Um, is this a joke? I mean, it has to be, right? If our hero hadn’t disobeyed orders in last week’s episode, Jamie would be dead. Not only that, he’d have no fancy mecha to pilot, which is pretty much a cardinal sin when it comes to mecha anime. Furthermore, if Jamie hadn’t disobeyed orders in this week’s episode, Tokimune himself would be dead. So maybe the show is poking fun at itself… hm, nah. I mean, the rest of the show is just so dead serious that I simply can’t imagine this seemingly generic mecha series actually possesses even the tiniest bit of self-awareness. So what’s the alternative, then? Well, maybe Tokimune’s just a dumbass. Like I’ve said, we wouldn’t even have a series if anyone had obeyed orders in either of the anime’s two episodes. So there you have it: our hero’s a dumbass.
Like before, I had a difficult time getting through this week’s episode in a single sitting. Once again, I kept getting distracted by, well, anything else. But man, did Bosh screw the Rockets or what? They practically gave away Lin for nothing to lure Bosh, but then he just went back to the Heat anyway! Still, the Lakers aren’t going to win anything with the players they resigned, so what can I say? Oops, I’ve done it again; I keep getting myself distracted by news about basketball! God, why can’t I just focus on Argevollen? No, really, why can’t I? Well, it’s because there’s just nothing to get excited about. Basically, the forces of Ingelmia are in hot pursuit of our heroes, but for some reason, Tokimune’s having a difficult time piloting his new mecha all of a sudden. Okay, why don’t we just have someone else pilot it? See, someone hasn’t been studying their big book of mecha anime cliches! No one can pilot the fancy mecha other than the hero himself. For whatever reason, the Argevollen links itself to the thought pattern of the first person to climb into it, and, uh, I guess the process can’t be reversed.
Anyway, the good guys are being chased. They try to escape through an unrealistically large flue of an abandoned mine shaft — large enough to fit mechas within it — but because Tokimune is having a hard time keeping up with the rest of the group, Ukyo has to make a difficult call. He opts to leave the main character behind so that the rest of the squad can make it out safely. Well, considering how Tokimune can barely move the Argevollen up until this point, I can hardly blame the captain. Still, we all know this can’t happen. Not only would the main character die, but that fancy mecha would fall into the enemy’s hands! Oh god, won’t anybody think of the fancy mecha! So eventually, Jamie realizes what Tokimune has to do: he has to envision it. He has to look into his kokoro and picture his mecha being all awesome and shit, then lo and behold, it’ll be all awesome and shit! Yeah, really. That’s pretty much the episode right there. The good guys make it out safely, and all is well… for now.
Argevollen‘s problem is that it doesn’t give me anything to chew on. This is especially damning in a season full of ambitious shows. Who knows what Aldnoah.Zero and Terror in Resonance are trying to say, but at least you get the feeling that they want to say something. The former anime series might have had too much exposition in its opening episode, but at least it was not simply about two sides going to war. As I’ve argued elsewhere, we might just be watching the history of Imperial Japan unfold itself before our very eyes. As for Terror in Resonance, the characterization in it has been amazing right from the get-go. A commenter said it best: “While I was watching, it felt like I was watching a movie…” Even Tokyo Ghoul, which may devolve itself at some point into a series of shounen-esque battles, is currently jam-packed with visual metaphors. Ah, but look at what I’ve done. I’m talking up other shows in a post about Argevollen.
For the life of me, I can’t tell if Argevollen has anything to say. Two nations are at war, but so what? What do these two nations represent? Moving on, our hero doesn’t have much of a character. I feel like we know nothing about him at all. He’s brash, hot-headed rookie, but that’s about it. After two weeks, we haven’t gotten a single clue about his background, his goals and aims in life, what he believes in, what he’s fighting for, etc. He’s just a warm body to stick into the new-type mecha. We learn this week that Jamie’s an employee of an upstart company. That’s right, an upstart company somehow developed a revolutionary, new-type mecha that is just head and shoulders above what the military is currently using. Other than that, however, Jamie’s personality is a blank slate as well. She’s slightly tsuntsun… well, I’ll be. Ukyo has to make the hard decisions, but he spends most of the episode tight-lipped and staring off into the distance. Jesus Christ, will somebody just do something?
Something that could potentially save Argevollen would be the presence of a strong, compelling villain, but he or she hasn’t shown up either! There are antagonists, but I can’t even tell if they’re bad guys or just antagonists in the strictest sense of the word. It looks like Ingelmia is the aggressor, but… ehhhhh. By the way Arandas’ military generals have been conducting the war, you can hardly say that they’re the good guys either. Unfortunately, this is where we currently stand. Generic mechas, generic characters, and no backstory whatsoever. We’re 0 for 2 in a three-episode smell test, so unless next week’s episode is the anime equivalent of a steak dinner, it’s not looking good for Argevollen. Most shows do not dramatically improve from such a lackluster start. That’s the sad truth, to be quite honest. The anime’s just lackluster. Terrible? I can at least work with that. Take a look at my SAO and Mahouka posts, for instance. Lackluster, on the other hand, gives you nothing.