「約束」 (Yakusoku)

I don’t know if Oonishi Saori simply wasn’t available for recording this episode, but the fact that Jamie didn’t have a single line in it echoes my sentiment two episodes ago about how her character’s role in the overall story feels like it’s diminishing. For now, I’ll give the series the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard to ignore how the story progresses along perfectly fine without her. Instead, we have various members of Ingelmia soaking up more of the screen time, which probably warrants making mention of who they actually are now.

Up first are Arnold Holmes (Ono Atsushi) and Bernard Garp (Yamaguchi Tarou), two high-ranking Ingelmia soldiers who don’t seem to see eye-to-eye with their superior Erich Zarl (Umedzu Hideyuki) and are only feigning loyalty for now. Then we have newly-introduced Conrad Daniels (Miyake Kenta) and his subordinate Liz Roderick (Arai Satomi), the former of which is an old friend of Richthofen’s and will likely serve as a catalyst to the Tokimune x Richthofen rivalry after his sudden death this episode. Among them, Daniels’ death was one of my main takeaways from this episode, as the normally calm and composed Richthofen finally showed some emotions. The other takeaway was of course the introduction of a group of capitalists in the city of Viltriveld, who seem to want to prolong wars as long as possible so that they can maximize their profits. This includes “supplying” Arandas with Argevollen, which incidentally, helps explain all of our suspicions surrounding Jamie’s boss Suguro.

In terms of overall plot, these developments do help foreshadow a lot of what’s likely to come. The only problem I have is that I’m still not feeling the “weight” behind them. In a series about a lot of different moving parts–much like war itself–there hasn’t been much in the way of highlighting what’s truly important. The introduction of Daniels made me think that we’d have another significant character on Ingelmia’s side, but that was clearly short-lived. The survival of Roderick on the other than left me wondering what role she’ll play, if any. What usually happens is that I find that I can’t be bothered to dwell on these little developments because more often than not, they don’t generate any traction for more than a couple of episodes worth, meaning everything just fades into mediocrity. Nothing comes off as overly important or significant, making it difficult to really look forward to anything. The sudden labelling of Argevollen as “The Demon of Arandas” may have been an attempt to alleviate that, but I still can’t see Tokimune as such an overwhelming force just yet.

Because of all this, I find myself looking to the main characters for notable developments more than anything else. It’s a bit of a hedged bet at this point, but I’m looking at Samonji and Richthofen as candidates for providing some real depth to the story. They’re both soldiers who should be much higher ranks than they currently are and they both don’t seem to take anything at strictly face value. As such, I get the feeling that they both have their suspicions about Argevollen–where it came from, will there be more of them, etc.–so perhaps they might come to a conclusion that both Arandas’ and Ingelmia’s true enemy is the hand that manipulates them from the shadows. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.




  1. That was actually a good episode. Plot and characters were developed, important things were revealed and set in place, and we had one of the best action sequences yet where nobody acted like an idiot! That being said, I’d be much happier if this were the fourth or fifth episode instead of the ninth. I’m also glad that Daniels bought it this quickly; Argevollen’s already spread itself too thin amongst too many characters. As we all suspected from the moment we met Jamie’s boss it looks like there’s a third party that’s manipulating the war from behind the stage. I do wish we had some more background information on this world; from what little we’ve seen it looks like some sort of alternate Earth that strongly resembles the Balkans in terms of stability. They’ve (painfully slowly) assembled the setpieces needed for a good show, now it remains to be seen if the writers can deliver something better than what we’ve seen so far. This episode was at least a step in the right direction.

  2. Incredible, an Argevollen episode that was actually fun to watch. Too bad it doesn’t eliminate the fact it took nine episodes just to get something like this. For once the action was not dry and boring and actually felt entertaining, a feat for a series that so far has failed completely in this aspect. Ignoring the tactics inconsistencies again (almost a running trope at this stage), the assault on the staging base was well paced, something I hope is carried over into the later fights.

    The most interesting part though IMO had to be the drops of world history given to us. Axis inversion, the idea that Blue and Green really aren’t the only countries existing in this world, and the (finally) knowledge that the war at the minimum is being dragged out and likely started for less than honest reasons. Why Argevollen is ignoring essential world building like this is beyond me as it adds a critical piece of life to a military story. More often than not the politics behind the battles is more interesting than the warfare itself; giving the viewer a tidbit here or there doesn’t create suspense in this case, it generates frustration, and a frustrated viewer is unlikely to turn into a happy consumer.

    Overall I remain convinced of my musings last week, Argevollen has too much time on its hands and doesn’t know what to do with it. This series would have been better served being limited to a single cour to improve plot progression, suspense, and action. For a show obviously not intended to be very deep a faster pace would have been nothing but a boon.

    1. @Pancakes: “Overall I remain convinced of my musings last week, Argevollen has too much time on its hands and doesn’t know what to do with it. This series would have been better served being limited to a single cour to improve plot progression, suspense, and action.

      I agree with your fist sentence. For me, there’s no escaping the plodding pacing here. It’s refreshing compared to some recent shows which ran through source material at a torrid pace, but you can go too far the other way. It’s like Argevollen script writers had 18 episodes worth of material (properly paced) for a 2-cour run. In that regard, I do think a 1-cour run would end up swinging too far the other way (i.e. result in too fast pacing). So either you make this 1 1/2 cours (really not feasible), or make the best use of the time given and provide some greater character depth/background and (especially) world-building.

      We barely know anything about the two countries at war here. They could also flesh out some of the previous short battles though I guess the ever-present “budget issue” raises its head there. So while I agree with you that for what’s presented the show is moving along too slow, my preferred solution is to add some (needed IMO) depth to the story overall rather try to squeeze everything into a single cour.

  3. Well, this episode just confirmed that all the generals are way too idealistic for their own good. They’re all being manipulated by a single weapons dealing corporation…

    That being said, we’re being pushed to sympathize the grunts on both sides a wee bit too hard.

  4. Hmm… while I agree that this was one of the better episodes (maybe even the best yet), I wouldn’t say it’s that much better. At least not for me, Argevollen still does too many, well, Argevollen things. The WTF military stuff is still there though probably less so. Still it’s hard to have sufficient suspension of disbelief when according the subs I watched, it was IU8 + two battalions (using Wiki numbers avg. battalion size = 800 troops) up against THREE CORPS (avg. corps size = 32,500) which is also known as an ARMY! Sorry, but watching what was presented as IU8 + est. 1600 Arandas troops effectively pawn/scare off an est. 97,500 Ingelmia troops (incl. 12+ Trail Kriegers (8 red + 4 blue at minimum) plus a number of “normal” tanks) was just too much – surprise attack or not.

    Even if suspension of disbelief isn’t an issue, I still thought it was jarring to have such a 180 degree change, lopsided victory. A close victory (against maybe ONE division) works much better IMO. That wasn’t the only WTF moment for me, but at this point whatever. :/ There was a decent amount of action, and at least this time Arandas’ plan didn’t revolve around the “tactic” of making your own troops more visible to enemy fire in a vain attempt to confuse said enemy with a target rich environment. +1 for that alone. Also +1 for seeing RPGs/shoulder fired AT weapons (where were those in EP 01, etc.?).

    That being said, I’m getting tired of the show heavy-handedly using Tokimume’s piloting skills (and/or something wrong with Argevollen) as plot device to “add tension and excitement” to the ubiquitous mecha knife fight. This time, Tokimune’s MG/machine pistol actually had an effect on a Trail Krieger (Maj. Daniel’s specifically, and +1 for showing that), yet… Tokimune inexplicably freaks out when Daniels charges him with his mecha’s one remaining arm wielding a giant Ka-Bar knife. He doesn’t even draw his own giant Ka-Bar. Huh? Didn’t we just have a mecha knife fight last episode featuring Tokimune against Schlein Richthofen where not only was Schlein’s mecha undamaged, but Tokimune wielded his own giant Ka-Bar (and his MG/machine pistol) AND kept his focus/resolve? So why the plot convenient sudden regression for Tokimune here? Bleh. JMO, but Schlein vs. Tokimune last EP was much better than Tokimune vs. Daniels this EP.

    Speaking of Maj. Daniels, I actually thought he was a decent enough character despite his brief – too brief IMO, screen time. Having the guy show up only to get killed off in the very same episode he’s introduced as apparently a way to “humanize” Schlein and predictably intensify the Schlein vs. Tokimune rivalry felt contrived and scripted. At least keep the guy around for a couple of episodes. I do hope Lt. Liz Roderick shows up again to add some continuity to the whole thing. Also hope Jamie shows up next week as well. Tokimune’s somewhat better than before, but IMO his character is still a long way from being able to carry the show alone.

    As usual the best parts IMO were the snippets of intrigue and backroom politics. Lt. Col. Holmes certainly has some plan up his sleeves, and I am curious about what that may be. The company exec meeting also provided a few bits of info in terms of what’s going on behind the scenes with Argevollen and the war in general. I just hope this doesn’t end up as just another “evil, profit-hungry corporation does evil things to make huge profits” type of plot line.

    1. This is a mistranslation, as Daniels says “company” (chutai) not corps (guntai). So Arrandas is attacking with a much larger force than stationed in the Ingelmia base and thus it makes much mor sense to use only 3 mechs as forward force.

      1. @ckuri: Really? Wow… that makes a HUGE, HUGE difference as you rightfully note. A battalion usually consists of two to seven companies. So yeah, if it’s 3 companies for Ingelmia, then Arandas is attacking with a larger overall force. Completely different situation, and as such, I retract my above complaint. I realize translators do their best, but that is an incredibly significant translation error. Thanks for clarifying. 😀

  5. A better episode than the rest, but not by much. Still has pacing problems, still has a vast amount of badly executed scenes and still has Tokimune as the protagonist… In short, this series is still the flop of the season.

    At the very least, it consistently disappoints. Similar problems that plagued Magical Warfare in almost every way

  6. It’s like this show wants to be as mediocre as possible.

    I was hoping… really hoping… that there was going to be some sudden twist that pumped the story up and made the blandness worth while. But the best they can do so far is a reveal that the “big bad” in the story is some two timing corporation that wants to increase it’s profit margin?

    I’m not expecting a sudden reveal that the argevollen is actually powered by magic or that Ingelmia’s invasion for resources masked as a liberation mission is actually a mask for some alien plot… but I’d expect that nine episodes in at least something… anything would have happened of significance aside from the main character being slightly better at piloting his robot.

    Even for a show with 24 episodes, god knows how this got greenlit for that many, they should have picked up the pace even a little bit by now.

    1. I know it from the Start, when i saw this Pictures:
      Enemy new Mechas
      Ally new Mecha

      Both looks alike, both use nearly the same joints and Human alike backbone. So same Development. But just others Teams

      But i do not now, why this no one noticed on the battlefield. Perhaps Money keep the Minds in check…


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