Well, we learn a bit more about Ignacio, but hardly enough before the faceless enemy attacks once again.
Episode summary: Ignacio beats some sense into Kal, but Isla’s under attack again. Like before, Leopold wants to send the students out on a dangerous mission, but Sonia quits the military and takes most of the children with her. Kal, Noriaki, and Benjamin, however, volunteer to fight much to the girls’ dismay. Ignacio returns to be Kal’s partner, and the episode ends in the middle of a major battle.
• In a flashback, Ignacio tells us how he and his mother were kicked out of the palace as the Wind Revolution drew near. You could say it was a blessing in disguise though. Who knows how the revolutionaries would’ve felt toward the king’s concubine and his illegitimate son. They might have gotten some flack, i.e. guilty by association. After all, a lot of people apparently wanted Kal murdered too, but our deposed prince only made it out alive thanks to one man’s mercy. Ignacio might not have fared as well. No, I’m not saying Ignacio should thank his lucky stars that his own father abandoned him and his mother. His early life definitely sucked. But all things considered, it could’ve been a lot worse. He could be dead. Yeah, his mom died shortly after their exile from the palace, but I doubt she would’ve survived the storming of the palace anyway.
• Ignacio: “Whenever we ran out of food, my mother would leave, late at night, returning with food in the morning.” Hint: prostitution. I mean, she’s even half-undressed and bathing in the river. The implication is that she had just committed a dirty deed. Still, I like the restraint here from the writer(s). The anime’s not completely spelling it out for us, and not only that, the animators didn’t feel compelled to show her completely naked. We’re not skeeving on some destitute woman just because anime fans need something to fap to. Had she been a young shoujo though, all bets are off.
• Sharon says, “But you know, guys sometimes do things that don’t make any sense.” Thanks for the casual sexism, lady. She then adds, “I’m sure that there are times when they have to do that.” Do what? Hit each other? Over a girl? I’ve never hit anyone in my life.
• As he’s knocking Kal around, Ignacio taunts, “Ariel and Nina have far more guts than you. They’re doing their jobs, as best as they can.” I know this is supposed to be straight out of the school of hard knocks or something, but puh-lease. There’s nothing gutsy about what Nina has been doing, i.e. following orders that have already been laid out for her. Nina didn’t even once question whether or not she should give a bullshit speech to her people. After all, Isla’s leaders don’t even know if the End of the Sky even exists. It’s just a supposition based on the fact that the Holy Spring exists. Meanwhile, Nina’s people are suffering because of this pilgrimage. Her classmates continue to go on dangerous missions because Leopold is unwilling to risk the lives of his own men. Yet despite all of this, Nina didn’t once consider whether or not Isla should turn itself around and head home. She just did whatever Luis de Alarcon asked her to do. Yes, I understand that she’s depressed right now. I understand that she’s distraught over the loss of her classmates as well as her relationship with Kal. But we’re talking about guts. And while I pity the girl for her circumstances, there is nothing gutsy about what she did in last week’s episode. She was merely being someone else’s pawn.
• Ignacio then accuses Kal of “stealing Claire’s dreams of flying from her.” Talk about dramatic. I think considering everything that we’ve just seen, merely saying the following would’ve been more than enough: “It’s because of you that she will never realize her dreams of flying!” Instead, the dialogue goes for too much, which ends up taking me as a viewer out of the moment because I can’t help but laugh at how overly dramatic Ignacio’s being. Kal stole it from her? Stole? C’mon, dude.
• In what universe does a nation’s leadership continually task its children with the most dangerous of missions? Even the most evil regimes in history have always valued the lives of their own children. I just can’t wrap my mind around how Isla’s leadership can be so blase about sending a bunch of trainees to their almost certain deaths. Looks like we’re going to need a new revolution, fellas.
• Sonia quits the military, and that’s great, but what someone really needs to do is to get this information out to the people. It’s the people who need to know what’s going on. They need to see how their children are being used as nothing more than fodder. Enough bullshit speeches from the puppet governor. Where are Isla’s journalists?
• I imagine Noriaki’s unwilling to desert the military because he has survivor’s guilt. Remember, he was the pilot for Wolfgang when the latter got gunned down a couple of episodes ago. As a result, Noriaki probably feels as though it would be unfair for him to run away now when Wolfgang was never given the chance to do so.
• So Benjamin volunteers to stay with Noriaki and be the kid’s partner. The two of them might die as a result, and if this turns out to be the case, those two will just add onto the list of male deaths in the anime. I find this a little odd. Yeah, Chiharu got to go on a dangerous mission, but only to see her true love die before her very eyes. Ari also nearly died, but the important fact is that she didn’t. In fact, none of the girls have died. It just seems strange to me how the story is so willing to send the boys off to their deaths and so unwilling to do the same with the girls. On the one hand, it’s a bit chauvinist that only the boys can sacrifice their lives for love and country. On the other hand, there is historical basis in the fact that women have not been put into combat until very recently.
But if we’re so concerned about historical accuracy all of a sudden, then why did the story even bother making the flight school unisex? Why go to such lengths if you’re not going to let the female characters participate as equally? Just to have the boys and the girls fall in love with each other? Nah, that’s not a good enough reason. If the girls had been residents of a nearby village, the boys could’ve still fallen in love with them whenever they had time off from the school. Cynically, I think the flight school is only unisex so that we can have generic high school tropes. Y’know, the obligatory beach episode and the incredibly mundane “Ari-men” episode? But when shit really hits the fan, the story condescendingly coddles the girls.
• Man, imagine if that “Ari-men” episode had been used to flesh out more of these side characters’ love stories. I just think how much more emotionally invested I’d be if that had been the case. But I guess The Pilot’s Love Song would much rather wait until the characters are about to die before telling their stories to the audience.
• Chiharu goes, “Ari, let’s go. Let’s believe in [Kal]. You can’t change a boy’s mind once he’s decided.” Well shit, I’m just like a runaway train then! Oh wait, a runaway plane, a ha!
• I just tune out during the battle scenes. Well, I pay attention if the main characters are involved, but I could not care less about all those moments where a bunch of generic nobodies are shouting back and forth on the bridge. It’s all just generic war shit that I’ve seen in countless other shows. These scenes are rarely done in a way that’s actually new and refreshing.
• Nina looks all shocked to hear that some of the students have arrived to the battle, and this makes me roll my eyes a bit. Hey, she could’ve turned this island around. Well, probably not; I doubt the other four leaders of Isla would’ve just capitulated to a puppet governor, but nevertheless, she could’ve exerted her influence in helping to turn this island around. After all, this island needs a new revolution, but instead, Nina opted to give a bullshit speech without even questioning it.
Wow, talk about corny. Anyway, the rest of the episode isn’t worth talking about, so I’m going to end the post here.