Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s going as I hoped: this episode started the finale, which is both at the same time hard-hitting, yet stays true to the main cast. The drama in this episode was powerful, and instead of moving the main cast to the conflict, it moved the conflict to the main cast (makes sense, trying to hit an outpost rather than a well defended city). The war is about to begin, and yet this series did not forget that it’s also a slice of life series, and saved a good number of minutes, just for that purpose.
The only thing about this episode that was questionable… was Noel. I mean, it’s a bit late to suddenly reveal that she used to be a genius young scientist; my suspense of disbelief was about to break when that revelation suddenly came from out of nowhere. I mean, a princess is one thing, but a genius young girl who saves the war with her own inventions is on a whole new level.
Thankfully the rest of this episode was awesome enough to make this insignificant. There was plenty of character-development now that Rio is gone, the animation was as imaginative as always, and I loved how this episode showed that both Helvetians and Romans can be quite nice people when they’re not trying to kill each other.
And the creators actually thought of language boundaries. The Roman people actually spoke German. And it’s not like we heard one word or something, no. This woman uttered entire monologues in German; the creators cut no corners in making her ramblings believable. And I must say, Japanized German sounds surprisingly good. The European languages all sound very different when the Japanese try to speak them. Their Dutch is fairly good, mainly because a lot of our vowels sound similar (for an example of that I direct you to a certain episode of Samurai Champloo). German also survives fairly well, as this episode showed. English is a bit different, as it often gets raped by voice actors who have no idea about their pronunciation. By far the worst I’ve heard, however, is French. Seriously, whenever the Japanese try to say it, it’s not French anymore. Its just become gibberish.
In any case: that finale. Right now it’s very tempting for the creators to Deus ex Machina that enemy army away with that priestess legend from the first episode. With all of the build-up of this series, a lot depends on that final episode: bring those themes together! Get the best conclusion out of those characters! Do something unexpected that lifts this series to a higher level, yet doesn’t derail it!
Rating: ** (Excellent)