At long last, Brave 10 can live up to its title. Too bad we only have four eps left to see it in action.
With the addition of pirate Nezu Jinpachi (Nakai Kazuya) Sanada’s ten braves have finally all been assembled. And just in time too, as Sanada has made an enemy of the biggest bully on the block, Tokugawa Ieyasu. It’s pretty rare you see Ieyasu – arguably the most famous historical figure in Japan – portrayed as such an outright douche in anime, but he’s definitely a loser here – a cowardly bureaucrat who quails at his own shadow and relies on Date Masamune to do his dirty work. The Ten Braves are assembled just in time too, as Sanada needs all their power to fight off Ieyasu and Date’s attempts to capture Isanami. They all prove useful, too, with Benmaru’s explosives especially handy, and Kakei having brought Jinpachi’s ship to rescue the others and escape via Lake Biwa. As fun as it is I still see the same essential problem with the series – just how much can it really do in 12 episodes? Two-thirds of the series is gone just assembling the cast, and the overriding plot has barely been touched in the last few episodes.
Mobile Suit Gudam AGE – 20
That was a rather good episode, I thought – certainly the best of the second arc and maybe the best of the series thus far – even the BGM seemed peppier and sharper. While I’ve enjoyed most of this series, the storytelling has been sort of lazy and flabby at time. There’s been too much fluff and wasted time. This episode told a rather concise story, and did it with a lot of style.
I’m really wondering who Arisa’s mother is at this point. They’ve been hinting at it enough that I assume it must be someone connected to the story. I’m starting to get this Gundam thing I guess, because I gather that as the far more interesting love interest she’s certain to lost to Romary and likely to die. I like the cut of her gib – she’s not shy, that’s for sure (why didn’t the girls I went to HS with feel so comfortable slapping guy’s asses?) Also of note was the introduction of the now adult Desil (Terashima Takuma) who’s just woken from cryo-sleep. Zeaheart calls him “Nii-san” and it’s clear it’s not a close relationship, as Desil loves to lord it over Zaeheart and seems horrified to learn Zeaheart was appointed Commander while he’s been napping.
The fundamental conflict of this arc, unlike the first, seems more internal than external. Zeaheart and Asemu are each fighting their own instincts, as Zaeheart can’t bring himself to kill (or hate) Asemu and Asemu is tormented by the thought of the enemy mobile suit pilots he’s killing. It’s nice to see that mentioned, because it’s a real part of the story and it can’t be an easy thing for a 17 year-old’s conscience. When Zeheart commits treason by failing to kill Asemu after he’s defeated him in combat, Desil senses the truth – and that’s sure to be a problem for Commander Zaeheart. Both these young men seem to have the impulses of peacemakers rather than warriors, and I wonder if this second arc is destined to end sadly, but also to set up a potential reconciliation between humans and Vagans in the third and final arc.