On the radio show this week, Amamiya was really happy that Asseylum has finally woken up, and both she and Minase affirm that they will never hate Slaine, because they can see how much what he's doing really hurts him. I've also been reading a few comments here and there about the rental-only Tsutaya specials this time...and boy do I want to listen to them!
edit (2015-02-26): *facepalm* I only just realised: the very end of the ending sequence has changed!
- We find out a lot more about Slaine this episode. His dream had been to be close to the princess (姫様に近づきたい), to be worthy of her (姫様に相応しくありたい), and to be of service/use to her (姫様のために力を持ちたい). But having lost hope that she will wake up (at the beginning of this episode) he feels that the only thing left that he can do for her is to gain power… To what end, Slaine? To what end?
- It was a shock to see him snap at Eddelrittuo. Then there's the scene between Slaine and Lemrina: we have Slaine knowing about Lemrina’s feelings for him, and using them (and hating himself for it - it's especially tragic because she now thinks that she's the reason Asseylum's condition has 'taken a turn for the worse', though of course Slaine can't know that...). This is a huge contrast with how Inaho probably knew about Inko’s feelings for him (EP17 and EP18), but didn’t want to use them (to get her involved in freeing Mazuurek).
- The scene where Asseylum wakes up and calls Eddelrittuo…and then when she remembers Slaine. …And it’s juxtaposed against scenes of the Vers Knights taking out more UFE forces and Harklight directing their conquest at Slaine’s command, going against everything that Asseylum wanted. They did a similar juxtaposition in episode 8 (Asseylum and Inaho watching the gulls together whilst Slaine was being tortured, representing a tragic disconnection between the characters)…and the BGM* is the same too. And boy is it effective… (痛いよ、心が。本当に報われないでしょうか...)
- Why did Slaine ‘run away’ when he overheard Asseylum speak of watching birds with Inaho? One faction on AS seems to think that this supports the whole ‘Slaine is jealous’ thread (i.e. NTR), but I personally don’t think it’s as simple as that. Sure, in extra story 1, Slaine vows to himself that he will one day show Asseylum birds; so he can’t be the first to do that anymore. However, since the birds are a symbol of Asseylum’s love for Earth, and of her dream that Earth and Vers will be able to co-exist peacefully (going back to episode 8), I think that it’s also that it reminded Slaine that he's going against her wishes, her dream. I think he knows now, for certain, that she will be saddened by what he is doing (attacking Earth):
- -- EP19 ~11:30 “However, I also fear that day (when she awakes).”
- -- EP19 ~12:05 “Will I seem different to her as well?”
- -- EP14 ~7:10 “Do you suppose that will make Princess Asseylum sad?”
* An aside: we will finally learn the name of this theme when BD/DVD 6 is released next month — Sawano commented on twitter that a few piano tracks will be included on that bonus soundtrack. (NB: Whilst some viewers have suggested that it's a Slaine/Asseylum theme, it was also used for the Inaho/Asseylum scene in EP10, the Aldnoah drive activation scene in EP13, and the second Inaho/Rayet scene in EP17...) The other piece of piano music that I’m interested in is the Inaho/Asseylum one, which plays when Asseylum remembers the person that she saw birds with when she was on Earth. It’s the same BGM that played as Inaho remembered all the little moments he’s spent with Seylum at the end of episode 12, and when he told Yuki about what happened to her (episode 17). Speaking of birds, what Inaho sees as they're sortieing are apparently wild geese, which are used in classical Japanese literature to represent "someone who is coming from far away" (遠つ人). Someone on Twitter - who thinks that the species in question is the greater white-fronted goose (マガン) - also observed that geese are monogamous...but I'm not sure Aoki and co. are actually taking the symbolism that far, even if this pairing increasingly appears to be the endgame...
- Mazuurek made his choice…last episode, as some Japanese fans on my twitter timeline pointed out, and he appears to confirm his stance to us viewers in this episode. But things don’t look particularly promising for Mazuurek…unless he’s as good at deception as I expect a Vers knight would have to be to survive in that society?
|As someone pointed out on twitter...
the EP18 episode direction was saying something pretty subtly...
|Also note that turning left takes him on a detour to the southwest,
even though he is heading north to his landing castle..
- And finally, back to the Earth side. First, it was interesting to finally meet some of the brass, and to find out why the Deucalion is a commando force that apparently isn't part of its main units. Now, of course, commando units are actually elite forces that are called only for special missions. That suggests that there are indeed other units that are fighting the Vers forces in other regions, with some success. On the other hand, the truth of what they think of the Deucalion -- as Martian technology they can't trust -- seems to be one of the reasons they're just sent for these 'Kat of the week' battles...until next week, I presume.
- As for the Aldnoah activation factor: since nothings been said about whether they tried getting him to operate any other drives, especially the one from Mazuurek's Kat, I'm assuming that Inaho is the same as all the knights. He only had it once, and if it's shut down, then he won't be able to turn it on again. I won't rule out that it could be different...but there's no evidence to suggest it. Which leaves us with the question of what exactly is necessary for a member of the royal family to transfer the factor to a recipient. Is it DNA, as someone suggested? Mysteries still remain...
- This was fun: Yuki’s “That shithead who shot my dear little brother.” followed by “Thanks. But I don’t think you need to use that kind of language, Yuki.” (NB: Poor OnoKen's reaction on twitter was: Yuki-nee...((((；ﾟДﾟ))))))) ) And then the comment about how no one would listen to Asseylum even if she tries to broker peace again. So Inaho strongly believes that that is what she still wants…but recognises that actually, the knights really didn’t care anyway, and that now that it’s come to this, there’s no way any of them will turn back.
- So how will this conflict end? Does Slaine really have, as some of his fans have been arguing, some kind of plan to completely take down the Vers feudal system through his conquest of Earth? But will there even be any Terrans left at the end of it all? In either case, does the Vers need for resources to survive actually justify conquest? To be honest, I think this series is headed towards a final duel between Slaine and Inaho, with the possibility of co-existence at stake…though who will be on which side has yet to be determined.
- On that note, let’s return to the cliffhanger that the Deucalion and its teams have been left with: two landing castles, and two Kataphrakts. Raffia is the count who presumably took control of this area at the start of this war, and her Kat is the invisible one. Sebring has joined her: he's the one that landed in Mozambique, with the Kat that uses electricity. And the other count that has dropped in is Orga — we’ll have to see if he joins the battle in his Kat. At this point, I can’t see help coming from anywhere else, unless the UFE actually had reinforcements somewhere. But even then, I expect that they’ll only come out of this after some real sacrifices this time: there’s Inaho’s eye and the damage that overusing it will do to his brain…but I think it’s highly likely that one of the characters we’ve been following won’t make it through next week...
- The title of the next episode suggests it as well: The Price of Honour/Glory (名誉の対価). Though that may also refer to something happening on the Vers side, possibly the consequences of Asseylum finding out what Slaine has been doing (gathering the knights to conquer Earth). The English title is a little less clear: if it’s an allusion to Eric Ambler’s 1962 novel, then I’d been thinking it could refer to Mazuurek. But perhaps it’s far more literal, and thus hopeful, with the light of day finally shining on something…?
- I'm going to have to prepare my heart for this...