「不在の果て」 (Fuzai no Hate)
“The Limits of (His) Absence”
Rather than fight the pace that Argevollen is trying to draw me into each week, it seems a lot easier and enjoyable to just go along with it. Sure, I had questions about what became of Richthofen’s anger over the death of his old friend Daniels, how Roderick took her superior’s death, and what other strings the capitalists in Viltriveld were pulling, but the series’ decision to completely change gears and give some limelight to the other members of Independent Unit 8 was still interesting even though it felt misplaced at first.
Much like the episode title suggests, the main focus was to stress the importance of Samonji’s leadership. Without him or Suzushiro–or Kutsuwada Tsutomu (Kondou Takayuki) due to an upset stomach from eating a fish that he caught–the chain of command dwindled down pretty quickly to Okui Masaru (Okitsu Kazuyuki). My initial reaction to that was probably not to different from most others–“To who?”–because names like Kutsuwada and Okui just haven’t been mentioned much in the past nine episodes. We’ve come across a lot of faces, but there simply haven’t been a lot of names that stuck. Evidently, this episode tried to rectify that in some way, plus served as a lead-in to what I imagine to be a much more important development surrounding Toshikazu Cayenne (Koyama Rikiya) and his interest in Tokimune/Argevollen.
Aside from Silfy’s Trail Krieger getting shot down while evacuating the civilians of Wishpe and possibly Jamie’s concern over Tokimune’s life, the main takeaway for me this episode was the ending where Samonji was summoned by Toshikazu. For what purpose, it’s not entirely clear, but we were briefly introduced to Toshikazu back in episode four and again in episode six, where he was seen conversing with Suguro about Argevollen. At the very least, that suggests he knows more about Argevollen’s origins than Samonji does. The question now is whether he just has some flamboyant personal interest to see how one prototype Trial Krieger changes the tides of the war or whether he has has some more sinister motive. Either way, it looks like he sees Samonji as a means to his end, given that Tokimune and Argevollen are under the latter’s command. All I’m really hoping for now is that the next episode takes this subplot and runs with it all the way to the end. The reason being, I feel like there’s been a lot of “bait and switch”-type storytelling thus far, and I’d get into the series a lot more if there was one thing that each week built upon.
Geographically, it was cool to finally see a map of Ingelmia and Arandas’ territories and where a lot of Independent Unit 8’s battles took place. I would’ve thought that Ingelmia had gained more ground in their advance, but it looks like they’re only a bit beyond the Gate of No Retreat that we saw Samonji’s unit blow up in episode three. Because of this, I don’t think we’ll be seeing any prototype Trail Kriegers slip Ingelmia’s way anytime soon. I guess Richthofen will just make due with whatever Trial Krieger he has now when he goes up against Tokimune again.