The dogs of war are definitely barking on Gundam AGE now. It was an interesting choice to make Flit the anti-hero of this arc, which is increasingly what I’m convinced he is. The moral dilemmas as presented are a bit more nuanced than they were before, as witness this example of a colony, Solon, where arms dealer Techno Solon appears to be selling parts to the Vagan based on equipment salvaged after the Battle of Big Ring. For Flit, it’s clear-cut – once proof is in hand, the colony is now the enemy and any action is justified. That includes sending out the mobile suits to attack the company’s HQ in the midst of a civilian zone, which Asemu finds abhorrent to the point of mutiny.
Adding some spice to this is the fact that Zaeheart is under fire from the Magician’s Eight for losing said battle, and Flit is soon to be joined by a partner in crime – Grodek Ainoa, just released from white-collar prison. My sense is that Zaeheart’s hesitation about the cause hurts him as a commander – I don’t think Asemu would be a very good one either. As for Asemu’s decision, it’s eminently understandable though even the cardboard cutout that is Romary tried to talk him out of it. In the end (as war usually presents) Asemu was in a no-win situation and had to go to his comrades defense and fight Techno Solon, who weren’t in it just for the money, but the Vagan cause, too. Asemu’s boyish idealism isn’t realistic, but I don’t see cynicism turning him into his father – he’s cut from a different cloth, and I still say the ultimate struggle here is between his thirst for peace and Flit’s hunger for war. And with the equally hate-driven Grodek now free to help him cause trouble, I suspect the cause of peace will be set back quite a ways – and ultimately it will be up to Kio to decide between the path of his father and grandfather.
Brave 10 – 11
For the first half of this episode my thoughts pretty much ran to “what the f…” Kamonosuke has been a weird character from the very beginning, but that whole dream sequence was pretty out there by his standards. I’m still not exactly sure what gender Kamonsuke is supposed to be, to be honest. The Ida ninja have some pretty weird abilities, I’ll give them that. In the end there can really be no doubt who the major target audience for this show is.
I’m finding that my enjoyment of this show usually tracks pretty closely with how much Sanada features in the episode, and since that was all of about three seconds this week, it’s not too surprising that it wasn’t one of my favorites. There was a sameness to the battle between Saizo and Hanzo, and now it’s already stretched over two weeks I’m about done with it. Hanzo toys with Saizo and baits Isanami, repeat. I get that. Now that Isanami has finally given herself over to terror Goddess mode – eclipsing the sun in the process of discarding her Kushimitama and embracing the dark side – it looks like we have our finale set up for next week.
Shakugan no Shana III – 23
Sleep well, Sweet Prince – you were truly the best among your kind, and you shall be missed. May you finally have that long-dreamed chat with your monster.
I’m really sad to see Khamsin go, because he was already my favorite flame haze going into this season, and all the more so now for basically being the only one who wasn’t preachy, parsimonious and completely in love with killing for its own sake. His death was only one of the emotional tugs of the episode, which also drew real pangs from me at seeing the tomogaras fly up to their heaven. Part of it was the beautiful way JC Staff animated their stellar spiral stairway to heaven, part of it was the tasteful piano BGM, and part of it was the confirmation that the flame haze were basically wrong and being total douchebags all along, and still couldn’t prevent the God of Creation from making his paradise. And it was the tomogaras own wish that the humans not be eaten in Xanadu – even in spite of the massacre of thousands of them that Shana and her allies have been engaging in, SotF and his followers have basically been arguing in good faith all along.
I do have a problem or two with the episode. Primarily I have issues with the way the Guiding God was added to the story in what seems like a total deux ex machina, because she’s barely been mentioned in the anime. If I interpreted events correctly, it seems as if she was summoned either explicitly or indirectly by Johann and Pheles and their engage link, and she used the power therein to create this new hybrid being that Alastor and Shana’s predecessor had prevented from coming into existence before. I’m not sure what the full meaning of this is, but it’s certainly interesting – even if it feels like a total cheat. I’m also interested to see that Sydonay is sticking behind with Sakai Yuji rather than following his commander to Xanadu, at least for now – though I ‘m unclear as to why Yuji and Shana are still supposed to fight at all. Well, I still don’t know why the whole way even happened to be honest – if Shana and that crazy-ass nun Sophie had just stayed out of it…
So now, Yuji and SotF have separated at last – after a real affection formed between them – and with Xanadu successfully created it appears that the stage is cleared for whatever the final confrontation with Shana is to be. Again, still not sure why they look like they’re still going to fight – and what Yuji’s status is, with the Engage Link and the God inside him gone – will he still have power of existence? Is he planning to go to Xanadu himself after dealing with Shana? It’s depressing to think of Shana going forward, even for one ep, without Khamsin. I know he was only Yoshida’s rebound guy, but I still thought those two kids had a real chance despite the small four-digit age difference.