「さるの巻」 (Nasarin no ichi pondo kōka)
“Blood for a Nazarin Pound”
That had to be the least populated town I’ve ever seen. It’s not my imagination that there was only one person in that entire town, right? But if that’s what it takes for the animation studio to churn out gorgeous dogfights and skyscapes week after week, then I’d say it’s well worth it.
Though the Yufang wasn’t the focus for this episode, their lasting impact on the characters remains apparent, as an injury Kate’s brother sustained during his search for answers regarding their abrupt arrival and departure ostensibly prevents him from getting behind the wheel of a plane again. Given what we learned last week, it would seem safe to say that all of the characters have been affected by this mysterious group in some manner. And with that said, Kate’s newfound interest in electromagnetism is sure to come up again later. Perhaps it’s foreshadowing that she’s planning on taking up her brother’s mantle?
The rest of the episode had a very Western aesthetic to it. The dying town in the middle of nowhere. The drifters coming in for a drink that are compelled to lend their aid when the town falls under attack from nefarious forces. It appears that a company selling cheap oil – and by cheap I’m referring to both the price and the quality – wants to monopolize the oil sales by destroying other wells in the area. This was pretty much confirmed when Kate read Chika’s book, “See the Sea.” In the picture book, a greedy crab tries to make his spring produce more water by plugging up all the others, and Kirie directly equates the two in case the comparison was too subtle.
Most likely, Standon Oil will continue to be an antagonist in coming episodes, as a loss to the Kotobuki Squadron won’t be enough to make them give up on ramping up their prices for good. This should give plenty of opportunities to match their skills and wits against pilots in more advanced models, and I can’t wait to see what crazy awesome things they’ll do when they’re really giving it their all.