OP1.5 Sequence

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「帰還」 (Kikan)

While episode four of Argevollen may have been completely devoid of action and did very little to entice viewers to keep watching, it definitely took a step in the right direction. Less characters and more screen time per character was the key here, as we not only learned why Samonji’s been so forgiving of Tokimune’s insubordination on the battlefield, but also why Tokimune probably enlisted in the Arandas military. In the former case, it turns out that Tokimune reminds Samonji a lot of himself, which despite being a somewhat typical subplot, is actually something I can get on board with. The fact that the writers acknowledged why Samonji hasn’t court-martialled Tokimune shows that they’ve at least thought things through to a certain degree. The same goes for why Tokimune is so eager to charge into battle to save lives, now that we know he lost his sister in what I presume is this war. Both these revelations add some “structure” to what’s felt like a bunch of random developments thus far, which the series will hopefully build upon as it goes on.

That’s the positive outlook anyway, as Argevollen hasn’t really done itself any favours in these first four episodes. The pacing’s been fairly sporadic, with moments of urgency that never felt that significant, and the story’s perspective from Samonji’s group has come off as little more than a cog in the Arandas army. The series hasn’t been able to draw viewers into the world and characters depicted, even with the bit of backstory between Izumi and Samonji that firmly places the Argevollen prototype in the latter’s care. My interest in Jamie’s character has waned a fair bit too, given that her continued (and extremely reluctant) involvement with Independent Unit 8 is just to act as a key to Tokimune’s Trail Krieger. While I have little doubt that her role in the overall story will become much more significant–especially now that she’s learned of Tokimune’s deceased sister–I couldn’t help but feel that the writers could’ve gone about that a bit better to establish her importance now.

Despite these shortcomings, I remain tentative but optimistic that things will pick up at some point. I like the subplot that’s developing around Tokimune with his deceased sister since it gives some depth to his character, so I definitely want to see where that goes. I also like how the story’s reached a bit of standstill, meaning that it can proceed whichever way it wants now. However, since I don’t have the luxury of someone placing their hands on my shoulders to give me some reassurance in this regard, I get the feeling I’ll have to be fairly patient for a while longer.

Note: There was an updated opening sequence this episode, replacing the Trail Krieger scenes with the main characters, but it still feels very unfinished so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another one later on.




  1. War eats away at your soul so I don´t blame Jamie for wanting to get the hell out of the battlefield as soon as possible. As military man once said: “War is Hell”.

  2. God, the military bureaucrats were annoying and rage inducing. Horrendously stupid questions like: Why did you abandon your equipment? Are your subordinates lives worth more than that equipment? What about the lives you abandoned in the valley that we freaking ordered you to blow up!? WTF!!

    Also, I had a thought when they were lugging around the Argovellen. If you were a new company creating a prototype mecha, why would you stylize it with all those spikes and horns? Especially the horns on the head looked so outta place when it was going into the hanger that it looked like it might scrap the ceiling.

  3. It’s about dang time Tokimune got slugged for being an idiot. He’s had it coming for a long time now.

    And while the Captain should have been harsher on him I agree with most of what he said. Technically speaking there is nothing wrong with what Tokimune did (at least morally). He wanted to save his comrades and that is in no way a bad thing. But the problem is that he never thought about how his actions effected his team. He was constantly putting them in danger by acting on his own accord. What would have happened if he died? Or died while giving away his team’s position (first episode)? He’s been extremely lucky that he’s made it this far. And I wouldn’t have problems with his actions if he actually thought them through for once. If he actually had a solid plan that he revealed to his teammates before blindly disobeying orders I’d actually like him much more. I can only hope that this is the start of him possibly doing something like that from now on and not just going back to his moronic ways.

    1. I agree. The whole idea of the pilot in the super-prototype going against the plan or orders and blindly charging into the fray has been done so many times it’s beyond cliche. What made this worse is the fact that Tokimune is already a trained soldier before this whole mess. Granted he’s a rookie but still….I would have expected a better degree of discipline.

      Tokimune’s damn lucky Richthofen was piloting an inferior performance mecha which prevented him from finishing him off.

      At least this episode provides some back story for his impulsive actions. But still, I hope the writers don’t make the mistake of making him keep repeating the same mistakes and impulsive actions. And I’m glad he faced the consequences of his actions from the others. It’s a fitting reminder that he’s a soldier and soldiers act as a team.

  4. This episode worked fine as an introductory one designed to set up the next arc. That would not be a problem if it didn’t feel like we haven’t got much–if anything–from the preceding three episodes before it to warrant some downtime. So far a good deal of time has been spent chucking pieces at us by the show that Argevollen seemingly cannot place together in a coherent fashion yet. It’s probably why I keep coming back every week, just to find out what the main conflict and big reveal are going to be.

    The plus side at least is some character development (finally) for our recalcitrant and obnoxious pilot Tokimune and a rightful scolding/punching/potential shooting for his actions by comrades and officers alike. Sadly though it’s doubtful that the message got into his thick skull (ex. Tokimune in the cafeteria scene, that is not the face of a guy who has internalized the message and thought about his actions); guaranteed he will do the exact same again in a future episode with similar results. Hopefully not though, because it would make for a good piece of further character development on Tokimune’s part.

    Best way to sum Argevollen up so far IMO is a show that is neither good or bad, it’s a series that has yet to indicate whether it is good or bad.

    1. If he STILL keeps persisting with his Leeroy Jenkins tactics, then I hope we get an episode where he gets trashed and nearly captured but was only saved by his comrades. The main reason he got so badly trashed was his impulsive actions lead him to it and the enemy made a properly planned trap for him. This includes the accurate assumption that Tokimune was an impulsive, rookie pilot in a high performance super-prototype. A tool/weapon is only as good as the hand that wields it after all.

  5. The captain had just encouraged Tokimune to do what he had been doing in earlier episodes. I’m sure somewhere later on he will get himself (and the squad) in jeopardy if we were to follow standard plot formula.

  6. huh, already bluray scenes, that naturaly will be decensored. i am talking about the girls shower scene
    the poor kid, he is also so, because of his dead sister. has he some kind of dead wish?. next time if you ko kamikaze, dont risk your team to lose their lifes. this is so selfish of him

  7. This episode gave us a few things to chew on, but it still felt rather lacking as a whole in my opinion.

    Looks like my gut was spot on about the relationship between Samonji and Izumi, and we also got a few glimpses on why Samonji was stuck as a lieutenant while his best friend is already a colonel. His principle of taking care and making sure his OWN men survive while disregarding any stupid orders from the higher ups definitely makes him a difficult person to deal with in a military organization. I was almost shouting at my monitor when the 2 officers who were reviewing his report was complaining about damaged equipment and the men he still left behind after blowing up the Gate of No Retreat. I can see why Izumi has to rely on him to carry out these unpopular but necessary orders, although I do feel a bit bad on his standing in the military.

    We finally meet a new person from Kivernas Manufacturing, the rather creepy and ever-smiling Suguro-san. There is definitely something very fishy about this company, when even Izumi, a colonel, couldn’t find out a thing about them. All the facts we know about them and the Argevollen just screams suspicious. From why were they transporting the Argevollen near a conflict-ridden border crossing, to how well the ‘prototype’ seems to operate, to why they would let the military use the prototype that holds the fate of their own company, the questions are piling on with each episode. I also find it really weird why they can’t reset the Argevollen to activate without Jamie. Why do they want her to stick around with the Argevollen so much? Does it have to do with why she was crying over someone who died in the truck she was in with in Episode 1? Hopefully we will get some good answers on this.

    And let me tell you how happy I was that somebody finally went to knock some sense into Tokimune this episode. I’m glad that he wasn’t the idiot I thought he was, and he is reflecting on his actions. His squadmates were right on the money though with their comments. His actions might be morally right in wanting to save others, but orders in combat are given for a reason, and if he keeps disobeying them he will get himself (although we all know he’s got PLOT ARMOR) or his squadmates killed one of these days. His conversation with Samonji was also very welcome, if only to let us know that Samonji does acknowledge he ought to court martial Tokimune, although he opted not to at his own discretion. I do think it was a bit irresponsible how he was almost encouraging Tokimune not to change himself. I was hoping he’d at least get it into Tokimune’s rock-like head to think about his actions first and not just charge in recklessly without a plan.

    And am I the only one who thinks that Samonji was visiting Tokimune’s sister when Izumi met him at the cemetery? The single stalk of flower on the grave stone that Tokimune saw when he came at night was probably left by him too. I’ve always felt there was some other connection between these two besides merely a superior and his subordinate. And I bet that Suzushiro and even Izumi knows about this connection, which will hopefully be revealed soon.

    1. Hmm…

      Now that you mention it… Shit… OMG, man I so totally did not realize that, damn. I dunno, I was just kinda peeved at how stilted the conversation between Samonji and his superiors were and the very ‘off’ dialog between Jamie and the old creep near the end. For once though, this show tries to portray a more subtle war story where stuff is just not spoon-fed to ya’. The show isn’t extremely compelling but it’s grounded I guess. Also, I really like the squad Tokimune’s assigned to though. Kinda reminds me of how the guys from Valkyria Chronicles get along with each other. Except that, well, Valkyria Chronicles has a tank and Valkyrias and this one a fishy mech. Yep, this show really kinda feels more like a subdued and drawn-out Valkyria Chronicles alright.

      And I still don’t know why there’s just no airplanes as it is. Apparently according to the description provided by ANN, some environmental thing happened and that’s how airplanes stopped being relevant or something. I dunno, we’ll see.

      Nishizawa Mihashi
      1. It’s a mecha show, they always have some BS excuse for no air support or artillery support etc. Aldnoah.zero they have giant death fortresses but they still enjoy going solo combat with mechas. It’s a staple of the genre.

        I like in gunadm seed how flagga owns everyone with a plane, it’s nice pace. If only planes had the same armor and weapons technology as the mechas they’d be way bigger threat.

        But yeah we’ll see what the excuse is later for this series.

      2. Sherylfan We haven’t seen any sign of aircraft of any kind during the show. The discovery of a successful configuration for fixed wing flight was by no means inevitable; many of the early attempts were abysmal failures and it would have been entirely possible for the idea to have been abandoned as impossible in the early 1900s. Just because they have mecha doesn’t mean they have discovered powered flight.

    2. Yeah suguro is a creepy guy. Maybe it’s evil corporation endgame, ie they are playing both sides and wanting something from this conflict? Then again he could be just thinking about profits.

  8. I’ve been wanting to write this 2 epsisodes ago: Argevollen isn’t rushing things because it don’t need to. With 24-26 eps to work, we’re not at the mercy of getting stuffed explanations and/or cheap developments in the heat of the moment. Another thing is that with a mediun-lenghed series, the 3-rule episode don’t apply, the same way that most of us took a gamble with Majestic Prince. Ironically, MP thrashed one of Urobutcher’s monstruosities back then, and I’m expecting Argevollen to repeat the feat.
    The war aspect is real, most of the senior officers act like the real deal (most of then asses), and the fact that we don’t have way too much plot armor in the way helps. Susumu isn’t an emo brat helped by the plot that can handle every situation (like the recent BS of Aldonah Zero): he must rewrite the combat book since the Argevollen makes updated the current manual of how to pilot a Trail Kriger, and it’s costing him.

    1. IMO, it didn’t really thrash Gargantia; what it did thrash (at least in my opinion) was Valvrave; while I still enjoyed Valvrave, I looked forward to Majestic Prince far more.

    2. Here’s the thing, I was 100% behind Majestic Prince from episode 1 because it actually knew what it wants to be: a fun mecha romp, mixed with comedy and elements of camp. The protagonist Izuru was an idiot, but he was also a dweeb and possessed this goofy charm that made you root for him. Combine that with his great chemistry with his friends especially with the snarky Kei and Asagi. All this is established in the first few episodes.

      Argevollen in contrast, wants to be taken seriously. I can get behind that, but unfortunately that aspect of the show makes Tokimune stick out like a sore thumb. He’s supposed to be a trained soldier and yet he does dumb things that should get people killed. The obvious intent is to give him a character arc to be a better person, but so far he lacks any charisma to make you root for him and its already been four episodes.

      I’m sure it there will be payoff later, especially with two cours, but right now having the shows own protagonist get on the audience’s nerves is just poor execution of story telling. At this point I don’t blame others for jumping ship.

  9. Why show a bath scene if you gonna censor everything?! https://randomc.net/image/Shirogane%20no%20Ishi%20Argevollen/Shirogane%20no%20Ishi%20Argevollen%20-%2004%20-%2015.jpg It should be illegal to censor Silfy!

    Jamie is going down my favs list little by little. She’s slowly becoming irrelevant and I can’t say I care about her problems. Not wanting to be involved with the war is understandable, but it’s not like she’s out there on the frontlines doing the fighting. You signed on for the AVO project knowing there was a war going on, what did you think would happen?

    https://randomc.net/image/Shirogane%20no%20Ishi%20Argevollen/Shirogane%20no%20Ishi%20Argevollen%20-%2004%20-%2012.jpg The dumbass deserved to get his ass beat, good job Okui, I wish that punch was done in slow motion with the style you’d see in a video game like UFC’s so you can see the spit come out his mouth and the ripple effect of his skin as the fist goes deeper into his face. They did a little bit of the ripple effect though.

    The dead sibling cliche being the motivation for the dumbass is so standard that I don’t care about it. They should’ve started off episode 1 with him looking at the picture of his sister or at least a flashback if they wanted the audience to sympathize with the dumbass. It’s a little too late, we’re already in episode 4. We don’t know anything about the sister either.

    I’m more interested in Saimonji and Izumi’s past than anything at this point. If the AVO ain’t fighting show more of Saimonji and Izumi.

    https://randomc.net/image/Shirogane%20no%20Ishi%20Argevollen/Shirogane%20no%20Ishi%20Argevollen%20-%20OP1.5%20-%2004.jpg I want more Silfy too!

  10. Well… that was different. I’m not entirely sure if it was better, but definitely different from previous episodes. I had informally titled my last post “4 Episode Rule” and I might as well title this one “5 Episode Rule”. So in that regard, same as last episode, and the one before that, etc. It’s a bit odd because I don’t have a problem dropping series in which I’ve lost interest or just don’t like anymore. Yet for some inexplicable reason, Argevollen provides just enough to keep me around. Guess the show’s doing something right or I’m just bored. Probably a combination of the two.

    As Divine said, EP 04 was different. No battles, arguably smoother pacing (though I still thought the scene transition was a bit rough), and some character development thrown in for good measure. To the satisfaction of many viewers, Tokimune got punched. We also got “reason” for Jamie to stick around. Maybe +1 point for that, but -1 point (probably more) for the “well, it would be a pain in the ass to reset the thing” reason. Huh? Isn’t this the do or die prototype for the company? You’d think it would be worth the effort to “reset” the thing given how “the company’s future depends entirely upon it” and Tokimune’s piloting skills outright suck. That scene didn’t come across well for me and wasn’t the only one.

    Both the presentation and the story still feel off. For me, it’s still just there. Perhaps nothing egregiously bad, but certainly nothing compelling or intriguing. IMO we’re still not getting enough information, and too frequently what information is given is suspect (i.e. “WTF”) in nature. I still don’t care about the characters though I might be ever so slightly more curious about their motivation and background after this episode. It’s a two-cour/24(?) episode run which does allow for more relaxed pacing, but pacing has two extremes, not one, and IMO the show is erring too much on the side of “leisurely”. So while I guess I’m in for another week, I’m not enthusiastic about it.

    PS. As Cherrie mentioned, that was absolutely terrible, lazy, off-putting censoring. Can you put a little effort into it guys?

  11. I liked how the anime finally confronted all of Tokimune stupid behaviour. The best thing this anime has is time, hopefully they can step it up a bit after this intro arc. I still enjoy the show but like devinie I’m also losing interest in jamie.

    Definitely should have more of the pilots bonding especially more silfy, sucks she is supporting role. Speaking of roles it’s nice to see more development of the captain. The only main character now that needs more screen time is saori, she seems more supporting role at the moment.

    Also speaking of teamwork I wish more anime was like majestic prince they fought as a team and even though their mecha was way stronger then what the military had they still planned strategies with them with actual military as support. You have all these people in the military but go about it more solo. Makes me want to root for “bad” guys in general who seem organized and soldiers who are dedicated to a cause. Especially in this anime the Arandas brass is infuriating I fell sorry for col Izumi. Same issue I had with recent buddy complex the imperials had way better formed teams, and tactics, while heroes have plot hacks.

    As for the shower scene I would prefer lens flare to lazy white streaks. other anime at least make it look like steam like muv-luv total eclipse. I guess it’s something to look forward to a blu ray release lol.

  12. At the risk of downvote oblivion, I have to wonder a bit about the one-sided outrage over Tokimune not following orders. Don’t get me wrong, obviously soldiers need to follow orders, and Tokimune isn’t exactly the most likeable male lead. Still, I can’t help but consider “what if” he did follow orders to the letter. Certainly in EP 01, Argevollen would have fallen into enemy hands along with Jamie (or she’s killed). Can’t see how that would be anything short of disastrous given that the only thing Arandas has been able to accomplish thus far is a quasi-successful retreat. Pretty much the war is over at that point. So while the end may not justify the means, the end in this case is making a pretty darn good case for itself nonetheless.

    EP 02, Tokimune actually followed orders (shouting his willingness to do so). For EP 03, if he followed orders I guess he would just stand around like the other two mech pilots while watching their fellow soldiers get slaughtered by three enemy mech scouts. Once those fellow soldiers are dead, probably no one left to retreat so blow up the pass and call it a day. Except you better be quick on the demolition charges because those 3 enemy mechs are unimpeded and their best chance of escape is forward, not back. Seems to me you’re likely to have a fight on your hands either way. Unless you retreat some more. >_>

    It’s a 3 on 3 fight initially and close to the front gate. The enemy main force is still far back, Schlein has yet to arrive, and you can’t even order them to take a few steps beyond the gate to lay down some suppressive fire to help those for which you are “securing” the escape route actually escape? Really? As it was, the first two enemy mechs got taken out quickly (by Tokimune IIRC) with the 3rd retreating when Schlein arrived so it would have been 3 on 1 fight in their favor (plus having the “super” mech) versus Schlein. Pretty good odds there and a nice opportunity to take out the enemy ace.

    Frankly, I thought the timing of the order to blow up the cliffs was dubious. Samonji had some leeway here, and IMO he failed to take advantage of the situation. Why not wait until a good chunk of the enemy’s main force gets far enough (NOT all the way of course) into the pass so you might destroy a whole bunch of mechs & enemy troops rather than maybe one mech + pilot (the 3rd retreating mech as Schlein survived…somehow >_>). Of course that would involve Samonji’s mechs proactively engaging the enemy scout mechs in the first place.

    I get the Leeroy Jenkins analogy, but the problem I have with that is what exactly is Tokimune really spoiling here? In EP 01, a 2 on 2 fight ordered to be avoided, and in EP 03 a 3 on 3 fight also ordered to be avoided . How many times would Samonji’s mechs have engaged enemy mechs in combat if not for Tokimune disobeying orders? I’m not suggesting foolhardy suicide charges, indiscriminate attacks against insurmountable odds, etc., etc., but surely there is some middle ground compared to what we’ve seen so far. For example, Admiral Nimitz’s principle of calculated risk comes to mind. And that’s the white elephant in the room.

    For me it’s not just Tokimune disobeying orders, but ALSO the seemingly constant orders from Samonji to avoid engagement no matter the situation. I think Samonji’s comment about prioritizing his troops above all else is telling. The philosophy of minimizing casualties is both laudable and desirable, but there is limit. Avoiding enemy engagement altogether is certainly one of the, if not the, most effective methods to minimize casualties. But it doesn’t do much towards winning battles let alone a war. These are trained soldiers piloting mech tanks. Do SOMETHING beyond avoidance and/or retreat! Get in the war!

    Frankly this issue for me goes beyond that. These situations have a noticeable contrived and scripted feel. They call for Tokimune to do SOMETHING by disobeying orders because otherwise NOTHING of significance would happen. How boring would this show be if he obeyed orders? As noted above, the war would effectively be over in EP 01 since Argevollen would have been captured.

    TL:DR = I don’t like these situation set-ups as a whole. They are not all that enjoyable to watch and the reasons so go beyond simply Tokimune disobeying orders. JMO of course

    1. Certainly. It does kinda feel at some points that the Independent 8th Squad just doesn’t want to get involved in the war effort at all. It’s definitely got to do something with that scene where Samonji was visiting one of the fallen soldier’s graves. Ironically, while Samonji does this by not letting people fight, Tokimune does this by joining the fray.

      And yeah, I do have to agree that these set-up situations do seem a bit contrived, considering the rather chaotic situation of war. Perhaps they were trying too hard to make war sensible? I dunno, well that’s a possibility I guess.

      Nishizawa Mihashi
  13. Thats what the newly green soldier need is to disciplined and correct his mistakes. But the true fact the Commander of the 8th unit made a different version from HQ order: is to remain the base and save the retreating troops as possible and seal the gate.

  14. I actually like the change of pace. As a action mecha anime Argevollen is unremarkable, even the casual anime watcher will have probably seen better examples of the genre. Taking an episode to flesh out the cast was a very good move. The previous combat focussed episodes made me want to drop this, this episode renews my waning interest.

    One problem that others have mentioned is the “only the MC can pilot this robot” bit. It smacks of incredibly lazy writing, every other anime I can think of where only the MC can pilot the robot does a better job at explaining why this is so. In Escaflowne a pact using royal blood is required, in Eva the bond between Yui and Shinji is key, Rahxephon was made for Orin (and Ishtori chooses Ayato), Rygart could pilot the Break Blade because he can’t use magic. In contrast the best this show can do is “We can’t reset the security system.” Really? The comapany built it, developed the OS and security software but can’t reset. Try a little harder.
    Also the animation quality is flagging a bit.

    I should drop this but since this is a fairly dull season for me I’ll kill some time with Arsefallen until Sidonia comes back.


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