「自由か 束縛か/」 (Jiyū ka sokubaku ka)
“Freedom or Restraint”
Just like last week, the focus on developing the main cast is much appreciated, but still leaves a lot to be desired.
Today’s Luck and Logic followed last week’s model and took some time developing one its main characters. Chloe took the spotlight this week, as the series explored her fiery temperament and its effect on the team dynamic. While her character arc doesn’t suffer from the disorganized focus of Yurine’s, it’s instead mired by a perhaps shallow level of development.
The episode opened up strongly enough, implying some greater bond between Chloe and Yurine, in contrast to the apparently strained bond they share today. Chloe is hotheaded and unpredictable—often ignoring orders and inspecting crime scenes at her own will. This completely clashes with the kind of order and lawfulness which Yurine means to uphold. As a result, the Yurine lashes out at her teammate for her reckless abandon, establishing some noteworthy strife between the two—one which the episode will obviously look to resolve by the episode’s end, where the two eventually make up in the heat of battle.
And that’s really all there is to it. All that’s really addressed here is Chloe’s stubborn inability to follow orders—the episode doesn’t go deeper than that into her psyche. We aren’t offered a poignant explanation for the source of her recklessness—not an insecurity or a past demon which haunts her and keeps her from working well in a team. She’s just apparently like that, and it annoys Yurine. While I did like how the writers attributed her personality to her fierce independence and repulsion from robotically taking orders, I still barely feel like I know Chloe any better.
Furthermore, the arc could have benefited from some previous groundwork. We always got the impression that Chloe was a little hotheaded, sure, but never to the extent that we witness here. She literally at one point condemns the notion of teamwork—now whether that statement was born from petty argument or sincere belief is up in the air, but the fact that her character represents that sentiment is a stark departure from the fun, ditzy loose cannon we’ve seen in episodes past.
The way the episode resolves the issue leaves a lot to be desired. Yurine struggles in a fight with the foreigner for a tiny bit, Chloe bolts in to save the day, and all the quarreling is suddenly done for good—for no conceivable reason. Now one could make the case Chloe’s close regard for Yurine as a friend overshadowed any notions of independence on the battlefield, and their conflict in personal philosophies—but this is hardly conveyed.
We learn at the beginning of this episode that their relationship is deeper than previously assumed, yes, but we never really get a feel for their friendship that makes it especially profound—not this episode or one’s before. All we really got this week was a few still shots of their past—the briefest of glimpses. Much more should have been done to establish the strength of this bond, especially since such a crucial part of the narrative relied on it.
As result, the finale does not carry any emotional weight—I don’t feel like Chloe really learned anything at all as a character. Yurine’s character arc was unfocused, sure, but at least she came out the other end somewhat changed and wiser, at least in the way she interacts with Tsurugi. In Chloe’s case, I got little to no sense of growth.
Despite all this, though, I really do appreciate that Chloe was at least given some attention. We saw sides of her this week—mostly, the depth of her stubbornness and tenacious independence—that we previously hadn’t, and that’s at least gotta count for something. Perhaps she’ll be further developed as the series moves onto a larger plot, as Athena alludes to at the end of the episode. Furthermore, the series still looks and runs great on all levels of production. Even the CG this week wasn’t grating on the eyes.
Given the pattern of recent episodes, it seems that the reticent Asuha will take center stage next time, and hopefully to more effective results than this week or the last.
Also, Chloe can ride her bicycle up the sides of buses, apparently. Cool.