Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Ep. 11: Repentance… in the sky!

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Guess who’s back!

Episode summary: The students help the military take down the enemy ship, but the Luna Barco takes heavy damage, and as a result, it’s going to go down anyway. Thinking that she’ll die here, Nina/Claire apologizes to Kal, but he forgives her and tells her to live. This allows our priestess to regain her ability to command the wind, which she then uses to protect her lover and float the Luna Barco back to Isla.

Notes:

• By the way — and I forgot to ask this last week — why is Nina even on this ship? Shouldn’t she be back on Isla where it’s safe…er? Sure, if the Luna Barco goes down, Isla is pretty much all but defeated, but it doesn’t make sense to stick your powerless governor in such a compromising situation.

• Obviously, Nina’s inability to command the wind is all mental: “Just the fact that you tried is a step forward.” She feels guilty for the death of Kal’s parents, so unless he forgives her, she’ll never command the wind again. Granted, this would be somewhat of a natural progression. Still, it’s a bit predictable if you ask me.

• The officers on the bridge get news that our heroes have managed to break through the smoke. As a result, they can now relay the enemy movements back to the bridge. In response, some asshole goes, “We can’t trust a student’s observations!” What choice have you got?

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• Still, I can’t really respect Nina here all that much. She knows her classmates are being used for these dangerous missions. She knows that the longer Isla continues on this damned pilgrimage, the more trouble they’ll run into. And yet, she sits idly by and allows the events to unfold before her very eyes. It’s too late to look shocked now. The blood of her classmates are on her hands too.

• This sort of combat has never really appealed to me. The reason mecha anime can be appealing to a certain extent is because the mechas are often human-like in their appearance. Sometimes, the mechas even have a sentience of their own. Furthermore, mecha pilots emote a lot — perhaps too much in some shows — and this adds a human element to the battle scenes. In naval combat, all I get to see are two big ass ships shooting volleys at each other. Yeah, not very involving.

• Again, I don’t even know why Nina has to convince Leopold to make use of Benjamin’s observations. What choice do they have! They can’t see shit. Even if Benjamin’s observations aren’t 100% accurate, it’s still a whole lot more accurate than, well, seeing nothing. This drama just doesn’t make any sense. Leopold insisted on using the students in the first place, but now he isn’t sure if he can trust their word? At the same time, however, they’re not withdrawing from the battle. So what do you want then? You either trust the students, or hightail it out of there. But despite my incredulity, I know perfectly why this stupid scene is included in this week’s episode. This scene’s only purpose is to allow Nina to stand up for her classmates.

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Look, to a certain extent, every scene in a story is “contrived.” But the point of good storytelling is that the contrivance isn’t supposed to be this obvious, and that’s the problem we have here. The characters are being incredibly dumb just to give Nina the perfect opportunity to praise her friends. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Nina standing up for them. That part of the equation is fine! But you could’ve given me a better scenario than, “Ugh, can we really trust the observations of the students even though we have no other choice?” What people usually mean when they say that a story feels contrived is that it feels obviously so.

• Uh, did anyone else find it weird when Benjamin threw his weapon and ammo overboard? Focusing on spotting is fine and all, but he didn’t actually have to get rid of their only means of defense should Kal and Ignacio fail to cover their ass. Obviously, those two aren’t going to fail; they’re the heroes of this story. Still, if I was in Noriaki’s shoes right now, I’d be like, “What the fuck?” Hell, maybe that is what the poor dude is thinking:

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“…”

poor noriaki

• Somehow, Benjamin only lost his right hand, but he and his buddy are relatively okay? Well, good for them, I guess, but that’s an oddly specific injury to suffer when the rest of their plane is in a good enough condition to escape from the exploding enemy ship.

• Kal then goes on and on about how the enemies have made all of the girls of the show cry. Honestly, what else can the female characters of this show do? They don’t get to do anything cool. They just get to watch their boyfriends fly off and die, and in the meantime, they can cry. Yeah, this anime is chauvinist. I still don’t understand why the flight school was unisex just to have the girls do nothing.

• Leopold has the gall to ask, “So we’ve sacrificed more brave students?” Dude… dude….

• Nina wonders if this means Noriaki and Benjamin have died. In response, Leopold says, “Soldiers die here all the time.” Yes, soldiers die in battle all the time. Not students. Boy, how could we have prevented students from dying… Gosh, I just don’t know!

• Nina slumps back into her seat and mutters, “Once again, I can do nothing?” Well, you did give that wonderful speech. Y’know, the one that emboldened your people’s resolve to continue on this pilgrimage. Oh, and it just so happened that you incurred the enemy’s wrath… but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence!

• Wait, what?

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Where did her make-up go? I would love to know how Nina also got rid of her make-up by simply shedding her wig. Maybe it’s magic! Maybe it’s Maybelline!

• Wait… will she… actually die?

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No, of course not. Don’t be stupid. Look, I’m not asking for Nina/Claire to die. In fact, I’m not asking for any of the four major characters of the show to die. But this is what I have been talking about in my previous posts. You just know she can’t die yet (if she’s going to die at all), so as a result, it makes for a predictable and unsuspenseful story. And oh yeah, the girl gets her powers back when Kal finally forgives her. Hmmmmmmm.

• Hoo boy, this animation:

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Also, these lines: “So the people I love can keep smiling forever!”

Wacky waving inflatable arm flailing priestess!

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Add much-needed gravitas to your scenes of emotional breakthrough today with your very own wacky waving inflatable arm flailing priestess!

• But seriously, how convenient is it that the Holy Levamme Empire shows up now that our heroine has regained her powers? It wouldn’t be surprising if a powerful empire would suddenly love to get their hands on a priestess who can control the wind.

• Oh hey, remember these guys:

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They’ve been keeping themselves busy doing… uh… yeah…

• Well, isn’t that nice:

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I thought it was odd how when Kal and Ignacio landed their plane, none of the girls inquired into the whereabouts of Noriaki and Benjamin. The show can’t even make us think they’re dead.

• Ah well, who cares about those two? Are Kal and Claire going to kiss and makeup or what? Whoops, not in this episode! Apparently, we’ll get to see the End of the Sky next week. I sure hope the trip will be worth the death of their classmates.

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