Bring a gun to a sword fight! Saito knows all’s fair in love and war!
|Last time, we left off with Louise held prisoner on an airship with Joseph and Sheffield, about to be used for something horrific. And with Gallian airships approaching Aquileia, a war was about to break out. How will Saito save the day so he can get his daily beatings from Louise? Let’s find out!|
The King wastes no time putting his plan into motion. Apparently, with Sheffield’s power as Joseph’s familiar and the Founder’s Round Mirror, she can transfer Louise’s Explosion magic to Joseph. Combine that with those fire magic marbles that he procured last episode – 3 of them – and things start going boom.
Excellent cinematography in this episode. Loved the camera angles.
Meanwhile at the church in Aquileia, our less captured heros watch as Gallia’s ships come towards them, and gigantic explosions go off in the night sky. Somehow knowing that Louise is trapped in one of the ships (how’d he know that? And how’d he know which ship was the right one?), Saito has Tabitha give him a ride on her dragon towards them – though not before Julio hands him a, shall we call it a Chekov’s Gun – even as the Romalian forces retreat after seeing such a display of power.
Good thing too, because Louise was about to need him pretty badly. Joseph does some standard villain monologuing, which reveals that he’s a psychopath who wants to find out how horrible an action he’ll have to commit before he starts feeling bad. Oh, and he excuses it on always being in the shadow of his younger brother. Louise manages to cut the rope tying her hands using a piece of the broken windows, and grabs the last, biggest marble and hops off the ship. All for naught, as a gargoyle flies down to retrieve the marble. But our heroine can’t die just yet, so Saito comes just in time to catch her during her fall.
This is a vault I’ve never seen anyone do, though I’m sure it’s possible. In parkour terms, it’d be called a one-handed Kong vault. For someone of Louise’s stature to do it over such a high obstacle is truly impressive.
No time to relax, as Joseph is getting ready to set off the largest explosion, this time right over Aquileia. Saito lands on his ship while Tabitha and Louise chase the gargoyle holding the last marble. Saito is delayed by Sheffield and her summoned gargoyles, but he gains the upper hand by taking out a…
Didn’t see that one coming, did you?
Semi-automatic pistol and capping Sheffield in the leg. Don’t ask me where Julio got it from, but he handed it to Saito back at Aqualies. Also don’t ask me why he didn’t just pull an Indiana Jones on Sheffield at the beginning. He gets to Joseph, whose Void power is apparently super speed, which means that shooting him is like shooting an Agent in The Matrix. Saito gets stabbed and is about to get shot, when Louise explodes the whole room and Tabitha peppers Joseph with icicles, having returned with the last marble which they took with the help of Tiffa’s memory loss magic.
Tabitha considers killing Joseph for what he did to her parents, but decides to let him be captured, which gives Sheffield the chance to knock her down and take the marble away from her. Knowing that Joseph is dying, she uses the threat of explosion to force everyone else off the ship. As Saito, Louise, and Tabitha fly away, they see the final explosion go off, taking out the ship and (presumably) Joseph and Sheffield.
Cool dragons don’t look at explosions.
Back in the church, everyone is saved but all is not well, as Saito suspects that this was all part of the Pope’s plan. He asks him point blank despite Louise’s protests, and Vittorio is respectful enough to respond frankly, that he was indeed hoping to provoke Joseph in order to justify a war against Gallia, though he denies that he had planned on Louise getting in harm’s way. Saito is understandably pissed off, but he doesn’t have time to mope as he’s greeted with a hero’s welcome upon going back into the city. Oh, and Tiffa is still
having dirty thoughts about Saito wondering about Saito being her familiar.
Always nice to be appreciated for a job well done.
Zero no Tsukaima F is BASICALLY Cowboy Bebop in a medieval fantasy setting.
With most anime I watch, I complain that the pace is too slow. Most shows give me the sense that the scenes aren’t put together efficiently, that the director is spending more time than necessary dilly dallying around. Zero no Tsukaima F is suffering from the opposite problem, where it is moving so quickly that the scenes almost feel like they were forcibly crammed in, not leaving enough room to breathe. I’d say it’s a better problem to have than the opposite, but it is still a bit jarring to realize that this 1st story arc is already over after barely getting started. Seriously, it took all of one episode to save Louise and prevent what was sure to be a war. Most importantly, it means less time for harem antics!
On the positive side, the story covered has been exciting for the most part. It’s not going to win any awards for originality, but it served its purpose as a fantasy thriller. Where it faltered most was with Joseph’s character, as he came off as a simple evil baddie with a chip on his shoulder. I like it better when my villains don’t just come out and say, “I’m evil. I want to kill just to feel.” This also took away any possible emotional impact of his and Sheffield’s death; no way to care about such undeveloped, unsympathetic characters. Also, I was really hoping that Tabitha would kill Joseph. Seemed like exactly the kind of thing that one wouldn’t expect from this franchise. Unfortunately, they decided to play it safe with that one, not letting her dirty her hands.
I’ll admit to having enjoyed the more action-oriented bits. Those explosions weren’t shown that well – nothing to help provide scale – but based on characters’ reactions, I get the sense that they were supposed to be orders of magnitude more powerful than what they were used to, effectively nukes in this less technologically developed world, and I liked the characters’ awe at such a display of power. And on that note, how about the piece that Saito was carrying? I did not see that one coming. I mean, if a gun, I would’ve thought an old fashioned Luger or revolver at the best, but no, that thing is a fairly modern semi-automatic pistol, full with the “clicks” and “clacks” that guns in movies make. I wish it hadn’t been caught in the explosion. Didn’t Saito see the value in such a weapon in this world? Instant win for any duel. At least, as long as your opponent can’t move faster than you can see. And the only person like that we know of is dead. I also really liked seeing Louise take action to escape on her own, though she didn’t exactly think her plan through. Still, it takes major guts (and idiocy) to just hop out of an airship like that with no hesitation. And while her vault over the guard rail was hardly orthodox, she displayed a lot of physical strength and skill in doing that, and she would’ve stuck the landing had there been something to land on on the other side. So props to her for that.
Maybe we’ll get a breather next episode. I could certainly use one after all the action in the first 3 episodes. While it’s taken 3 episodes for Koyomi to… talk to/molest 6 girls for a day, Saito has already gone to another country, gotten into several fights, saved his girlfriend, got sucked into an international political conspiracy, AND stopped a war.
I thought about putting the yuri shot of that blonde with Kirche, but I like this faraway shot of our two protagonists in bed together better. Hope for lots of love next episode!