I was sceptical about this at first, since Exodus! wasn’t too great, but Third Aerial Girls Squad does seem to actually be just as exciting as they made it sound in Shirobako – even though it features the tried and true plot of humanity retaliating against unexplained alien entities. In this iteration, the Earth has been partially taken over by the mysterious Builders, who expand their territory by creating strange structures with Pillar Seeds and copying Earth technology for themselves – and the last remaining hope for humanity is a fighter jet squad of cute girls, ‘Hell Alice’.
It reminds me of Strike Witches or Vividred Operation, except these girls fight with outdated military aircraft instead of futuristic sci-fi tech. And they all wear panties. I think. The tone is also a lot more sombre with actual deaths happening right from the outset – I thought that cargo plane was going to do just fine, and yet all of a sudden it’s gunned down by an emerging enemy. This is the sort of thing I think I’d really enjoy, which makes it all the worse that it’s not actually real. I was mildly amused by the whole Otters 11 sample chapter they created for Bakuman, but this is way too much of a tease.
All the stuff Diesel was researching in Shirobako ties in really nicely with the supposed accuracy of how all the aircraft were depicted in this episode as well – it’s just like what the director Mizushima did with the tanks in Girls and Panzer, except here the level of effort involved is even more frightening, as this is supposed to be a simple OVA. I guess the reasoning behind it all is that they were going to make OVAs anyway, and didn’t want to waste all the extra character designs and plots they came up with for their show within a show – and it’s probably harder to come up with a single-episode plot for Shirobako anyway, unless it’s a beach episode or something. Which would defeat the entire message of Shirobako.
Of all the girls, I only really felt any interest for Aria and Catherine – I think that’s what we’re supposed to feel, as they were the only ones who got any development. Aria was super cute, by the way. I bet you knew I was going to say something like that.
No but seriously, look at this gap moe.
I knew she was supposed to be kuudere, but the dere appeared out of nowhere – and it looks like Cathy will be the only one who gets to see it. I can’t believe Cathy dies, that’s just heart-breaking. The whole ‘Ice Doll’ thing is supposed to be about how Aria can emotionally disregard the deaths of her comrades, to the point where she can make tactical use of their deaths to kill off the enemy – if she’s melted that much to Cathy in the very first episode, I can kind of see why her death torments her to the point where she stops flying completely. Which leads to the Zuka-chan scene in Episode 13 where Aria meets Lucy. There’s a huge bridge to cross from this episode to that ending though, since Cathy isn’t supposed to be her real name, and Lucy is somehow her real sister. And it’s odd that there were still survivors in the base despite months having passed since it was invaded. Well, it’s not like we’ll ever get to find out.
Is there a possibility at all that this’ll become an actual… thing?