Brief Impressions – Shirogane no Ishi Argevollen 08

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Argevollen is definitely growing on me – and that’s not entirely unexpected.

  • In mecha terms, Argevollen is definitely the ultimate racing tortoise.  I don’t think that so much makes Aldnoah.Zero the hare, because pretty much every other mecha show is the hare.
  • The plodding, relentless imperative of this series seems to be to show us a mecha war as if it were taking place yesterday, in a version of our own world where technology developed Kriegers instead of tanks.  I like it, because I’ve never seen another show so committed to it.
  • Every time you expect Argevollen to pop a shortcut or at least shift up into 4th, it stubbornly refuses to do so.  There’s a risk in showing the reality of war – long stretches of tedium intercut with short bursts of terror – too accurately.  Why?  Tedium doesn’t exactly win you big audiences.  But full credit to Argevollen for being true to its mission.
  • More clear than every now is that there are no heroes in this piece, just soldiers on both sides being used as disposable assets (which is what war actually is).  If anything Ingelmia’s leadership is more competent, but I don’t see much difference apart from that.
  • Also definite now is that Samonji used to be a Field Marshall, and Quasimodo still calls him that.   Likeliest scenario is that he disobeyed orders while on the mission where Tokimune’s sister died, but that’s still on the table (including that she’s dead, but the ending strongly suggested this was her grave).
  • Why has Tokimune’s “linkage depth” suddenly shot up to 17?
  • What was the “Tragedy of Argent Point”?
  • Ingelmia’s secret operation turned out to be modest and straightforward rather than some grand omnibus scheme – sneak the parts in to build three trail kriegers to attack Arandas from the rear.  That’s very Argevollen.

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4 comments

  1. R

    The plodding, relentless imperative of this series seems to be to show us a mecha war as if it were taking place yesterday, in a version of our own world where technology developed Kriegers instead of tanks. I like it, because I've never seen another show so committed to it.

    Like I mentioned sometime back, Gundam: The 08th MS Team did a similar take before. That one is a bit more like the Vietnam War, but with mechs. And the gundams there were not super prototypes, more like units build from spare parts.

    I guess they are also doing something akin to Majestic Prince, where they focus more on the lives of the soldiers instead of the battles. The mecha combat here is rather sparse.

    Why has Tokimune's "linkage depth" suddenly shot up to 17?

    I wonder what will happen if he goes beyond that. Notice that the indicator had a few more steps to go before it turns full circle.

    Not really the most spectacular of the mecha shows that I have seen, but I would agree that it is getting more interesting.

  2. m

    I get more of a WW2 sort of vibe from this show. Instead of them developing trail kraigers over tanks it's more like trail kraigers over planes. There seems to be no air travel or fighting of any kind and that's what gives it that old school feel. It makes supplies and battle tactics so much more of a factor.
    It's definitely isn't the flashiest or most action packed, but I think Argevollen is much better than the majority of mecha shows out there and if it continues to get more and more interesting then it will be better than most mecha shows.

  3. A

    Argevollen definitely gets a 'Slow-burner of the Year' award for slowly unpeeling its layers.
    It's also kind of defied the "loser-type gets whizzy mech and becomes top soldier" cliche of so many other shows by showing that Tokimune still isn't particularly that good. Richthofen was pretty much toying with him until he got to the sunflower field and his 'linkage' increased.

    But i think where it shines is in the background. The enemy commanders we've seen don't seem particularly bad. They're not crazy guys, or nazi-wannabes, they're just military men doing their duty the same as the other side. Then there's the whole background with Tokimune's sister, and Samonji, and the way Samonji and his unit are treated by their own commanders, such as in the case of the flare.

    I think it's that depth that kept me watching it.

  4. A

    Honestly, I have nothing against following a small group of recruits fighting side by side one episode after another, just– doing their jobs the best they can in a losing war. It's something that got lost when the 12 episode shows became mainstream– writers started to look for shortcuts to make the audience care for the cast.

    Granted, sometimes they find rather clever ways to do it that don't involve attractive teenage girls, but there's really nothing more heart wrenching than watching a random supporting character die tragically on the line of duty after months and months of silent, unrewarded hard work.

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