I do not know who animated this episode, but whoever they are, they surely rocked. Take a look at the huge frame-rate of some of the scenes in this episode. I never really considered A-1 Pictures as a top-notch animation studio, mostly because they produced a number of series that I really wanted to like… but couldn’t (Fiary Tail, Kannagi, Persona and Valkyria Chronicles… hmm, they should stay away from video game adaptations…). But really: after Birdy the Mighty and series like this, who am I kidding? These guys rock in terms of graphics and powerful animation.
This episode was very interesting. On the surface, it was perhaps a bit of a standard set of two adventures, but there were many subtle details thrown into it that made it into a very touching and enjoyable episode. Basically, Kanata spends time away from the other four main characters. In the first half, we follow these four. In the second half, we follow Kanata. Some events that happen in the first half can only be explained if you know what happened with Kanata. Nice touch.
regarding the setting: Vingt. This episode was all about showing that, while war might be bad, it’s not the only thing that is. That monster who killed a bunch of people in City number 20: who was it? Where did it come from? And where is it now? Also, the financial issues of the corps: to think that they were secretly and illegally distilling wine. That takes about care of their predictable and generic stereotypes, doesn’t it? It does make me wonder: can you really recognize whether a character is stereotypical or not, right from the first one or two episodes? I still believe that it’s possible. It’s series like this that remind me instead of trying to spot stereotypes in first episodes, you should try to spot what makes characters move away from these stereotypes. Even the slightest hints could promise something interesting for the future.
This episode was also a great tease. I mean, we all know from the director what he has done in the past. We know that he can write these disturbing scenes and he he has gone for something completely different with this series. Right at the point at which the series seems to take a darker twist, it all turns out to have been an act that fully makes sense within the setting of this series.
Rating: ** (Excellent)