OP2: 「少女はあの空に惑う」 (Shoujo wa Ano Sora ni Madou) by 福本莉子 (Fukumoto Riko)
「期間限定！激辛おばあさん味」 (Kikan Gentei! Gekikara Obaasan Aji)
“Limited Time Only! Extremely Spicy Grandma Flavour”
Anime can choose to throw out a new OP for many different reasons. Most commonly, it’s for a new season of a show, or halfway through to denote a new cour. I’m sure we’re all use to that. Other times, though, they change their OPs even within the cour. Sometimes, it’s to update the OP for the introduction of new characters. Sometimes it’s because they’re hiding an episode 03 plot twist and the first OP is a red herring. Sometimes it’s because the studio plain has not finished the OP yet, and until they do all they can give us is a bunch of scenes with a pop song playing over it. So, reasons both creative and practical. What Hisone to Masotan has done though, introducing a new OP in episode 08, is rather unusual. Sure, it’s not a completely new OP, still using some of the old imagery and a familiar variation of the original song, so it’s not the same beast as those ‘new season’ OPs. But it does seem to signal a different direction. While the original OP was purely uplifting, this one has a more sombre air to it — and it looks the part too. It certainly looks more serious, and that may indeed be the intention.
And perhaps the OP coloured my impression of the rest of the episode, but it did seem like we had less gags this week than previous ones. I’m not saying that HisoMaso has pulled a complete 180° — there’s still cause for levity here and there, characterisations remain intact, the ships keep sailing (yay, respect) — but it seems like it’s devoted more time to the Serious Business. For one, we have development; Hisone almost seems like she knows what she is doing now; she sure has come a long way. More importantly, this ‘Ritual’ they kept name-dropping is explained and the plot comes into focus. And with the plot also comes new obstacles, and thankfully those involve a lot more flying. Those have always been the highlights of HisoMaso, our equivalent of action sequences, and more time in the sky is always welcome. Perhaps not for the D-Pilots, though, because they have to spend three whole days up there. Spending three days awake is tough enough, let alone three days actively piloting. WIth that in mind, I feel like they really under-prepared for the entire exercise. They’ve got all that fancy holographic gadgetry and they couldn’t also install an espresso machine? Even a stick of caffeinated gum would be more useful than just barking at the pilots to get good. Isn’t it natural to resort to chemical enhancements when WILLPOWER can’t cut it? We’ve got pretty strong stimulants these days. I’ve read that the US air force actually prescribes stimulants to its pilots — the controversial ‘go pills’. I’m not advocating drug abuse (just say no, kids), but this is the military. I thought it came with the territory. Or perhaps I don’t have enough understanding of the mechanics of the whole thing. Why do OTFs need a pilot? Can they fly by themselves or not? Do OTFs need sleep? It’d be pretty effective though, if the OTFs just dropped out of the sky like rocks if the pilots dozed off. Nothing like the fear of death and shock of falling to keep one awake.
HisoMaso probably doesn’t have time to explain the finer points in detail though (along with other things I’m interested in, like what dragons were doing in WWII). It’s already juggling a lot of balls, and now it’s thrown a new one into the air. If you thought the ships were sailing a bit too smoothly, have no fear, because we’re now hitting soem rough waters. As is standard in the melodrama playbook, we now have third wheel. Who’s this woman? First guess: childhood friend, runner up: estranged sibling, dark horse: dead lover brought back to life by foul magickes. Place your bets.