My thanks to Lark, whose comment clued me in to the fact that there was a double-episode of Shoukoku no Altair this week. Since we were two episodes in the red thanks to the track world championships it made sense that the broadcast would try and sneak in an extra ep somewhere along the line. My weekend routine this season is pretty hard-wired in order to try and deal with the crush of Friday-Saturday shows, so I don’t have a lot of time to cover this episode – but I thought it was rather a good one.
While this episode was pretty much the post-mortem of the fall and surrender of Phoinike (including the existential damage that causes for Mahmut), there are some significant developments along the way. Kiros officially joins Team Mahmut, for one – I guess there wasn’t much left for him in a Phoinike under Imperial control. The surrender is unconditional – only Magistros goes down fighting, more or less. This is nothing other than a clash of geopolitical philosophies, really – he was wedded to the idea that thousands of years of ideals could save his people, and that Balt-Rhein could never succeed using the calculating and ruthless methods they have been. The results, I would say, speak for themselves.
For Mamhut Bey, the burning question is the betrayal of Phoinike by Venedik – and he gets his chance to confront the perpetrators themselves when a Venedik ship picks up the fleeing Kiros and (wounded) Mahmut and grants them asylum. It seems the fleet has taken their commitment to be fulfilled by sailing for Phoinike and showing up – actually fighting not part of the equation. Mahmut can barely stand but he confronts the captain and the chief of his paid militia, Abiriga (Suwabe Junichi) about this immediately. Answers are deferred – Abiriga gives up his quarters so Mahmut can recuperate, and the fleet sails for Venedik.
Venedik is most certainly Venice, right down to its immigrant history. I’ll never forget the dumbfounded awe I felt in seeing Venice for the first time, all the stories and film I’d seen not remotely doing it justice, and this ep does a surprisingly good job of conveying Mahmut and Kiros’ reaction. The next phase of the story seems destined to take place here, and Mahmut wastes no time in seeking answers from the Doge, Lucio (who’s much younger than I expected). For Mahmut it’s all a question of trust, something he values supremely – but part of his education, surely, is learning that the great powers of this time and place (and not only this time and place) don’t run on trust.