I have mixed feelings about this episode. Like with many other episodes in this anime, I was not too sure what to expect throughout. Last week, we were given a teaser that it would focus heavily on Nir, but I didn’t expect it to turn out the way that it did. Don’t get me wrong though I definitely became invested near the climax of the episode! It was nice to revisit a character from a previous episode. But despite this, I felt like I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure how this episode would fit into the overall narrative. Would I call it a bad episode? No. Did it feel disconnected from everything else that we’ve seen? Yeah, with the same concept and very thin threads to the main story it almost felt like a spin off.
But these feelings aside, I think this episode did a good job presenting the type of city that Londinium is. It’s a powerhouse training up soldiers to fight the Earless, but it doesn’t care about the lives of their citizens, but rather about their control. When I say control, I don’t mean like mind control, but they that they make it aware that they have power over them. For most of the civilians, they likely understand that they are safe because the powers in the tower will protect them. But within this city we meet Lyde and Ritchie two boys who lost their parents to their Earless and were even close to losing their own lives, but thanks to Jimi their saved. Like every character that we’ve met thus far all of them have had some encounter with Jimi, Lyde and Ritchie are no different as he saves them from an Earless attack in their younger years.
Nir finding her way into the town stops by their repair shop to fix her amp, and ultimately ends up smacking their boss and finding temporary home with the two. I liked that they took the time to animate, or at least show the three of them doing mundane things together, such as eating dinner and working on the scrapped mech that they found. It really helped to put together the pieces of their relationship beyond having just met and as a result it makes the end of the episode much more powerful (but if you ask me, I think the Grandmother’s words were the most impactful). I personally, think it’s a little bit weird that they didn’t really talk about Ritchie’s drawing. It was mentioned briefly, but I Nir acknowledging it and talking about her experience with Jimi/Echo/Mu could have really tied in this episode, instead we only got brief “Where are you Echo?” moments.
I think the part of the episode that I enjoyed the most was when Nir was sent to go buy Christmas presents for the boys, because it was just a genuinely wholesome moment and definitely led to a lot of emotions at the end of the episode. It is also the calm before the Queen Earless arrives and rather than protecting the citizens the people in the tower decide that now would be a good time to just scrap the entire city without warning. Never mind aiming the weapons at the supposed enemy in the sky, instead let’s just destroy the homes of hundreds of thousands of people. As a result, Ritchie becomes a Player and for his own justice goes to fight the Earless despite Nir’s concerns. I must admit, his transformation into a Player doesn’t sit well with me because it happened so suddenly. I hope they address it in later episodes because who knew you could just get really angry and suddenly get a jack in your back. Their charge into battle felt really rushed and before we know it, a mysterious Mu shows up and puts an end to the whole thing. It was such a rapid pace that I’m still trying to piece everything together.
But I think the real kicker of the episode was when everyone was at the cemetery. The snow globes just hit me right in the feels and I really don’t think this seen wouldn’t have been as powerful if they did not include Nir’s Christmas shopping trip earlier in the episode. So, I’m glad they took the time to add it. The declaration and emotion from Nir will hopefully propel us into the future episodes. If anything, it gives us anger to the actions that mystery Mu took or gives us investment to know what has already happened. Who knows, mystery Mu probably isn’t even Mu, it’s probably just a clone. Either way I’m interested to see that when the focus shifts back to Echo and Mu if it takes place at the same time as this episode or if they’re coming into the aftermath of it all. So, I guess despite my feelings that this episode was disconnected I am intrigued to see how everything will connect back up.