“Kitora Ai, A-Rank No.5 Agent”
We get a proper introduction of the Arashiyama Unit this week – in a form of character portraits, similar to how they are done in the manga. As I touched upon last week in the Details Digest, we have Arashiyama Jun, the Mid-range All Rounder and leader of the unit; Kitora Ai, the Close-range All Rounder; and Tokeida Mitsuru Mid-range All Rounder. We get a little back a forth of ideologies between Kitora and her fellow teammates, displaying that even characters within the same designated Border Units don’t all blindly follow one another. Whilst Kitora is adamant in following the rules to the letter and making Osamu receive his punishment, Mitsuru is more level-headed and tells her that it is not her job to worry about such matters. And then there’s the happy-go-lucky Arashiyama who is just thankful that Osamu – or rather, Yuma – saved his brother and sister in time.
It might actually be easy to forget this, but even though Osamu did charge in to fight the Trion Soldiers by himself initially, it was in fact Yuma who did the job. The same Yuma that is pinning the blame/win on Osamu. The poor boy has been thrown into this situation, pushed in a little further by Yuma, and now has to deal with consequences from A-Rank Border Agents. Unlucky there, Osamu.
Since last week I focused on the poor animation, I’ll touch upon it again this week. For me, this was the best we’ve had so far. We actually got quite a few really nice shots, even if the overall animation is lacking. But as a massive fan of the manga, I felt for the first time that this is closer to the adaptation I was hoping for. It’s never going to have well-crafted fluid animation to make your eyes water, but when we’re in the middle of the better material getting adapted, I’m pretty confident that it will still deliver.
For me, this is the first episode where we finally delve into the better material, and it’ll only continue in the upcoming weeks. As stated earlier, this time around we have an episode almost entirely dedicated to Kitora Ai. She’s a difficult one, but I think the viewers’ impressions of her should be different by the end of the episode in comparison to how she comes across in her introduction. In essence, she is a dedicated, talented young girl who values the system and puts focus on obeying rules. But that does not mean she isn’t a good-willed individual; just because she doesn’t constantly vocalise her need to protect others doesn’t mean she isn’t a Border Agent for all the right reasons.
It takes a lot for me to like a tsundere, but I actually really enjoy Kitora. She’s not just there to have a back and forth between our main duo, since she is undeniably a skilled fighter, being an A-Rank agent in one of the top units. But she does have a cute side as well, embracing being treated like a celebrity as she poses for photographs and blushing when Yuma throws some truths about the Neighbours back at her. I have a feeling some people won’t take a shine to her as much as I do, but even if that is the case then they don’t need to worry themselves because despite getting her own episode this early in the series, she is not a main character by any means – we still have two of them waiting to get their proper introduction, and many more Border Agents to follow!
As for some important plot details, Kitora explains to Osamu that the number of Trion Soldiers appearing outside the designated areas is increasing as more irregular gates to the Neighbour World appear. So far it’s been off-duty Agents who have dealt with these several invaders on a daily basis. Learning that fact – as as well seeing a little Trion Soldier watching them in the bushes – hints that we’re setting the stage for something bigger to take place.
And that’s just about when we get another gate appearing, as an Ilgar Trion Soldier bursts through and starts to circle around that part of the city, dropping bombs and causing absolute mayhem. Kitora and Osamu both use their triggers with the intent of taking down the beast, but with Osamu’s Trion all used up for now, he’s without his fuel in order to use his abilities. So it’s down to Kitora to fight alone, as Osamu charges off in an attempt to help those victim to the Neighbour bombs.
Despite Osamu being the main character, it’s quite amusing that he’s getting so little attention and recognition by the audience. But this episode Yuma is set aside, and so our lead gets to show off that he is a caring boy, driven by the desire to help those in need after being inspired by what has happened in the past with our unseen female lead, Amatori Chika.
But without his Trion, Osamu has difficulty. He still manages to save a small child and reunite them with their mother, but he eventually gets Yuma’s assistance (again) with his unique boost ability. It’s nice that Osamu is getting these moments, even if Yuma is always there in the background – but that is what happens when you have a main character whose power level is significantly lower than those around him.
The final moments of the episode had some impressive but short action between Kitora and the Ilgar. As a close-range fighter she leaps over the bridge and dives onto the back of the beast, ready to strike. She may not have knowledge on the abilities of this rare Trion Solider, but she certainly has the ability to hold her own with use of her shields and her own weapon of choice.
Overall, the episode delivered what I wanted. As enjoyable as Yuma is, he cannot be the focus of every single episode, so having Kitora and Osamu take centre stage this week was a nice change, and as the fighting comes to close we’ll be arriving at the Border HQ, being introduced to the top dogs of the organisation, as well as the third of our four main characters: the elite Border Agent Jin Yuichi!
Hierarchy of Border:
Arashiyama Unit’s Badges: