I finally realized the major flaw of Good Witch of the West: it doesn’t give enough time to let the viewer familiarize himself with the world it created. That’s the cause of all that’s bad in Good Witch, as the viewer doesn’t have the chance to live with the story if he or she hasn’t been introduced in it. That’s the toll that has to be paid when you take a series like that and try to stuff it into thirteen episodes. It would really have been better if that series lasted for two seasons, instead of one.
The fifth episode of Simoun really made me realize this. After all, both series started out with a lot of questions about the world in which the story took place. Simoun’s was even fuzzier than Good Witch of the West’s. Then, however, while Good Witch kept spurting forwards, Simoun grabbed the brakes after the first episode, and has been using episodes 2 to 5 to explain the way the world works, to let the viewer get familiarized with the characters and offer some character development. I really have to say that the system of this anime makes a lot more sense than it did when I started this system.
I also rewatched the first episode, and this also refreshed a lot of my memory. It’s like this, we have several Chors, or groups of Simoun Pilots, otherwise known as Simoun Sybulla. These Chors consist of a number of girls, who work together in order to protect the Imperial Nation (I thought that that was the name of that country, though I’m not sure, sorry). The Simoun don’t attack with bullets or missiles, they attack by drawing patterns in the sky with their Simouns, called Ri Maajons. These then take a few seconds, after which they explode, blowing every enemy away who gets too close. There are a lot of different Ri Maajon, including a huge number which hasn’t been discovered yet. The Ri Maajons range from very easy ones, to very difficult ones, depending on the pattern that has to be flown. There are Ri Maajons who can be performed alone and there are those who need more Simouns in order to perform them. When I saw this in the first episode, I didn’t really like it. Though now that I’ve seen more of it, I realize that this is a brilliant system, and I even want to see more of it.
The Chor Tempest was seen as the most elite of the Chors. It was lead by the most talented Simoun Sibulla ever, Neville. Unfortunately, the first episode changed this, when Neville’s partner was taken by god because of a very powerful Ri Maajon which went wrong, Neville has since then been refusing to patrol, two others were killed and two more went to the spring, deciding which gender they should be. This immediately put a halt to the legend that the Chor Tempest had set.
Anyway, about the episode. It was mostly focused around Limone. She’s a prodigy, and the youngest person ever to be a member of a Chor. At the previous episode, she experienced some pretty horrible things, though the problems didn’t end there. Her case is familiar to Nevilles, though slightly different. In Neville’s case, it was her partner who wanted to become stronger. In Limone’s case, it was Limone herself who wanted to try a Ri Maajon she wasn’t able to do. This resulted an accident, killing her partner, who had warned her that she’d be acting too dangerous. Ever since then, she’s been unconciously holding back while flying in a Simoun.
Then over time, she started to listen more and more to people. She only did things because people told her to do so. During this episode, a new member gets assigned to the Chor Tempest, I believe her name was Dominura. In the first episode, her entire Chor was killed off, leaving her as the sole survivor. She now gets reassigned, in order to bring the Chor Tempest back to the position it once had. She decides to do this by trying to improve the weakest link: Limone (she hasn’t been doing too well, lately, as she’s been holding back). The yellow-haired girl (Furoe) made some nasty remarks about this. Dominura looks quite like an evil character in the beginning, though her actions later in the episode made me doubt about this.
Aaeru’s personality surprised me again this episode. She’s just so incredibly to-the-point. Limone, as she’s getting pressured from all possible sides, asks Aaeru whether she’d mind it if the two of them were separated as a pair. Though Aaeru comes with the true statement that if Limone decided so, that she wouldn’t mind. Everyone has a reason to fly in the Simoun. Aaeru does it because she can’t decide whether to become male or female. Apparently, there’s a law which says that when you reach nineteen, you immediately have to go to the spring, though you’re excluded from this if you’re a Simoun Sybulla. If Limone had no reason at all to fly the Simoun, there’d be no problem is she left.
Anyway, Dominura decides to test Limone by putting her in the pilot’s seat, instead of the navigator’s seat. I’m assuming that ever since that incident in her past, Limone’s been refusing to drive as a pilot. And it shows, as her Simoun really can’t fly straight at all. In any case, there’ve been some rumours about some enemy activity, so two Simouns get sent out to check up on them. It appears to be a large number of enemy land tanks. Dominura’s plan was to use this as an opportunity to get Limone out of her depression, though her plan fails as a blizzard is coming up.
What follows are some very intense, but also very awesome scenes, in which the calm Dominura panics, Limone finds her reason why she wanted to be a Simoun Pilot and she performs, along with Aaeru in another Simoun, one of the more difficult Ri Maajon out there. The one she failed at in the past, which killed her pair. Especially seeing Dominura freak out worked extremely well, as it immediately destroyed the calm, evil image I had of her, which was created by the first half of the episode.
Still, I wonder where this anime is heading. It hasn’t even begun with dealing about all the ethical questions that might be induced. After all, the imperial nation is in a war at the moment, and clearly has the upper hand. The Simoun can instantly kill off entire armies. The Archipelago also really needs the Simoun technology in order to survive and live a better life, though the imperial nation has no intention of giving them the information they need, and keeps sending Simoun to kill off the armies from the Archipelago. What reasons do the characters use to justify this? We’re holy and you’re not, therefore we can use the technology, and you can’t. This gives so much material for the later episodes.
Overall, I liked this episode. It was nice to see Limone struggle like that, and some interesting character background never hurts. Neville still isn’t doing much, though I don’t think that this’ll last for the entire series. The episode wasn’t as good as the previous ones, though I did enjoy it. And the music really is awesome at times.
On a side-note: what exactly are those wire-speaker-thingies that connect the Simoun with each other? Are they just for communication between Simouns, or do they have another purpose?