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.