「ワンマン・アーミー」 (Wan Man Aamii)
“One Man Army”
Three episodes in and Argevollen doesn’t show any indication of picking up the pace just yet. Instead, the story continues on gingerly, which makes me wonder if the writers weren’t sure how to best make use of two cours’ worth of episodes (i.e. 24-26). Aside from what I felt was an unnecessary plot device last episode, Argevollen hasn’t done anything terribly wrong though. On the contrary, the only thing that it’s probably guilty of is not doing “enough” in the first few episodes to grab the viewer’s attention. I attribute this at least partially to the fact that we have a huge cast of characters and the screen time has been spread really thinly amongst them all. While this may have been intentional in order to depict the vast scale of war, an inadvertent side effect is that it’s difficult to discern who’s going to be important to the overall story, even amongst the members of the 8th Independent Squad. Aside from the three pilots, Tokimune, Silfy, and Lorenz, the only other members whose names that I care to remember right now are Captain Samonji, second-in-command Suzushiro, and of course Jamie Hazaford.
On a positive note, this episode did make some strides to place more emphasis on certain characters. In particular, Samonji’s old friend, Colonel Shizuma Izumi (Chiba Susumu), whom we saw in the first episode, and Ingelmia’s ace pilot Schlein Richthofen (Sakurai Takahiro), whom we were introduced to here. Richthofen is a welcome addition, simply because he’s the first major character to actually cross paths with Tokimune and he plans to make a habit of it until he can get his hands on the prototype Argevollen. His cool and overconfident nature has all the makings of an enemy rival pilot, which is common but appealing subplot that I can get on board with. The reason being, with a rival pilot in the mix, there’s the possibility that Richthofen’s character may provide us with a perspective of the war from Ingelmia’s side–a perspective that can only deepen the story that I feel we’ve only grazed the surface of.
As for some more specific developments, I’m kind of glad that we’re “only” dealing with Tokimune’s hotheaded ways this time around and no more “piloting” problems like we saw last episode. I also enjoyed the addition of some tongue-in-cheek moments with Jamie wiggling her butt in Tokimune’s face just to power on Argevollen (why would he complain about her having to do this every time?) and Lorenz trying to pick up the the aforementioned butt-wiggler before a crucial battle to fend off Ingelmia’s pursuing troops. It feels like Argevollen is struggling to maintain its appeal with a serious tone alone–even after Samonji’s squad managed to followthrough with Arandas’ “Order F” desperation plan and blew up the mountain cliffs to slow down their pursuers–so some lighthearted ones like those actually turned out to be a nice change in mood. In any case, I’m getting more accustomed to the pacing of this original series, so until it does something that I just can’t fathom or bores me out of my mind, I’m still curious to see where it’s headed.