「闘争の鐘」 (Tousou no Kane)
“The Bells of Contention”
The day will come when the courage of men fails, and when you look behind those men, you will find one thing: Chaikas. Soooo many Chaikas.
This episode brings up an interesting theory—what if all those who were there when Emperor Gaz were driven mad? Perhaps not just by the act, but by Gaz on purpose. Only heroes that were absent (like Claudia) seem to have gotten off okay, while the ones who were there were varying degrees of screwed up in the head. Most of them I would be willing to say just have PTSD and/or were seriously unnerved by a powerful madman who laughed as he died, but Hartgen might be a different thing entirely. He came back a changed man, and now wants to become the next Emperor Gaz. I wonder if Gaz didn’t soul jump and lodge away in Hartgen, and then wait for a Chaika to show up to help reveal the Gaz within and reclaim his old power?
That seems unnecessarily convoluted, but it’s just a theory for now. It’s equally likely that Hartgen became disillusioned for the same reasons Tooru did, and Black Chaika-oneesama (Tange Sakura) (P.S. I knew it! I should have trusted my seiyuu sense. Can’t mistake that voice) got to the best pawn first. And then created a whole lot of other pawns. Is there any girl in this world who’s not a Chaika? That’s Emperor Gaz’s real plan. World domination by Infinite Chaika Works.
Small Girl, Big Sword, Big Pain
The meeting between Vivi / Nikolai and Gilette, much like the Red vs White battle, is something I wish was shown with more gravitas. Time constraints prevented that, but it was done well within the bounds of what they had. I expected (hoped) Vivi would get through to him, but I didn’t expect her to take off his hand first. We finally got to hear the old Vivi again, the faithful girl instead of the cold half-Chaika, but it was all confusion and pain.
But Why Didn’t They…?
I must admit to having a fairly … direct tactical mind. And bastardly. When it’s a serious fight, rules are things that other people follow, and if someone tells me what to do, my first instinct is to tell them to $@#& off. I feel like our three protagonist groups could use some of that. Why didn’t our Chaika just blast the gate down when they got tossed in the tunnel? The Gilette Squad did that. Why did they let Vivi and Nikolai fight Gilette instead of going all enemy-of-my-enemy and ganging up on the Black Chaikas? And why did they meekly do what the Black Chaikas said instead of, I don’t know, shooting them! You have a Gundo Chaika, I watched you shoot people with it. Shoot them! It might not work, but c’mon. Shoot the floor out from under them, or shoot the ceiling so it collapses on them! Why don’t you just shoot them already!? (trope!)
Versus Red Chaika, Versus Shin-nii
Of the last two battles, the one against Red Chaika was more compelling. Not because it was better—Red Chaika was an idiot to stop attacking our Chaika and gun for Tooru instead. That’s beyond an amateur mistake. That’s Magic Combat 101, Lesson 1: Attack the squishy casters first! Especially since Chaika has virtually no close in defenses, as we were reminded during the next battle. No, the battle was compelling because Red Chaika admitted defeat and said that she also had something to protect. It sounded like she didn’t want David to die for her, nor (absent) Selma, so she gave up once beaten instead of struggling futilely. That’s quite the change, but one that was hinted at for some time.
As for the Shin-nii battle, they just got rocked. A small part of me was like “Maybe they have a plan…!” when Chaika was grabbed, but no. Just failure. At least they’ve never gotten overpowered, I suppose, and when Tooru beats Shin-nii, it’s going to be really satisfying.
Looking Ahead – Final Battle Incoming
With only two episodes left, it looks like the final battle will be in or near Hartgen’s place, though I still feel like ‘ol Gaz himself is going to show up in some form. Only two more episodes though, so it’s rapidly coming to a close.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Editor: “Another Chaika?” Sakaki-sensei: “Everyone’s Chaika!” I’m starting to think Sakaki just didn’t want to think up more names.
- Don’t just stop to banter until you’ve gotten to the next stage, Vivi.
- I liked how Tooru didn’t say whether we wanted a war or not. “I’ll keep your words in mind.” That’s a good answer. If he had decided immediately, it would have felt like a capitulation to Chaika rather than his honest decision.
- “Shock … Chaikas!?” You’re really out of touch, Chaika. We’ve got Chaikas for days.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: The allure of magic, Import, don’t recycle, Impostor syndrome, and Save it for your daydreams. For book updates, sign up for my mailing list.