This is a pretty plot-heavy episode, so there isn’t any particular topic I want to focus on. As a result, the post will just consist of my observations on the plot.
— So our heroes have made their way to the new town, but it’s an odd, little town. A miserable one, actually. The domain lord forces any young woman in the city to his mansion, and then… well, they are never seen again. Not only that, he taxes the hell out of his own people. So naturally, I have to ask why this town is even populated. Why have people not run for the hills? Why has this town even been allowed to exist? The only complaint I heard two weeks ago was that some duke was refusing to return a floating fortress. There was no mention whatsoever of an entire gender disappearing. You’d think that would be a bigger deal.
— So how do you reach a floating fortress from the ground? Well, that’s why you have a dragoon at your disposal, huh? Fredrica has just been so convenient in this anime. Whenever our heroes need a large advantage to get them out of sticky situations, Fredrica will show up out of nowhere. When they don’t need her, however, she disappears entirely from the picture without a fuss. Of course, Fredrica has been waiting this entire time to fight Toru. Why doesn’t she just, y’know, do it? Do you really need the other person’s consent to fight? But it’s pretty obvious we’ll never get to a point in the story where the two of them will actually fight. Hell, maybe Fredrica is just tsuntsun about helping Toru out anyway. By the way, the plot suddenly makes it a point to inform us that Fredrica can only die if you destroy her brain. Otherwise, she is effectively immortal. I suppose we better hold onto this bit of information.
— Chaika is as annoying as always. The siblings are carefully assessing the situation to determine how best to infiltrate the fortress. Meanwhile, Chaika screams, “Toru, enter, hurry!” Unfortunately, there aren’t any openings that the siblings can spot. The very next day, our heroes volunteer to have Akari give herself up to the Duke. Y’know, the whole kidnapping the young women and forcing them to the fortress thing. We then get a scene in which soldiers drag a bunch of unwilling girls out of their homes. From what the old man had said at the start of the episode, I got the impression that the kidnapping of young women has been going on for quite some time. So color me a touch surprised when there are still young women left to drag out of their homes. There are so many questions to ask. As before, why haven’t these people moved away? If you’re wondering why the soldiers are willingly kidnapping the young women, however, we learn later in the episode that they’re being mind-controlled. So that’s one question answered. Still a whole host of them to go, though.
— These soldiers must be blind. Akari is able to just sneak off into one of the side passages without anyone noticing. You’d also think whoever’s in charge would insist on a head count, and therefore, someone would notice by now that they’re missing a person.
— We also see that Alveric’s people have managed to infiltrate the fortress themselves. How did they get in?
— Elsewhere, the Council of Six Nations intends to attack the floating fortress. I’m more surprised to learn that the Council of Six Nations would have a majesty who ultimately decides everything. Also, why is Konrad so apprehensive about using force here? An emissary has already been killed. The duke is obviously up to no good, and oh yeah, he’s got a fucking floating fortress. But it doesn’t matter anymore what he thinks, because things are underway to subjugate the duke. We thus get to see another floating fortress take into the sky. The Gillette Corps worry, however, that Vivi and Zita won’t be able to get to the ground from such a height. Well, that is certainly pickle. You can obviously smell a potential alliance between Alveric’s people and our heroes from a mile away. That would be one way to wrap up the first season of Chaika, wouldn’t it?
— There appears to be another Chaika aboard the flying fortress, and she manages to spot White Chaika making her way into the Soara. Later in the episode, it is implied that she’s working with the bad guys to achieve a shared goal, but what this goal is, we don’t know yet. In any case, when our heroes are reunited, Akari has nothing new to tell Toru either. Everything seems to point in the direction of the control room, but other than that, we’re still given no information about what exactly goes on in this place, especially with all the young women.
— At one point, our heroes encounter a massive Gundo that gives the fortress the ability to float in the sky. It looks like a massive spine.
— Out of nowhere, a bunch of soldiers surround our heroes, forcing them to split up. This is not before another one has managed to leap forward and stab Fredrica right through the gut. She is then knocked off the platform, falling to God knows what. Of course, the anime already took the time to tell us that Fredrica is immortal unless you destroy her brain, so this scene isn’t as shocking as it probably should be. There’s no tension in the scene whatsoever, because we know she won’t die. As a result, I’m not sure why the anime bothered to remind us of Fredrica’s immortality. Plus, Toru reminds Chaika that our dragoon will likely heal from its wounds. All this does is take all the impact out of the scene. Normally, we’d be like, “Oh shit! Fredrica might be dead!” After all, she got stabbed right through the gut! But since she’s immortal and all that, it’s just whatever. She’ll be back. Not only that, this is one convenient way to remove a trump card from our heroes’ deck. They won’t be able to rely on Fredrica to turn the tides of the battle… for now. She’s immortal, though; she’ll recover eventually, and, well, turn the tides of the battle eventually. Point is, I just don’t agree with how her character is being handled.
— Although Toru and Chaika have managed to elude their pursuers, Akari is not so lucky. Before she gets captured, however, I notice she doesn’t bother to use her Iron-Blood Transformation ability. Why not? Anyway, she eventually comes face-to-face with Ricard Gavarni, who claims to be the duke’s youngest son. Not only that, he tells Akari that he’s killed his parents a long time ago. He thinks Akari has been sent by the Council of Six Nations, and he goes on to wonder about the color of Akari’s heart. He then confesses that he “loves slicing people’s bodies apart.” Okay there, Hannibal. I wonder how many young women he has dismembered. No matter how psychopathic he is, however, he seems rather overly confident. After all, this kid is incurring the wrath of other nations. These are the same nations that took down Gaz as well. Why openly defy everyone when all you’ve got at your disposal is a single floating fortress and a small town? Anyway, Grad Lancia, some wizard, convinces Ricardo not to dice Akari up. Instead, they’ll mind control the girl instead to help them capture the rest of our heroes.
— When we finally return to Toru and Chaika, they run into the evil Chaika, but they don’t know yet that she’s evil. Are we ever going to run into another Chaika that isn’t antagonistic? Maybe not this season. Maybe not ever. In any case, our heroes are all too trusting. Granted, he is hesitant to help the hooded girl. Chaika, ever her naive self, insists that they help rescue her anyway. But this is where Toru would normally chime in with “How do we know we can trust her?” No such thing this time. We’ve come to expect this sort of naivete from Chaika, but Toru as well? Isn’t there a good possibility she could be working for the bad guys? Or is Toru just all too trusting when it comes to girls? He doesn’t know anything about this stranger whatsoever. It seems foolish to assume that she’s just one of the innocent girls that have been kidnapped. Honestly, it feels as though Toru has turned off his brain at such a convenient time.
— Sure enough, this new girl, who claims that her name is Layla, leads our heroes right into a trap. Toru finds himself fighting the now mind controlled Akari. Meanwhile, all Chaika can do is cry out Toru’s name as Layla steals her away into the elevator. Man, that girl will never be useful. Anime fans have a soft spot for helpless girls like Chaika all the time. Personally, I don’t know if I can tolerate yet another season of her bullshit.