「覇道皇女」 (Hadō Kōjo)
How many episodes is UFnH are we getting? 28? That sounds about right. We’ve been going at a steady pace and it’s going to be a long road. It’s a good thing that we’re getting the two cour treatment for a full length visual novel – nothing less will really do – but at the same time it seems that there has been some sacrifice in production value in order to maintain consistency. Nothing too agregious – some shortcuts here and there, speedlines in the action in lieu of actual movement – but it’s more noticable this episode because the best of the action was already in the OP and it’s evident it was much easier to pack quality into three minutes than into 23.
But any connoiseur of the super robot genre – and let’s not pretend that the Akuruturuka are anything else – will tell you that the mechanics of the fight are always secondary to the motional intensity of the fights. It’s as much about the pilots screaming at each other as about the robots punching each other (punches fueled by screams!). What do the two sides stadn for?
Mikazuchi is a solder and full of that warrior pride in duty and honour and all that. Outside of comedic scenes, that how his friendship with Oshtor is defined as well, as comrades-in-arms. In contrast, Haku is a man with little pride in anything at all. From Mikazuchi’s perspective – and at this point he would not know Oshtor’s fate – how could he suffer this mere pretender to Oshtor’s position as Pillar General? And in all honesty, Haku is doing a rather craven thing, taking Oshtor’s visage and authority while having none of his trained ability nor history of service. Without knowing what Oshtor had entrusted to Haku, it would seem almost a mockery.
We get the sense that Haku understands this. His need to behave like Oshtor is not just to preserve the masquerade, but also to preserve Oshtor’s reputation. Having taken Oshtor’s name, that is another thing that he needs to protect. And ultimately, that’s what makes Mikazuchi back down. Obviously, Haku didn’t win their little punch up. But at least it showed that he hadn’t put on the mask frivolously. In the most blatant metaphor possible, the power he has shouldered will literally kill him and is not so easily relinquished. If nothing else, Mikazuchi respects the burden.
So, basically Spiderman’s uncle but in more words.
And because Utwarerumono is a story of juxtapositions, we need a second duel to serve as a mirror. Anju, unlike Haku, has no lack of pride, as might come with the territory of born royalty. But what does she understand of the burden? Assumedly, that is what she will need to demonstrate to Kuon next episode.
…We all know it’s Kuon, right? She’s using the same voicechanger as last episode! It’s not a spoiler!