I don’t think the legendary heroes are cursed or anything. After all, Count Abarth seemed to have been doing pretty well for himself until our heroes showed up and stole one of Gaz’s remains. Still, the fates of Dominica Skoda and Simon Scania show that being a war hero obviously isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. From Dominica’s story, we can see how some people can lose their one sense of purpose after the conclusion of a war. Still, never-ending war is unsustainable. Sure, there will always be conflicts somewhere in the world, but not everywhere. Plus, Simon’s story shows that even if the 200-year war against Gaz had never concluded, Simon still would’ve been unhappy. After all, the betrayal he suffered has nothing to do with the war itself. So why is any of this important?
Well, at the end of the second episode, Toru gave off this impression that he wouldn’t mind it one bit if recovering all of Gaz’s remains ended up igniting a new war. After all, he’s a saboteur, and saboteurs are meant to fight, blah blah blah. That may be true, but it is also only true because he thinks of himself as only a saboteur. The same can be said of Dominica but obviously without the whole saboteur thing. These characters have pretty much pigeon-holed themselves into a singular purpose in life, and this is why they end up being so unhappy. People like Toru are not complete individuals. Likewise, the legendary heroes who have fallen into obscurity were not complete individuals either. Simon has been irreparably damaged by betrayal. And, well, do I really need to explain why a person is broken to think that all she can do in life is to fight?
So maybe by the end of the story, Toru will learn to value something besides the thrill of battle. Maybe he’ll finally accept that not every job he takes will necessarily excite him. Maybe that’s what this week’s illusions are inadvertently hinting at. Y’see, there’s this place called the Valley of No Return, and it’s enshrouded in a thick fog. But this isn’t your average fog; it’s a magical fog! The fog feeds its victim the illusion of a life where he or she will eventually be betrayed by a lover. In Toru’s case, he finds himself living out a life where Akari had died. As a result, it’s up to him and him alone to help Chaika recover the rest of her father’s remains. In the process, I guess he ends up falling in love with her though since it’s an anime, they never become physically intimate or anything. Unfortunately for our hero, however, she ends up betraying him for, uh, Alberic. Well, it’s an illusion; it doesn’t have to make perfect sense.
Anyway, it turns out that the magical fog is all Simon’s doing. Because he had been betrayed by both his wife and a former friend, anyone who dares intrude on his home in the Valley of No Return will have to suffer the same fate. But that’s not the important part. The important takeaway is that Toru perhaps sees a future between him and Chaika, a future that doesn’t necessarily involve fighting. Sure, at the end of the episode, he tries to play it off as if the illusions are no big deal, but that’s how it always is in anime. Anime characters are always stupendously shy about the matters of the heart unless it’s a pandering imouto who desires to jump her brother’s bone. Nevertheless, I’m inclined to think that this journey with Chaika will eventually show the guy that he can become more than just a saboteur. He can be someone’s lover, for instance. And down the line, perhaps he can even be a father.
The point is, thinking that you only have a singular purpose in life isn’t healthy. It’s almost naive, if you think about it. It’s the kind of thinking that tends to plague young people, because they can be so stubbornly adamant about their chosen course in life. But yeah, other than that, this episode is pretty forgettable. Toru clashes with Alberic once more, but this particular subplot isn’t really going anywhere. Alberic is nothing more than a speed bump at the moment, to be quite honest. All those deadpan incest jokes from Akari aren’t doing anything for me either. I did laugh out loud once though. When the girls managed to save Toru from the magical fog, Akari tries to slap some sense into him. In her mimicry, Fredica socks the guy a few times instead. The absolute glee on her face cracked me up.