So this episode is a more formal introduction of the characters, while the previous episode showed more what the history of the setting was. Again, it has a lot of ingredients that you see in other anime as well, which mostly centred around Lafiel: she’s a young, cute girl of an exotic race that everyone hates.
But the characterization is done so well!
At first this episode took its time to show how Jinto has grown up after the previous episode, and how he kept his nobility secret from the friends that he grew up with. It already added a lot of depth to the guy by showing him close off his childhood, and his anxieties for his future. He’s already someone with his own identity, and who doesn’t have to rely on cheap stereotypes in order to stand out.
And then Lafiel. I really like how direct her questions are. This episode did an excellent job in showing the cultural differences between the humans and the Abh: Jinto has never met one of the Abh, since they hardly ever bother to show themselves among the humans, and at the same time Lafiel has grown up, never meeting a human. This episode portrayed the Abh as a very direct race: it’s common with them to be to the point, to the point where they’ve developed a culture that’s completely void of human laziness.
And again: Lafiel is not just a caricature of this culture. While this episode showed the general traits of the Abh, Lafiel also had her own personality.
It’s also interesting that this series was produced, right at the time where CG became actually possible to include in anime. You can see that there are no 3D models, but the creators do make use of the smaller stuff, like lighting, shadows and some computer screens. It was before companies got too confident and started to overuse it. Turn A Gundam which was produced around the same time as this series showed this as well: it was mostly CG free, though the eye-catch in the middle of each episode experimented with it.
Rating: ** (Excellent)