「虚無に落ちた島」 (Kyomu ni Ochi ta Shima)
“The Island That Fell into Nothingness”
Flashbacks for everybody this week? After Kyouma got an extensive sequence about his past last episode, it seems like others want in on the, er, fun. Prince Salva-something-or-other (the tall one) gets one and Loser gets one, though I won’t pretend to understand what the latter means right now. It’s exciting, because we we finally get to find out where in Africa these folks actually come from. Turns out, it’s fictional Africa, a country named Isla (confusingly, not an island) that’s rich in plot-tonium. Turns out, the tall prince wasn’t always a douche; apparently he used to be younger and cuter, but then his eyes shrunk and he started taking Machiavelli a bit too close to heart. He does have a point though—the resource curse is a real thing, and perhaps he opposed the inevitable New Tesla takeover of the world. As far as power-hungry autocrats go, I suppose he can be worse; we’ll have to see how his little brother excuse pans out in the future.
There’s another reason to give the taller prince his backstory at this point: it makes him less immediately expendable. After getting nibbled on by a black hole, it seems he’s out of the action for now, but the extra flesh on his characterisation means he’s not about to keel over just yet. If he does, it’ll have to be in a more dramatic fashion. This is in contrast to the gaggle of redshirts that were introduced last episode. Those chumps are definitely expendable, which is probably what prompts them to make extremely genre-unsavvy choices like splitting the party. Their airship is downed in a freak storm, they’re stranded on a deserted island haunted by science zombies, giant warbots, and freaky man-eating phenomena, but hey, don’t like to share. Off they go on their own separate ways to die in painful ways for our amusement. That said, I was not banking on the Russian to be the first one killed, though I suppose in a horror movie the guy with the most gun never actually lasts long. And he may not actually be dead, though there are fates worse than death.
Generally, I’ve been quite satisfied with how this story arc has been progressing. This episode’s been heavier on the action, which gives me less things for me to talk about (and less stupid jokes for me to make, fortunately for you lot), but don’t mistake that with a lessening in interest. In fact, I’d love to see Kyouma and Mira fight together more. I think it’s the closest they’re going to get right now to developing a functional relationship, instead of their current one based on abuse. I think it’s one of the underlying points of this arc, actually; until Miyabi‘s properly laid to rest by Kyouma properly patching up his past, he’s never going shed his current misanthropy. But of course, that’s only one of the angles I want to see more of, starting with the nature of the nothingness. Dimension W, and science fiction in general, has always been good at setting up interesting threads, but it’s a harder task to tie them all up. I hope Dimension W manages. If the rush in some of the earlier episodes was to save time for this arc, then all is forgiven if it pays off.