Kyoukai Senki Episode 3
I must say, it was good to see the story moving along this episode, but man it sure felt like a rushed one. The way some of the scenes were put together and its rather abrupt cut to the next was a bit jarring at times. There were also moments when I felt as though something was simultaneously missing and shoehorned in for the sake of planting a plot-device… Namely with the way they went about the interactions between Amou and Risa. I get they were probably trying to establish a “bond” in order to both deliver a cruel wake-up call to Amou should she get killed (and I am saying that because I highly doubt she is going to survive this), and motivate him to find the conviction to fight in order to save lives…. The way they went about it just felt weird to me.
This week Amou was escorted to safety by his savior Tezuka Gashin and his A.I. partner Kei. They are a part of a Japanese Resistance group called Yatagarasu. Like Amou, Gashin pilots a manned AMAM, MAILeS: JOGAN. It turns out, KENBU was a unit that was provided to Yatagarasu, and was built off the same model as JOGAN. They had shipped parts for Kenbu to their Shikoku branch, but before they could send out a pilot to retrieve it, Shikoku fell, they lost all contact and track of KENBU’s whereabouts.
Since Amou is currently its pilot, he was asked if he would join them. Amou however was reluctant to do so because he understood he would have to kill and he’s understandably scared to fight. So comes in Risa, who later admits to him it was her job to convince Amou to join them. When Amou asked her about why she joined the Resistance, she shared how her family was killed in a car crash involved with an Asian Military vehicle, and how many of the other members of the Resistance have experienced similar losses.
But it was thanks to this conversation we were able to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Amou’s parents. Neither of them were killed by their oppressors. His father died from an illness, and his mother died from working herself to death. So unlike many of the members of Yatagarasu, Amou couldn’t quite relate to an unjust and senseless deaths of loved ones. This offered a bit of perspective of why he behaves the way he does. Up until now, he has not truly experienced the horrors that has been inflicted on so many people across the country. That was also why Gashin couldn’t fathom why Amou would hesitate to kill the enemy, when they are still senselessly killing so many of their people.
By the end of the episode he decided he’d stick around, but frankly I think in that moment it wasn’t really for the right reasons. It felt more like Amou wasn’t ready to part ways with KENBU, especially now that it’s properly assembled with new amour and weapons, but boy… is he in for a nasty reality-check.
And I say that because while Amou acknowledged what it would mean to get involved with a military group, he showed us today that despite what he has gone through, he still sees KENBU as a part of his fun passion project than what it is: a weapon of war. We saw this a bit when he expressed concerns about new armor getting scratches and blemishes from the paint-balls during a scrimmage drill, and of course Gashin wasn’t having any of it. Honestly I rolled my eyes when I he said, “I don’t want to ruin it.” because all I could think of was: ‘That should be the least of your concerns right now….’
Which takes us to the opposite of the spectrum, Gashin: someone who is committed to fighting for the sake of restoring his country. Before his father died, he was the JOGAN’s pilot and dreamed to restore Japan, and now Gashin intends to fulfill it, so he is no interested in wasting any time with those who won’t take training and the reality of war seriously.
However Gashin and Yatagarasu kind of surprised me with how confidence they were with the secrecy and security of their location. While Gashin and Amou had permissions to scrimmage in each other’s machines to get a feel for it, I’d still say it was rather naive of them to confidently do something as showy as that rather than laying low to keep off the enemy’s radar. In fact it’s worth mentioning, it was precisely because the Asian Military was on high on alert that they called off their mission to cut off the enemy’s supply route and decided to return to headquarters earlier than planned! That’s why I find their actions to have been fairly careless when they were in the middle of packing things up to retreat to headquarters.
And sure enough, it’s going to get ugly next week. We saw a burst of blood in the preview, and with that monster, I expect a lot of causalities. I suspect Risa and potentially some of the friendly faces Amou got to know won’t be making out of this event alive. Neither Amou or Gashin were at the scene when the enemy unit struck the base, leaving the rest of the team vulnerable to its attacks. Those guns aren’t going to leave a dent in its armor, that thing is a monster, and it sure looks the part too. It will be interesting to see whether it’s a manned unit like KENBU and JOGAN.