(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)
So, last episode ended with the Princess dying, but seeing as she’s on the key-art, I think it’s not the last we’ve heard of her. Plot-wise, it was the usual “Status quo? Not anymore!” with pride coming before the fall (literally!) as the Martial Moon Knights (hee hee) make Earthfall, and the kids with rubbish in their head will have to fight them, or try to live? Anyway, what really mattered last episode was the dream for the future, and the sins of the adults. Let’s see where we go from here.
Going to get more concentrated “paragraph” notes.
Thoughts and Notes:
1) Subjugation Porn:
1) Humanity’s plan is a sad one, but a realistic one – The Martian Moon Knights’ plan is “brutally simple”, to land and both decimate the opponents, and then use it as their beachhead. Humanity knows they can’t stop them, and that lives will be lost, so the plan at that point is to rob them of the ability to disembark. Caught on the ground? Sucks to be you.
2) The landing castle looks as if it’s something that could never cross the atmosphere, that it’d burn up during entry, which shows how advanced the Martian “magic-Technology” is. It’s a flower that blooms death and destruction. But unlike their appearances, the Martians know the first part of war is to blind the enemy, sow confusion, and take out the communication.
3) “Subjugation porn”. Last episode the lieutenant said how teaching the children how to fight, giving them the impression mankind can stand against the Martians is a lie, and now we see the truth of it, how a single Martian mecha decimates entire fighter and mecha squadrons, and then annihilates a city in an instant. This is to drive home how utterly incapable humans, or at least adults are. As always, it’ll all be up to the teenagers of the (anime) world.
Kill all humans in an instant, offer them the option to swear allegiance, or show to them their armaments are useless. Many methods to showcase the Martian superiority, and the different mindsets of the various hosts. The Martian Knights aren’t even dressed as soldiers within their cockpits, but as officers from the 19th century, ready for a tea-party.
2) Speaking of Trivialities:
1) Cruhteo’s aid sees this whole thing as done, speaking of pinning the flag where the princess was killed, and now wishing “the honour” of securing the landing zone. Well, they said so last episode – it’s all about gaining the honour of the conquerors to them.
2) Chit-chat, even when life ends, life never ends, eh? It’s not real to them just yet, perhaps? Seeing the rockets from range zero is not the same as losing someone they know personally. Also, everyone’s put in the reserves once they graduate. “Fun”.
3) Inaho is probably our main character, is he an airhead? Does he simply not care? I wonder. “Oh, right, I could’ve evacuated with everyone else.” Instead he’s cooking.
4) “Meaning no disrespect, but may I ask you a few questions while I’ve got you pinned down with your face in the dirt?” – That’s not courtesy, that’s rude, adding insult to injury. Then again, as a royal handmaiden (assuming that’s not the princess herself), I guess courtesy was drilled bone-deep, rather than common sense.
5) Of course, the girl who died was a stand-in, how… Star Wars, or quite a few other stories.
6) “Slaine Troyard” is our other male main character? Troyard, a trojan horse? One who goes to war for the prettiest of them all? Oh, the possibilities!
3) Living Dangerously with Caricature Villains:
1) Remember how I spoke of “close and personal” earlier? Inaho’s sister is fighting for her students’ lives, including her own brother’s. And if something happens to her, it’s to someone all of the students, and especially Inaho, know personally.
2) “Joys of the battlefield.” A glory-hound, and so annoying to boot. Of course, it’s intentional, not giving him a gravity and seriousness of presence. We’re not supposed to take his kind seriously. Or rather, we should look down upon him, who does not respect lives, and his opponents and allies.
3) Modern fighter jets don’t look like doves, but in comparison, it’s as if a huge-ass killer whale is going after a small seagull.
4) That jerk then kills the one he’s behind last, and destroys his wing first, to let him taste fear, before ramming into him physically. He’s almost a comical overbearing villain.
4) Building A Shitty Future:
1) And as many people suspected, those who killed the princess, or thought they did, were actually Martians. They were looking for a casus belli, an excuse to start a war. But that also means, that should the Princess find Martians to declare to that she’s still alive, they may yet turn on her and kill her, again, to make sure the quest for glory can continue unabated. The question is whether it’s only Trillram, or whether Crutheo is in on this as well. I suspect Cruhteo is a jerk, but obeys his sort of honour.
Poor child, seeing adults aren’t to be trusted. Seeing the death of the future in the callous hands of the past.
2) Trillram is a child swatting bugs away, who only then realize they are indeed bugs. Only those who went to save the civilian will survive, getting away from the carnage. Awesome music.
3) “Die with cowardice, or die with useless honour. That’s not a noble or meaningful choice.” – You can hear Urobuchi speaking here. But you can also hear Trillram condemning himself. “Honour” is meaningless here. Especially since you’re going to win anyway.
5) The Sensibilities of Youth:
1) Inoha, I’m pretty sure he knows his sister’s going to die, and with one more glance, he leaves her behind.
2) The old man, as all adults in anime, ran away, and now it’s up to the children to save themselves, and the half-adult they can trust.
4) Now it’s a personal loss, one that happened in his immediate presence, and for which he can “blame” himself. How will Inaho react?
“Now it’s our time to fight, against an enemy that seems superior, after the lieutenant tells us not to be heroes! We will show them!” Yeah…
This episode we can see the OP – yeah, it reminds me even more of Madoka – Yuki Kajiura and Kalafina, but of course. Art-wise, we see the humans and martians compared and contrasted, war and peace, and war even comes to peace (martian princess with the gun). I liked how we see the Earthling walking and then the mecha. It’s as if we’re seeing the OP of any Sunrise mecha show out there, even with “The Girl” :P
ED – Quiet and nothing special. Spells out that the girl who knows martial arts is princess Asseylum, in case any of you somehow missed that… The watercolour artstyle is lovely.
Post Episode Thoughts:
This episode had great animation, even better music, and at least one moment where I laughed out loud. That’s a win, right? Well, even as it was an enjoyable episode, one which focused on “plot” – giving us not just antagonists, which would be the entire Martian Knighthood, it had actually given us a villain, a comical and over-the-top sadistic dude who wants glory, betrays his allies who do his dirty job for him, sacrifices others to advance, and wishes for their fear before their death.
Villains don’t make for good shows. They make for shows we can invest in, as we can empathize with wanting to defeat them, but they’re not nearly as interesting as antagonists we can identify with, and don’t add as much to a good story.
The real issue with this episode is that it felt… wasteful. In terms of plot, what we had here was what was important: We find out the princess is alive, our MC gets reason to fight and decides to actually do so, and we see that the earthlings are in the right, and dickish glory-hounds from the Martians orchestrated this whole thing. It also opens the way for “Good Martians”, who truly thought the humans are to blame.
But in terms of themes, the villainous Trillram, aside from being annoying to watch, took up too much time. We could understand how he works after 20 seconds, yet we saw him for about ten times that. We could understand humanity is outmatched, but that kept being hammered at us.
All of this leads to our MC’s actions just being… bizarre. He appeared to be calm and collected, and yet now he disobeys orders to go after the enemy. Of course, that means he has a plan! The inability of the adults only for the teenagers to swoop in and save the day is such an anime-trope. I wish it weren’t necessary. Thus far we don’t see any magical powers that make the kids different.
If I look at it more… cynically, then this is the “payoff” of last episode. The Lieutenant complained about how the kids’ heads are filled with the idea that they can fight back, so now they think they can, and march off to their death. I’d be surprised if that’s how it turns out though. Still got quite a few episodes this MC needs to be in.