no shit sherlock, life isn’t fair it should be obvious.

    I’m glad Claire apologized too, even though she was just being used, she was still responsible for what happened.

    It’s a shame that Benji will never be able to choke his chicken again, unless he’s left handed, but I just can’t see how it works for left handed people lol.

  4. even when finally bringing the utmost cliches to the screen, Toaru Hikuushi does it gracefully.

    we knew (almost) all along that story-wise, this series is simple and everything was all set up – Claire finding power within her, Kal is finally understanding what forgive means, and their love and so and so. this isn’t really surprising, but even when pulling almost everything they had (revenge, love, hate, forgiveness, the will to live), Toaru Hikuushi executed all those stuff and scenes in such a lovely way.

    you’re right, this isn’t a masterpiece. but it never intended to be. still, this series, from the beginning till now, is just great. even if there were hits&misses before, on the whole this is a good series that doesn’t lose itself or getting wild. although it seems Toaru Hikuushi relayed on cliches and one might say that it was expected and all, this doesn’t matter. because the series made itself unique atmosphere and characters, so it worked. they did the right things with execution from episode to episode, especially this one. you know what they say – “keep it simple”. and that’s exactly what was here and needed. for example, the aerial combat, it was a bit with strategy but not too sophisticated. same with the action itself, it’s not too flashy, but a fine aerial combat. this true for other elements and themes as well. the point is that Toaru Hikuushi has its own niche.

    whether it’s one or two episodes left, this isn’t over. that one last sacrifice is probably the hardest burden for them (or us?LOL) to deal with. since stated in the first episode “yet to discover how cruel the world can be”, so it seems to me like the road so far wasn’t enough (although it’s already been quite a tough to deal with).
    how is Toaru Hikuushi gonna end the series? a plot-cliche-twist? with some bitter event but still looking forward the future or some real tragic event?this is the mystery left for us to find out in the remaining episode(s). and I am intrigued to see how they will pull it out and bring the finale, no matter what kind of twist it be.

  5. I felt cheated in this episode…..

    I was expecting to see Fana again but alas….

    Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the series and it’ll be better if this was longer or had the budget of Fana’s story

  6. The Kal/Clair drama was resolved quite nicely, though it was entirely predictable that Kal would give up his grudge and Clair regain her powers from love. It’ll be interesting to see where their characters and Ignacio’s go now that everything’s out in the open. The twist with the other trainees surviving was pretty good too, though I was wondering why Kal didn’t just pick them up himself.

    Visually this episode felt lacking, is it just me or was the animation rather off? The sky battleships especially looked rather blocky and oversimplified (though the sky clan’s dreadnaught looks totally badass, especially that gear motif at the prow) and there was one moment near the end where Clair’s face looked particularly off model.

    As usual, the aerial combat was ludicrously unrealistic, I’m now resigned to laughing at how bad it is. Seems like everything from the sky clan is made out of explodium, even their battleships! More single shot kills from Ignacio (this time in the middle of high-manuvering dogfighting! the plot armor is strong with the brothers) and a single salvo from the Barca and the enemy dreadnaught just blows up! Maybe it was a battlecruiser, not a true dreadnaught. The trainees flying that bloody close to it for targeting data was… not very realistic, also proper battleship targeting involves bracketing, not walking down. Not to mention, whatever happened to all those other planes from Isla and the sky clan? Weren’t they supposed to be slugging it out between the two big ships? Another cringe worthy moment was when the plane was going straight at Clair only to get shot down feet away from her and the fragments pull a 90 degree turn to avoid hitting her. Momentum doesn’t work that way! Plot armor!

    Finally, dramatic speeches in midair between a girl on the deck of a crashing battleship and a boy in an open cockpit twin engined fighter are extremely difficult to take seriously when your eyebrows are trying to jump off your face.

    1. To clarify some of those issues from stuff they cut from the LN, the AP rounds from Luna Balco managed to hit the magazine of the sky clan battleship.

      As for the convo between Claire and Karl, they actually weren’t having a conversation – Claire was literally talking to herself, the only actual word that was exchanged was Karl’s “live”.

      1. Seems like Luna Barco uses Ziess optics as well =P

        And thanks for the heads up Mike. It did nor occur that the plunging fire penetrated straight to the ammo store. Seems like Sky Clan ships aren’t designed to take plunging fire. Rather horizontal or gently slopping trajectory.

        I think the gun crew also forgot to close off the doors leading to the cordite store. Flash going down the ammo hoist would’ve ignited both shells and cordite charges

      2. “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!”

        Figured it was something like that, hence the references to the British battlecruisers. Or the Hood, same thing happened to it. While a big ship blowing up from a full broadside is far more plausible than, say, a plane exploding from a single rifle round, if you don’t know about magazine explosions it seems that every Sky clan plane conveniently blows up once they’re done prodding the characters and plot along. During the first half of the episode after Ignacio shot down a few Me-109 knockoffs I wondered jokingly if the battleship would explode from a single shot too, and lo and behold it did. At this point the Sky clan feels more like a faceless throwaway plot device than an actual antagonist.

        It’s good to know that Kal couldn’t hear Claire, but that wasn’t apparent to me from the episode. It would have been better if they made it more obvious that he could only see her, and add more weight to him yelling at her to live.

    1. At first, I’d complete agree, but once Claire, as Nina, started letting her emotions show through the mask more, especially as this episode showed, I think “Nina” jumped up quite a few notches.

    1. It’s possible that the bow was designed with the intention of ramming another aerial warship.

      Which actually isn’t all that surprising given that until cannon tech was further refined during WWI and really early into WWII, Ironclads and some surface warships still carried a reinforced bow + protrusion fitting in order to simply ram enemy ships and open holes at, and below, the water line in order to sink (simply named the “Naval Ram”). Said ships also featured a long and narrow hull to reduce the chance of being hit in head-on attacks, as well as to allow them to arrow their way through the water (at the expense of maneuverability).

      Bow aside, I do have to wonder if they will get a happy end; he’s a prince-in-exile on a floating island full of political and military exiles, so he has more of a chance than the pilot in The Princess and the Pilot did. Of course, that’s provided they acknowledge that he still is a possible noble. Otherwise, with Ignacio’s “Ace Pilot” comment, he’s destined to follow in the footsteps of Charles; and simply become the knight who serves the one he loves in the only way he can; by fighting on her behalf. If episode 12 wraps up things either way, episode 13, if not an error, will likely just be a short “after the events” showing off the survivors and what they’re doing now, and will possibly twist the knife in deeper as a closer.

      I do wonder if the other two story sets in the series have happier endings. “Toaru Hikuushi e no Yasoukyoku” doesn’t seem likely (and in fact seems like it could be even more bittersweet than Princess and the Pilot), while “Toaru Hikuushi e no Seiyaku” focuses on a female main and no synopsis to guess at.

    2. Weapons don’t have to look beautiful white and gilded. They just have to do what they are designed to. Look at the A-10 and B-52. Those planes are ugly, but they are among the most effective planes in the USAF. An A-10 can take a direct hit from a cannon round and still fly.
      That being said, the F-117 looks as cool as hell, but isn’t nearly as effective.

  7. Aha, those 2 almost died. Benji only suffered a hand,so they’re lucky. Karl and Ignacio are protected by fucking PLOT ARMOUR so no surprised there.

    And Claire got her powers back, yay. But the last scene hints of more sacrifices. The last 2 finale should be good.

  8. Benji and Noriki get blasted point blank range; not only is their plane still in one piece, but neither of them died.

    What is that I don’t even. . . HOW!?

    And how can a fifteen-year old have a chest like that!? Anime Logic = MINDBLOWN

    Ryan Ashlight
      1. No, what’s weird is that Claire would seem to host development just a smidge beyond her classmates and yet Kal, our supposed protagonist, screams with all the effeminate docile tones of one who hasn’t gone through puberty yet.

        Just sayin’

        Ryan Ashlight
      1. Setting aside your former classmates’ supposed growth spurt in which they’ve apparently surpassed the much admired guava melon stage and shot straight into honeydew territory; as I said from the very beginning, it’s anime logic, pure and simple.

        Ryan Ashlight
    1. Plenty of well developed 15 yo’s. My 14 yo daughter is probably better stacked than Clare.

      Also … you do realize that boys develop way slower than girls right? It’s really funny at that age to see the girls towering over the boys, especially at dances!

      1. Certainly no one’s arguing that a fifteen-year old can’t be well developed for her age, but there’s a generally understood limit to it, y’know? Hence why I find it hard to believe when you tell me that your fourteen-year old daughter is even better off than this. I’m not saying you’re lying, but still. . . far and beyond the average, if that’s true.

        Ryan Ashlight
      2. Does Claire wear a C-string underneath that dress? I swear so many charismatic female leaders in anime always wear that dress that is conservative except at the groin which basically only takes a gust of wind to reveal her damp cave to the whole world.

  9. Wow, that Nina Viento wig is the ultimate disguise. Simply taking it off removes all makeup and changes the colour of your eyes. It also completely hides away any hair that may be sticking out.

  10. I guess Karl is the better person. I would never be able to forgive Nina. Oh well, petty petty me. Course I didn’t just watch a whole bunch of friends die and others glide down with little hope of rescue. I guess situations do affect emotions. But that said, in the previews he was smiling and jabbering to Claire. So.. really pissed right now.

  11. All those deathflags, nice dodge there Benji and Noriaki…
    Benji joins the one-handed badasses club with Luke Skywalker and Jaime Lannister.
    Especially nice touch is the scarf he got as a lucky charm actually being used to stop bleeding that would easily have made him dead.

    And good luck to Kal-El and Claire. Unless the Isla authorities marry her off to someone in the Holy Empire to cement newly founded alliance…

  12. I figured that Claire’s wind power was going to be used as a “deus ex” of sorts ever since we found out she couldn’t use it anymore and what do you know? I actually found that moment to be very predictable because it really just wouldn’t make sense to have her die without getting her wind power back at some point. Once she started monologuing it was pretty obvious what would happen. Did people really expect Karl to say “No i still hate her!”? Perhaps in some cases in real life but in anime where people can simply forgive someone who was trying to sadistically kill them earlier (not referring to this anime) I don’t see it as a big surprise.

  13. Well,I was always looking for simplicity executed well in this anime. To the moment Kal-el decides on whether to forgive Claire(which was the most probable outcome) or not. That was the main(I’d dare say the only) thing I was looking forward to in this show and while it certainly wasn’t bad,I was a tad disappointed.

    Even if some issues are minor,some of them them can ruin the moment,at least for me. You can’t possibly tell me Kal-el heard Claire’s confession from that distance,with the noise from the plane,gunfire,explosions & what not.

    Besides that I don’t really have any major complaints since Claire getting back her wind powers at the nick of time was triggered by Kal-el desire for her to “Live!” so it’s kind of justified.

  14. I’m just glad that Noriaki and Benji lived they were waving their death flags so hard last episode.

    So will there be 13 episodes? That would rock if it’s true, I’m surprised that MAL would be wrong though.

  15. i just had to comment this since no one did and it was no mentined in the summary of this episode the guy shouted Fana and she was the princess from to aru hikuushi e no tsuioku it comes to show both of the universes are connected in here and that Fana probably is the one that saved Nina and everyone else


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