Now this was a pleasant surprise, to see such a solid build-up episode from this show. These kinds of episodes are often in danger of just becoming boring for the sake of build-up, but they solved it really neatly with a great atmosphere, a small look into Gracies’ culture, and some good characterization. Plus I also really like how consistently the Russian was used here. The creators really put a lot of detail in this episode.
The characterization also really worked well here. The characters in this show are simple, but the acting for these guys is still quite genuine. Milia in particular stood out. It’s a nice touch that she can speak the language of Gracies (being a princess and all), and I think that this episode also showed off that she grew nicely.
Overall, after 13 episodes I do believe that this show is the worst out of the Range Murata Trilogy (Last Exile, Shangri-La, Ginyoku no Fam). It’s not so simple that one is just better than the others in every way, though. Last Exile had by far the best and most mature characterization. Shangri-La on the other hand had a really great plot that dwarfs the other two. At the same time I believe that Ginyoku no Fam is the best at describing its setting. This episode again showed that (also look at the detail that went into the various Gracien dishes, or how the people live there). The other two though, also had very good settings and to be honest, it does have the least interesting plot and characters of the bunch. Adding these together and it ends up as the worst, but even then I still quite like what this show has turned into. It’s just a series of franchises with a very high standard.
Just one thing… where are the men in Gracies…?
Rating: ** (Excellent)