Back to Back They Faced Each Other…
|Well, this show certainly doesn’t like to break the mold. While I found the first part of the Two Alchemists arc to be different enough from the previous three Tragic Family Background arc, it looks like they put in all the stops to keep this from being all that interesting….|
There was something about Elves….
I got a lollipop tree…you got a LOLipop harem….
I think the story gets some points for having Ikaruga being so upfront about her own identity. It’s clear that the Institute/Academy is opposed to this Alchemist group, yet she’s taken no steps to obscure who she is and where she is; so much that she’s even able to be on speaking terms with them after four years, four years of abandonment it seems. But, it just doesn’t have all that much style or substance beyond that. I’m getting the feeling that a ton was left out in the transition from page to screen. So for all intents, Ikaruga’s connection to a shady organization comes off as bland.
Then we swing back to the day to day platoon activities. As usual, the 35th is down but not out, and as such is in the market for the perfect job to score some much needed points and credits. Here they start to talk about “the border” and I get just the faint whiff of world-building. That would be fine if this episode was in the early days of the series, but with most of the show in the bag, it feels like a poor time to be loading the gun for this reveal. Well, to be more correct, it’s a poor time for this show, as they’ve not done a very good job firing the gun once loaded.
Hey, we share a flashback, it must mean we have a past with each other right?
This hardly even matters as Ikaruga just ups and leaves on personal business; and typically Kusunagi just let’s himself and his command of the group be walked over, not that I really blame him, a turn of the plot is a turn of the plot after all. Seems she’s a clone or something, and in what should be a major turning point for the whole story, we get a rather bland overview, and some internal politicking passing for plot points mixed in. We know that Director Ohtori is not what he seems, but have little reason to care one way or another. As for the hierarchy of Alchemist, it’s just more of the same.
So we have the Lost Matrix Macguffin, something about elves or other magic racial-types and whether or not they can be cloned as the meat of the arc and that they shouldn’t be made into weapons, ’cause bad. It’s pretty lean all things considered. Ikuraga is an almost reaction-less character all things considered, and she’s been shunted to the background for the most part. So I didn’t feel that there was anyone there to carry any of the major emotional points they set up. She got enamored of a fairy tale book, it gave her a nice personality, she didn’t want the little elf baby to be a weapon. Time to box it all up and put a pretty bow on it then call it a story.
…a baby and a book, brilliant background!
As for the second part of the arc, it was sadly more of the same we’ve seen in the previous three. A showdown, Valhalla is interested for Reasons ‘cause why not?, Alchemist is shady for Reasons ‘ cause there’s no reason they shouldn’t be, and the 35th Shoutai saves the day out of pure luck and not much in the way of heavy lifting. After that it was pretty much a pantomime of emotions from Ikuraga as she wasn’t able to save her evil(?) clone sister from….something? Yes, I keep saying, something. After watching both episodes twice I didn’t see much in the way of a full calorie meal to say I really digested much of anything. Which just leaves us with an outline of a show.
Who are you? Am I supposed to be caring?
…some random fanservice….
“I’ve got a great idea for a cliffhanger…how about them not having any sex?”
She was an elf macguffin all along!
…same thing we do every time, Kusunagi…
…half of her burden is just the back part of her head…
As you can tell I’ve gone from being enthusiastic about this show, to feeling rather “meh”. I’ve complained here and there about a few issues that have creep-ed up in previous arcs, and that was mostly to illustrate that with just a few more steps they could have made a better episode. But this arc? Bland. It was pretty abortive from the start. By the time the eighth episode rolls around I should have a solid enough feel for the background, what the stakes are, who is on what side, what they might want to do, and how they feel about all the other characters. Then you pull the rug out, make dogs and cats live together, etc. So far, I got very little on that score. Which is a shame, as all of the pieces have some great potential. I get the feeling that there is much more going on, but by now I should have those feelings met, and maybe even challenged. But the only challenge I feel right now is in continuing. So….let’s see how the beginning of the next arc turns out….