「走れ、ジェイミー!」 (Hashire, Jeimii!)
While Argevollen still fails to depict the gravity of war–largely because Samonji manages to keep all his subordinates alive somehow–it did make some positive strides this episode. Surprisingly, the most notable stride was the jump in animation quality. The character close-ups were more detailed and crisper, and the CG blended in a bit better as well, which makes me wonder if XEBEC will be able to maintain this level. Naturally I’m hoping that they will, simply because the noticeable increase in quality makes it a fair bit easier to be patient with this series.
As far as the story goes, it’s still progressing semi-aimlessly but foreshadowing at a handful of things. This includes a conspiracy within the Arandas army, where much like I and many other viewers suspected last week, purposely places Samonji’s unit in perilous situations just to see what Argevollen can do. It was a little hard to believe that the other units flares and all their spares “malfunctioned”, so it was nice to know that the writers wanted us to be a bit suspicious of last week’s cliffhanger. Building on that, the story introduces us to a new character as well, credited as Cayenne Toshikazu, whom we see conversing with Suguro and getting overly excited that they’ll get all the data that they need from Argevollen soon. At this point, I’m not sure what to make of Cayenne’s involvement in the conspiracy, but the fact that he’s voiced by Koyama Rikiya suggests to me that he’ll have a notable role.
Incidentally, the most interesting aspect of all these developments is how Samonji and Suzushiro weren’t the least bit surprised that their unit was going to be sacrificed as a decoy and instead, actually devised a plan to use the 3rd Cavalry Battalion as a decoy in return and then proceeded to storm the enemy camp and win the skirmish. Rather than simply realizing what’s going on and adapting to the situation, I get the feeling that those two are aware of the conspiracies within the Arandas army to a certain degree. Because of this, they remain loyal subordinates so they their superiors don’t have any excuse to disband their unit. I guess this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given that Tokimune believes there was a conspiracy that killed his older sister, but all the extra emphasis does give me something to look forward.
In terms of character developments, Jamie, and to a lesser degree Tokimune, were undoubtedly the focus this episode. In Jamie’s case, I first thought how great it was for her to recognize what needed to be done and not simply cower in fear even though she was clearly afraid to go to the front lines. When she actually did get more scared, I really thought that Koshikawa Shouhei (Yoshino Hiroyuki) was going to die to give her an eye-opening realization that more people will die if she doesn’t find the courage to push on. As such, I’m actually a bit torn to see that Koshikawa survived. It felt like an opportunity for the series to make a splash of sorts and it didn’t. A bit of a shame, but I presume the series wants to hold steadfast to how Samonji doesn’t let his subordinates die under his command.
As for Tokimune, I was happy to see a fear of death finally hit him, just so that he might not be as reckless in the future. I also like the scene where he thanked Jamie for saving his life, as it suggested that he had a newfound appreciation for his life and the life of his comrades. And finally, while I’m sure not everyone will agree with me, I really like how the scenes where Jamie got to Argevollen and Unit 8 taking over the enemy base were completely skipped over, leaving more time for character developments. Up until now, the focus has been mostly on the action so I was happy to see things reversed for a change. Judging from the preview, it looks like things will continue that way for a while longer too.