「In The Air Tonight」
Now that’s what I call a return to form.
This week, Tilarna is back to being proportionately drawn, kicking butt, and taking names. She and Matoba arrived at the roof in time to find the fairy bomb that was to be powered by the latena of the royal fairy Tilarna had sworn to protect. The scene between the fairy and Tilarna where it’s revealed that Tilarna has known her since childhood was impactful in the sense that clarifying the bond between the pair made it easier to understand that the devotion Tilarna feels goes well beyond her duty as a knight, hence why she abandoned her sword. On top of that, it’s shown that she truly does trust Matoba as a partner when she returns from Semani to continue the case by his side. Maybe it was finding out he takes care of cats despite being allergic that pushed him firmly into her good books. It’s a pretty good indicator that he’s a softie, but if they’re going to be on such good terms now that she regularly refers to him as her partner it seems strange that she would still badmouth him in front of the medical examiner. As far as I can tell, it’s only in front of her that Tilarna has anything negative to say about Matoba, and considering he’s been pretty good to Tilarna I’m not sure what it’s is meant to accomplish. Surely they can bond other something other than Matoba. To that end, saving her from a blood-sucking vampire mummy will certainly be a good start. You do you, Tilarna.
The first quarter or so of the episode focused on wrapping up the first story arc, with Tilarna’s initial goal – saving the fairy- ending in failure. None of it was done poorly, it was just done a little too quickly. The battle didn’t last long enough to truly appreciate, which was a shame since Tilarna was beautifully animated during the sequence. There’s just only so long she can fight someone as frail as a Zelada, which was why he was more effective when paired with a younger villain. One hit and the battle was already done. Following that, there was a montage to indicate a short time skip that showed Matoba living his solitary life without Tilarna. This probably would have been more effective in one of three ways:
A) There had been more episodes to develop their relationship
B) Their separation occurred at the end of the previous episode, giving the viewers about a week to let it sink in and lending to the in-show passage of time
C) Throw out the montage and just show Matoba slowly going through the motions for most of the episode, followed by Tilarna appearing on his couch at the end.
Now, I would have to be blind not to see that this show is pushing Matoba and Tilarna as a couple. Even if Tilarna complaining about Matoba doesn’t make sense character-wise, it does make sense for the tsundere archetype. I would argue, however, that Tilarna doesn’t fit that particular mold. Sure, the show occasionally paints her in such a way that would suggest she does, but it shouldn’t. She’s dignified, focused, and brutal, but also playful, plainly affectionate, and sometimes naive. She doesn’t have to be anything else. These two don’t have an ounce of romantic chemistry together, but they do have chemistry as partners. Their bad cop/psycho cop routine is absolutely delightful to watch, so whatever happens, here’s hoping that remains the dynamic that receives the most development.