Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Ep. 5: A moment of deep contemplation… in the sky!

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I’ll admit the second half of this episode is okay. Having said that, onto the summary and notes.

Episode summary: Kal and Claire get a little bit closer during a camp out on the beach. We then learn of the girl’s origin, and she’s had a tough life — probably much tougher than Kal’s. Afterwards, she tries to avoid Kal because she’s afraid that he’s truly Karl La Hire, but during a training exercise, he reaffirms his implicit love for her. As a result, she too embraces their relationship and the duo successfully defeat their opponents in the exercise. But before they get the chance to celebrate, the Sky Clan of the Holy Spring preemptively attacks Isla and our couple find themselves caught in the crossfire.

Notes:

• If you’re chomping at the bit to find out how the revelation about Claire and Nina Viento will impact the story, sorry! ‘Cause we starting things off with everyone gathered around a tree in order to attach a swing to it. Wow, such rowdy kids! Don’t get too wild out there, guys. Wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt!

• Kal can now hit a giant, stationary target with his rifle. Good for him. It’s just one scene from a long montage of how everyone’s doing at flight school, and we all know how exciting montages are.

• Ooh, ground combat is important. What’s next? Water training? Hm, could be interesting. They are surrounded by water, after all. Let’s see how the anime handles it:

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A goddamn beach episode. Ugh…

what the hell is wrong with you people

• Bandereas is not to be outdone. He, too, is ready to strip down to nothing but a speedo before his students:

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How can you possibly fail in life when you’ve got such amazing role models to look up to?

• But of course, while most of the guys will happily gawk at Sonia’s body, most of the girls are busy averting their eyes at the sight of Bandereas. In other words, boys will be boys and girls hate sex! Generalizations are cool!

• To the anime’s credit, they’re still just training… for now. I obviously don’t have high hopes for this show, but I’ll call it like I see it.

• I spoke too soon: “Once in a while, you guys should also get a chance to relax! Anyone who wants to stay and have fun is welcome to do so.” Hey, I’ve got nothing against fun, but a beach episode in an anime about pilots, violent revolutions, revenge, and exploring the world? C’mon. You’re breaking my balls, Smalls.

• And don’t think I’ve forgotten about the Nina Viento revelation… the Nina Viento revelation. C’mooooooooon. What are we doing here? Why aren’t we continuing the story? It’s like the anime’s saying, “Good job. You guys have endured all this hard, strenuous stuff like… plot and character development. Time to take a break and have fun with a beach episode! Ha ha ha ha ha ha! HA HA!”

• Claire’s hesitant to play in the water with her friends because of her curfew. Yes, Claire, yes! Ignore these ignoramuses. Return to your Nina Viento self! And together, we will advance the story! I mean, uh, you will advance the story. I’ll just be watching. Just do it.

• Goddammit:

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• Even the upper class kids are forced to leave lest they ruin our super awesome fun beach episode. Wouldn’t want that! We deserve this, after all. All those flashbacks were tough to sit through! It was like I was learning things important to the story and shit. I’m so tired of Kal’s whiny ass bitching about how his parents were executed before his eyes. Man up and get over it, am I right? God, what a chore. Let’s just watch girls in bathing suits splash water at each other instead. Aah, this show has finally achieved anime equilibrium.

• This is not very befitting of a priestess, young lady:

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That old governess was right! Should’ve never let Claire go to school! Now her boobs are all flopping all over the place. Such lack of grace.

• You might think Ignacio would be a total bro and do his best to advance the story, but nope. He too gets dragged into all the nonsense thanks to Ari. So in the very next scene, he’s stuck peeling a potato. That’s what you get, son.

• But yes, now we get a scintillating scene of a campfire cookout. My heart is practically beating itself out of my chest.

• Meanwhile, our hero and his girl are busy gathering bundles of sticks. Well, all I know is that Kal has twice the bundle of sticks that Claire has. That’s saying something!

• Whoops. It turns out our lovey-dovey, soon-to-be-having-hate-sex couple is lost in the woods. Thank god for those bundles of sticks though…

• Kal: “L-let’s get back to everyone! Or we’ll get stranded again.” Yes, in order to not be lost, you should simply “unlose” yourself. It’s so simple.

• They trip and fall, and of course, our hero ends up being on top of the girl. No sexy water to break their fall this time though like in the first episode.

• Will they…?

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Naw, no way… anime always chickens out. But maybe….

• Nope:

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Maybe the RA knows all about Claire’s true identity, and it’s her job to make sure nothing inappropriate happens between the deposed prince and the Wind Priestess. Or maybe I’m just giving the anime too much credit and the RA’s only here because she’s a creepy stalker.

• RA: “Every day, I walk around the lake in the evening.” Oh okay.

• After Kal helps Claire up to her feet, the girl suddenly runs away with her head down. I swear, anime guys have no instincts whatsoever. The girl you love looks to be in distress? Just stand there and mutter her name!

• Ooh, so now we get some juicy revelations. The new Balsteros government is keenly aware of Karl La Hire’s continued existence. They’re not going to kill him or anything, but a government official suggests that Kal take part in the Isla Project, a.k.a. let’s go look for the End of the World. Kal’s foster father correctly deduces that this is nothing more than a voluntary exile. Nevertheless, the pitch wins Kal over when the official reveals that Nina Viento will be serving as governor of Isla as it takes to the skies. Obviously, the new government isn’t stupid; it guesses correctly that Kal wants revenge. As a result, the government is willingly betraying Nina Viento, a key figure in the Wind Revolution. Why might that be?

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• Kal’s foster father can’t be stupid either. He has to know deep down what Kal aims to accomplish on Isla. It’s not like Kal’s going to have a picnic with Nina Viento as they hash out their differences. Still, the old man allows Ari to join her foster brother on Isla. I wonder why.

• Now that Kal’s found love on Isla though, he’s naturally unsure of what he wants to do anymore. Even if he’s successful in getting his revenge on Nina Viento, it’s unlikely that he’d survive the ordeal. And even if he does survive, where would he go? Where could he hide?

• Hm, the same universe that has technology like “hydrogen battery packs” still requires its pilots to shoot from a handheld rifle when airborne. That’s just a little silly to me.

• I guess it’s Nina’s turn to have flashbacks.

• So she grew up being called a witch due to her abilities to control the wind. Not only that, her poor mother reluctantly gave her away to settle some debt. I’m guessing Luis de Alarcon isn’t her actual uncle, but then why is he so personally invested in the idea of her attending flight school?

• So the girl uses her powers to summon a tornado that ends up devastating her village. Somehow, a nearby priest had been observing the whole ordeal, and he just nonchalantly saunters up to the poor girl. He begins to proselytize about Saint Aldista as he aims to recruit Claire at her most vulnerable state. It’s like the whole thing was planned from the start…

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• According to Nina, “The Empire was already a single step from destruction. The people sought salvation.” But I want to know why. What crimes were Karl’s parents guilty of? In the flashbacks for both of our main characters, the Wind Revolution itself is merely touched upon. Why do I want to know about the causes of the Wind Revolution so badly? ‘Cause Nina basically lost her powers when she gazed into young Karl’s eyes: “…I realized what a sinner I am.” But is she truly a sinner? If she had helped to overthrow a corrupt monarchy, what is she truly guilty of? Sure, the resulting government is probably not sunshine and flowers, but sticking with the old status quo isn’t likely the solution either. So why is Nina a sinner? Don’t tell me it’s because she’s responsible for the death of Karl’s parents. That’s obvious; that’s just surface detail. Give me more than that. What is the true extent of her guilt? Did she end up helping to overthrow a benevolent monarchy instead or what?

• Luis asks that she accompany him on Isla, but we still don’t know why he wants her there. I just hope we don’t have to sit through more beach episodes before we discover his true intentions.

• The following day, Claire begins to see the image of young Karl every time she looks at Kal. So now, she’s avoiding him at all costs.

• Claire half-confesses to Kal, “I want to stay who I am…” Is this entire trip an attempt to help the girl regain her powers? Maybe she’s supposed to wash away her sins at some point in the trip or something and this will allow her to command the wind again. Makes you wonder, then, if Luis truly cares for her or if she’s just someone he intends to manipulate.

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• Out of nowhere, the Sky Clan, Guardians of the Holy Spring, attacks Isla. One of Isla’s leaders refers to them as nothing more than “mere barbarians time has left behind.” See, the show’s universe is potentially interesting. What are these places and these people who defend them?

• If time has left these guys behind, time sure was generous enough to let them have some nice airplanes too. If anything, Isla’s arsenal is the one that looks kinda rickety here.

• I’m surprised the leaders hadn’t planned for this contingency. I mean, yeah, they thought the Sky Clan was nothing more than a myth, but still, why would you approach a revered and holy place without thinking that you might run into trouble? What revered, holy place isn’t rife with conflict.

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12 thoughts on “Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Ep. 5: A moment of deep contemplation… in the sky!”

  1. I liked Ari’s “cool, dude’s packing muscles!” reaction to Bandereas’ little strip show. As for the rest of the girls, I have a feeling they’d be far more willing to stick around had Bandereas been a bishounen. Personally, I think this scene says far more about popular Japanese attitudes to what’s considered beautiful or sexy than about girls’ aversion of sex (although that’s certainly not to say that the latter isn’t an issue).

    1. But why avert your gaze at all then? I’m personally not attracted to muscle-bound women, but I wouldn’t cower in fear at the sight of one. What the anime implies is that it’s perfectly okay for girls to react to a grown man’s body the same way one might react to a spider. That’s a little ridiculous.

      I’m not saying you’re wrong though. If anything, you’re probably more right than me. Hell, I’ve even written about Japan’s preference for bishounen over hairy, muscle-bound guys years ago (shameless plug). But then this speaks to another problem afflicting the medium in general: anime’s all-too-often inability to extricate itself from the very culture it comes from. I completely understand that Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta’s creator is Japanese, but the story does not take place in Japan. It doesn’t even take place in a civilization that remotely resembles an East Asian society. This would be like if I had written a story about a vaguely East Asian country but everyone’s eating tuna casserole, preaching from the pulpit about our rights to own guns, and watching a bunch of cars turn left for hours on end (I know I’m stereotyping). It doesn’t make sense.

        1. It’s also a little outdated and I always feel a little inadequate when it comes to my ‘professional’ work, so rest assured the feeling is mutual. :)

        2. Well, hey, at least it’s professional work — with works cited! — even if you did hedge yourself with ” marks. Mine’s just a blog post I wrote when I was still an undergrad.

        3. Nothing to be ashamed about in a blog post! I ended up citing plenty of them back when I writing my PhD – in part because there was sometimes a lack of academic books that I was able to reference, given some of the subject matter, but also because so many of these posts were well thought out, well written, and generally made a lot of good sense (… some more so than a few of the books I found during my research).

  2. I heard somewhere that otaku are becoming really spoiled and tend to abandon a show that doesn’t deliver a beach episode or some other heavy fanservice early on, plot developments be damned.

  3. There was one super common pet peeve in that anime that I never really liked: The ultimate answer to Identity Crises being “You are who you are.” and it just magically resolves every single problem involving a person with an identity crisis no matter how serious or existential.

    The term itself just feels incredibly vague and it will give the one who asks it ends up being more confused about the identity. I dunno.

  4. are you going to watch witch craft works? it’s a magical girlfriend thing but it’s kinda interesting because the magical girlfriend is actually competent and not an annoying tsundere
    i’m curious what you’d think about it

    1. I already dropped it. Even if the magical girlfriend is competent — though to be honest, she’s more like a big-boobed robot — the hero is too much of a pathetic loser for me to be interested in the show.

  5. A possible reason why the new government is betraying Viento is simply because Viento is a loose, and very very large cannon that is now useless. They don’t want a nuke sitting around at home, but they can’t kill it, because Nina was the face of the Wind Revolution, so they get Karl to do it, and then, if Karl gets caught, they demonise him, and then execute him to thunderous applause.

    This requires Nina Viento to be nothing more than a puppet, though, and at this stage, I am very inclined to believe this over the ‘Claire faked it’ theory.

    It also makes me think that the entire Isla project is the new government disposing of aristocratic elements in Benares, a la the Golgafrinchans from the Hitchhiker’s Gide to the Galaxy.

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