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Phew, this is a tough one. Much of my opinion of this episode is colored by the final scenes, which I really disliked, but I’ll get to that in a bit. That being said, I still think that show has a few things going for it that make me feel a bit hopeful. Based on that, I think my only choice is to keep going and see how it goes, right?
This week’s episode sets up the two warring regions some more. Honestly, it’s nothing special, since it’s just the typical battle of technology versus pure numbers. Yuuki presides over the kingdom, with its vast advancements in chrars, while the Empire just has a lot of soldiers.
I think that this betrayal subplot had some potential, but it might have come a little too early for this series. Without too much setup, it ended up just leading to the excommunication of a character we didn’t know. It’s too bad, since he ends up being somewhat right at the end. It could have been an interesting way to illuminate the political situation.
I personally liked seeing the military parts of the episode. The tactics tended to make sense, and the show didn’t shove them in your face. For example, the kingdom fights the empire in a ravine, which makes sense when they have the disadvantage in numbers. The empire soldiers are forced into a choke point.
Was it supposed to be clear why the new machines kept failing in the fight? I guess the demonstration earlier in the episode proved that they weren’t fully functional, but I thought that was just supposed to be the flight capability.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. I know I said last week that the show seemed to be suggesting that Joshua would die, but I still think that the way this episode ended was incredibly frustrating. It’s almost a no-win situation at this point. Joshua’s death was way too sudden, and it doesn’t make sense for him to die off-screen. However, I feel like I would dislike a fake-out death even more. I suppose it could be salvaged if it’s revealed that his death is part of something bigger, but it’s hard to say at this point.
I’m also a little sad that we didn’t get to see more of the empire side in this episode. If it’s true that they’re forced to smile to survive, that might actually make a lot of sense. As we saw in this episode, the empire has the numbers advantage, but they’re poor in resources. As a result, they would have much more casualties on the battlefield, which is an interesting dichotomy when paired with the idea of having to smile all of the time.