“So we meet again, Bat-kun… er, I guess you’re a gull now. Congrats?”
— If there were still any lingering doubts that Lemrina is yet another wheelchair-bound shoujo in a mecha anime, let this episode assure you that mecha anime is hilariously cliche as hell. Seriously, who decided that this had to be a thing? Some cliches appear over and over, because, well, we enjoy them. Who doesn’t get pumped up when a character delivers a big speech that inspires his or her team to victory? Who doesn’t smile when the underdog succeeds against all odds? So that’s what I don’t understand. What is remotely enjoyable about seeing an imouto trapped in a wheelchair? Like what sort of fancy does that even tickle? Her helpless moeness? Actually, on second thought, I don’t even want to know…
— The first cour wasn’t entirely without its merits. Uh, the animation was good. And oh yeah, the soundtrack was pretty decent. Well, we get to see the new OP in this week’s episode, and it leaves me feeling pretty flat. Plus, it has the audacity to include this shot.
— Thinking about it, the story could’ve taken Inaho’s injuries even further. Like maybe he’s lost a few limbs or something, and as such, he’s now more machine than man. This thus serves as an ironic contrast to how he’s less autistic now than before. Somehow, becoming more of a robot on the outside makes him less of a robot on the inside. It takes losing his human shell for Inaho to really appreciate what it really means to be human.
— We’re skipping ahead a bit, but at a later point in the episode, Inaho reveals that his robotic eye hurts terribly. He could take pain relievers, but that comes with a significant drawback: the neural link is less sensitive or whatever. I take it that medicating himself will reduce the strength and efficiency of his one cybernetic part. Again, the story could’ve taken this a lot further. Supposing that Inaho had been greatly injured, he would thus be fitted with a lot of cybernetic parts. This makes him superhuman in more ways than one, thereby actually justifying his Gary Stu-ness. But of course, his new condition comes at a certain cost: the pain is too great. In some sense, he can actually feel. He doesn’t feel deadened on the inside, and this allows him to actually connect with others and make friends. But in order for Inaho to operate at 100%, he needs to subject his mind to great anguish… and maybe this will slowly drive him mad. In that sense, to be human is to be mad.
One can attempt to feel and understand all of the feelings in the world, but not for long. And in this way, perhaps Inaho acted robotic and cold in the first cour as a defense mechanism. He’s a kid caught up in a war, after all. You can just ask Koichirou what war can inflict upon a grown man’s mind, so how is a kid supposed to cope? Well, it’s easy when you try to approach it the same way that Inaho did. So to take stock, what would happen now is that Inaho finally opens up to others, and can finally connect with others… but at the same time, he feels great pain, and that pain serves as a metaphor for how human nature is inherently unstable, blah blah blah. Nevertheless, he doesn’t take his medication, because he wants to save Asseylum at all costs, because he loves her, love dooms him, blah blah blah. I’m not saying it’s the most original story, but it’s a potentially interesting path that the anime could have taken.
— Alright, I’ve gone off topic enough. We next see Asseylum sitting in a chair, talking to her grandfather. Of course, because she’s sitting in a chair, we know it’s not Asseylum. One can’t help but wonder why this same fact doesn’t seem to arouse her grandfather’s suspicions even just a teensy, tiny amount. I don’t expect him to sniff out Lemrina’s treachery, but c’mon… is a small doubt too much to ask? Plus, the whole moment seems strange to me. He finally gets to see his granddaughter, whom he thought was dead, but they meet each other in this giant, empty, impersonal throne room? Why? The sad thing is, we see Saazbaum talk to the old man later in the episode, and the count gets to be closer than the princess himself! Sure, sure, the ailing emperor doesn’t want his granddaughter to see that he is bedridden, but if he can sit there in his throne, they can also, well, sit in some other, more personal place. Anyway…
— Hah, you guys don’t even know the half of it.
— Here, you see Inaho busy analyzing Asseylum’s speech, because he’s certain that she’s not who she says she is. Inko drops by to visit her friend (and crush), and she marvels at how his cybernetic eye looks just like an ordinary eye. That’s the problem, really. Not only did Inaho suffer nothing more than an injury to one of his eyes, it doesn’t even leave a scar or anything. He looks the same as before. What this boils down to is, again, anime’s fear of ugliness. Imagine if this show wasn’t about kids. Imagine if Inaho started out as a green young man in his twenties, but he eventually becomes a battle-weary veteran with scars all over him. This would actually convey the fact that, well, war is terrible. But nah, we’re gotta be hot, perfect-looking teenagers all the time. Nothing ever truly hurts, and that’s why our hero can just shrug off the fact that he needs to take any sort of pain-relieving medication. I mean, Inaho doesn’t have to be Berserk‘s Guts, but c’mon.
— Plus, it doesn’t seem as though Inaho has changed all that much. He uses his fancy new eye to ask Inko whether or not he has gained weight. Rayet shows up just to call Inaho an idiot. That’s really all that she contributes in this week’s episode.
— We return to Slaine and the ever-annoying Eddy, and the former has the gall to wonder if it would make Asseylum sad if she knew that he intends to attack the Deucalion. Dude, you’re invading Earth and killing billions of people, and you’re wondering what the peacenik Asseylum would think about attacking the Deucalion? Give me a break.
— Outside the room, Lemrina is listening in on the whole thing. We then get to see her do a U-turn on her wheelchair, and I can’t help but wonder why this was even included. All you had to do was to show Lemrina looking sad, then proceed to the next scene.
— Saazbaum and Slaine then discuss what it would mean for the Vers Empire to conquer Earth. The red planet is gripped with massive class disparities, so Slaine suspects that all of Earth’s wealth would just go to the rich and powerful anyway. For a moment, Saazbaum embodies the revolutionary spirit, and proclaims that change will come when it is all said and done. Uh-huh. We’ll see.
— As Slaine readies himself for battle, he finds that his Tharsis has been deactivated. Obviously, there’s only one person on the ship who can do such a thing. When he confronts Lemrina, she counters with the fact that he’s just using her for Aldnoah-activating abilities. Take notes, kids.
Simply reveal to the girl that you, too, have scars of your own, and she’ll quickly fall in love with you. Lemrina quickly changes her mind and quickly kisses Slaine on the lips, thereby giving him the power to pilot Tharsis at least this one time. With that, our love polygon continues to take shape. As Slaine leaves, we see Lemrina in Asseylum’s room, swearing that she’ll steal anything and everything that once belonged to her older sister. Yo, let me introduce you to this guy over here by the name of Inaho…
— Lemrina says this as though you’re supposed to stop loving someone just because they’re in a coma…
— They look like such awkward kids. Yeah, yeah, they are kids, but that’s the problem. Slaine commands no presence whatsoever in his standing pose, and yet he’s the hero on the Vers side of the conflict.
— Anyway, the good guys and the bad guys are about to throw down, but Darzana seems confident enough: “But considering that it’ll be a first for the enemy, too, it’s probably nothing to be scared about.” I don’t get this at all. Did the Orbital Knights use to fight each other in the remnants of the destroyed Moon for a long time before this series even started? And even if it is somehow the enemy’s first time at a space battle of “this scale,” whatever that scale is, they still have superior technology to the United Forces of Earth.
— Plus, the lady continues to be a broken record about Kaoru’s inability to land a man. Is this supposed to be funny?
— There’s a lot about Inaho’s character to quibble with, but I actually like the fact that he continues to pilot that dinky training mecha. The hero always gets to helm some slick-looking machine that is designed to sell toys and anime-related merchandise, but Inaho sticks with his orange clunker. Maybe someone out there thinks that his mecha looks cool anyway, but not me.
— It feels like the CGi is looking even more plastic than before, but maybe that’s just my impression.
— So the battle ensues, but you know how it goes. As we see Rayet take a couple shots and miss terribly, the other characters are only there to be useless. It’s, uh, the complicated space winds interfering with them or something. That’s when Inaho finally shows up and destroys the enemy’s squad all by himself!
— Eventually, Slaine finally has to step in and put a halt to Inaho’s onslaught. This is the one guy that our Gary Stu can’t kill, because the Vers knight has some sort of pre-cog ability. So as you can see, Inaho isn’t really missing. His enemy is just cheating!
— Anyway, the two boys finally learn the other person’s name, and with that, the episode comes to an end. Meh.
— Also, Koichirou continues to be conspicuously absent from the second cour. What is up with that? The same thing can be said about his doctor friend. That particular arc has come to a screeching halt. Plus, Yuki hasn’t really been around either…