Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Ep. 4: Stranded at sea… in the sky!

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Don’t you enjoy flashbacks? I do. Hey, now we get to have poorly-conceived plot twists too!

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Episode summary: Kal and Claire are still stranded at sea so nothing gets to happen until they are rescued. This is just a vehicle for more flashbacks! Right before they are rescued, Claire suspects that Kal might actually be… Karl La Hire! Right after they are rescued, Claire reveals herself to be… Nina Viento!

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• When everyone was standing around worrying about Kal and Claire, I was reminded of Star Wars. Remember the time when Luke was stranded outside in the snow? I was thinking to how the droids added some levity to the situation. Am I saying that the anime needs levity? Not necessarily, but… let’s say you take one bite of food and it’s equally sweet, sour, and savory. Then you take another bite of food and it’s just savory. It doesn’t mean that the second bite necessarily needed to have acid and sweetness to it, but variety alone makes the first bite much more interesting to taste. To put it in another way, the first bite isn’t one note.

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• Not every criticism means I think a show is bad. It just means, “Hey, maybe you could’ve done this instead.” Do I think The Pilot’s Love Song is a bad anime? At this point, it’s a perfect C; it’s one helluva mediocre show. Still, that doesn’t mean I think it’s bad.

• Ignacio sure seems desperate to save Kal. Probably wants to be the one to personally kill our hero or something. Too bad his classmates think he actually has good intentions. In any case, this is where shippers jump in and pair Ignacio with Kal because hate makes it awesome or some stupid shit like that.

• Remember how at the start of the episode, everyone was standing around saying how our stranded duo will be okay? Of course you do! It was just a minute ago. Hell, I just wrote about it three bullet points ago! So what does the anime do now? Cut to everyone inside another building… saying the same damn thing! Yaaaaay.

• Welp, I guess there isn’t much to animate when you’re stuck in a plane in the middle of a storm. So naturally, here comes the flashbacks! Let’s learn how Ari came to meet Kal!

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• I love how Ari’s sisters react to getting a step brother as if he’s a pet. Yay, a complete stranger! “Thanks, dad! I love you!” Seriously, this is what they actually said because he brought home a boy. I’m sure you can be excited to have a little brother, but y’know, this is the sort of thing that is planned. The girls confess that they’re 16 and 12 respectively. That’s old enough to be like, “Uh Dad, you just found a kid? Did he say anything about his parents? Look at the way he’s dressed. He obviously came from a higher social class. Is this okay? Will someone think we kidnapped a noble’s kid? How are we going to feed him? Do we have room for him in our house? What will the neighbors think when they see that a new kid is suddenly living with us?” But no, we’re too dumb to ask completely reasonable questions. Let’s just act like we’re getting a puppy because god knows anything else would require actual depth and intelligence in these girls. And if you think a 16 year old girl can’t ask these questions, you’re short-changing them.

• So then we’ve got Ari standing there looking all glum and shit. Is it because she is — despite being the youngest of the three sisters — wiser than she looks, and has the perfectly natural and sensible concerns that no one else in her family seems to have? Nope, she’s just cold to the young Kal because she doesn’t want to be the imouto. And hey, in any other anime, I would say, “Yeah, fuck being an imouto!” But within the context of this scene, it’s pretty eye-rollingly lame.

• There is ramen in this anime. Ahhhhh.

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• Why don’t we just have the characters eat sushi at this rate. C’mon. Why even hold back? They should also go to a lunar festival and buy dango from a street vendor! Yeah! Then all the girls can dress up in kimonos: “Duh, what’s this dress we’re wearing?! I dunno but because this is an anime — and even though we’re not set in Japan which is a place I just made up in my head because it certainly doesn’t exist in this crazy fantasy world we’re in — we may as well wear kimonos!”

• Sad shounens sleeping next to their imoutos. So moe.

• Well, the people were suffering. Although there are two sides to every story, I don’t doubt that the poor felt as though they were mistreated by their sovereign. This doesn’t mean that Nina is a good person or anything yet though, so it should be interesting to see how or even if the anime will continue to portray Nina as a villain. It would actually be fascinating if it turns out Nina isn’t the bad guy at all. Let’s say Kal’s character arc involves him coming to terms with his parents being responsible for their own gruesome fates. Nevertheless, I doubt that this will be the case. It would be a nice twist on your revenge story though.

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• Back to our stranded duo for a second, Kal somehow clumsily falls into the ocean trying to empty a lifeboat full of presumably rainwater. Like really?

• Then Claire somehow slips into the sea too a second later. Hey look, now they’re forced to strip down to their underwear in order to dry out their clothes. Smooth. Couldn’t have set that up any better!

• Doki doki, we’re both as pale as the moon. Boy, this sunset sure is orange!

• Kal’s cloth slips and… wow! Whitey-tighties are so embarrassing.

• Claire’s so sheltered that she emits a piercing scream at the sight of Kal’s underwear.

• Or maybe she screams because she’s your average anime female character. Who can really tell!

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• I’m half-prepared for the characters to fish up some octopus and whip out takoyaki batter ’cause why the hell not!

• Do you guys even have bait? Other than Claire being pedobait, of course.

• It’s time for another flashback!

• Dad looks at the beaten-up Kal and just smiles. Heh, boys will be boys.

• Bunch of sappy stuff about how Ari truly cares for Kal. Yawn.

• I’m surprised they didn’t bring some sort of survival pack with them in cases of emergencies like… oh, being stranded at sea? Yes, I know nobody plans to run into trouble, but contingencies, man, contingencies! It’s not really about being realistic. It’s just smart.

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• Despite how much I rag on this show, I don’t mind Kal and Claire as a couple. No, I really just mean Kal and Claire. Not their counterparts. Ahem. Anyway… yeah, they don’t fight or whatever, but uh… real couples don’t really fight all that much. People sort of misinterpret the saying “Opposites attract.” Yeah, couples with differing interests will likely have more things to talk about in the long run. For some reason, however, people think “Opposites attract” literally mean a couple should have constant tension all the time. And then magically, that tension will translate to sexual tension, uwaaaa~… no. Your typical love story is like…

Girl: Baka! Look at what you got us into!
Guy: This wouldn’t have happened if [insert inane excuse]. But using my magical Mary Sue powers, I’ve procured us food. Oh, you’re cold. Here, let me lend you my jacket even though you’ve been a bitch to me all day. *sheepish shounen grin that they all do*
Girl: *blushes* It’s not like I wanted to wear your jacket…
Guy: You’re cute when you’re not talking.
Girl: W-w-what are you even saying! Urusai! *turns away and secretly smiles*
Guy: *stretches* Aaaah, I could really go for some okonomiyaki!!

Oh man, what an infinitely more interesting dynamic! Kal and Claire are so boring in comparison!

• Claire’s a sharp cookie. She’s already caught on to Kal’s true identity. It goes to show that every anime heroine will eventually find her prince.

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• Man, Ari’s a bitch.

• Oh look, Claire is really Nina Viento all along. Dammit Draggle, you ruined my anime in the sky.

• I’m amazed that some terrible makeup and a wig is all it fucking takes for a highly important person in Isla to masquerade as a school girl. Oh my bad, her breasts seem to have grown and she now has a deeper voice. So of course, no one can recognize her. Still, even if Nina Viento is in disguise, don’t you think the people who regularly know her would be like… man, where is our all-important priestess? But hey, whatever you say, anime!

• Well, you guys thought Kal and Claire as a couple was as boring as white bread, so here you go. Now they can have tremendous hate sex.


8 Replies to “Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Ep. 4: Stranded at sea… in the sky!”

  1. For all the cliches and clumsy storytelling (among other issues), I’m enjoying the show – at this point primarily because of the budding romance between Kal and Claire. Now -that’s- something I thought I’d never say – enjoying the relationship instead of everything else, rather than the other way around. This may of course change, but I like that their relationship so far hasn’t been beset with love triangles and ridiculous misunderstandings about who likes who; something of a rarity in anime (or, let’s face it, in any other medium).

      1. I guess it depends whether or not he actually ends up hating her or not. Right now our intrepid hero hates the -idea- of Nina Viento, and the figurehead that she’s been made out to be (most likely not of her own volition), but since he’s never even spoken to her, his hatred isn’t exactly personal as far as she’s concerned. It could very well end up being just another tired cliche, but you never know.

        1. I’m sure he’ll come around. But for now, he’s lost everything. His father, his mother, his nobility, his lineage, etc. And he’s blamed it all on Nina Viento. But there’s going to be some tears and some hurt feelings. If he finds discovers Claire’s true identity and gets over it instantly, it would really make the story seem too ridiculous. They kind of have to go through a conflict before they make up. And it’s too bad in my mind because I would not have minded seeing a couple that simply supported each other all the way through a series.

          1. I agree that it would be downright refreshing to see a simple but supporting couple for a change, and that it’s unlikely this will happen (and as you point out, even if it did, that probably wouldn’t fit well with the narrative we’ve now been presented with). Still, what and how exactly things will go down remains to be seen, so I’ll try not to judge too harshly right off the bat.

  2. I actually thought that the Nino Viento revelation was quite well played, and is probably what will keep me watching for another few episodes. The series was borderline drop for me until this episode.

  3. Hey, hey, hey, pulling up a water-filled lifeboat is pretty hard. Doesn’t change the fact that you would need some seriously terrible balance to fall forwards instead of backwards when the final bits of water suddenly reduce the weight of the boat, but still…

    Ignacio is the real enigma right now, in that his sudden urge to get on the plane doesn’t gel with his hate for Karl la Hire. He’s also rather pathetic, which he seems aware of. Sucky pilot, sucky temperament, sucky reputation with the blogosphere -not that he knows, but still. Everybody hates him. So moe. I like. Now all we need is some more rain and those pianos…

    For some reason I get the feeling that there are multiple people masquerading as Nina Viento. This theory is utterly ridiculous, but then again, so is this revelation about Claire being Nina.
    Speaking of this revelation, if Claire’s personality is the same as it was in episode one, there is no way she would make a good figurehead, and there is somebody puppeteering her. If it isn’t, then she is a ridiculously good actor and her development so far was all a lie. Odds are she’s being puppeteered, and the hate sex will have rather one-sided hate, which makes the whole affair rather… odd.

    1. Ignacio is the real enigma right now, in that his sudden urge to get on the plane doesn’t gel with his hate for Karl la Hire.

      I saw it more as “That idiot can’t die now! It’s my job to kill him! I will save him… just so I can kill him!”

      Speaking of this revelation, if Claire’s personality is the same as it was in episode one, there is no way she would make a good figurehead, and there is somebody puppeteering her.

      Heh, I actually went back to rewatch the first episode. At that point in the story, Claire had to do breathing exercises before she could utter a single word to Kal. All of a sudden, she’s now this all-important priestess who played a major role in a revolution. At the moment, I’m inclined to think Claire is nothing more than an act.

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