Now things finally pick up. As the show enters the second half, things get dramatic, we see politics come into play and some proper war strategy going on. Do things heat up between Fromm and Dio or Aoba? What about Hina? A bit more than usual happened in BC 07 compared to the pace the show was going at in the first half so hopefully this spells a meatier punch to this show because it really does have the potential for it.
The show starts off with a flashback to Lake Louis Special Training School where Fromm met Dio for the first time as 2 of the younger coupling pilots. Dio volunteered to be there for the top-secret and challenging training, no doubt because he felt guilty over what happened to the bombed Oomura base where he lost his mother and his sister Fiora lost the use of her legs. Fromm reached out to him but even from then, Dio’s never been the sociable type of guy who hangs around making friends – he’s the typical dark, brooding type of anime protagonist.
Professor Elvira (Satou Rina) who was at Lake Louis and is now the research head on Cygnus, dissects the situation facing our 3 coupler pilots. The reason Dio and Fromm couldn’t couple up (the expression tickles me every time I use it, I can’t help it!) was because Dio’s emphater brain waves have changed, for the worse. Every time he coupled with Aoba, his waves deviate further from the standard (96% match) required to pilot the buddy system. Fromm’s has already suffered after just one coupling – 80%. Dio’s at 60% now whereas mystery man from the past Aoba is at 100% in spite of having undergone no training whatsoever. And precisely because Dio’s been coupling with perfect score Aoba, the coupling’s still successful although Elvira’s guess is that because Aoba’s a complete newbie without any training, his perfect form allows a wide margin to exist when Buddying up. The implication is that whoever couples with double-edge sword Aoba risks deviating further away from the standard which means having to only couple up Aoba forever more… sounds like marriage?
So it boils down to Fromm and Dio having to choose whom amongst the 2 of them gets to be a couple with Aoba from now on. Ok taken out of context that last sentence would sound strange wouldn’t it? Fromm’s visibly upset at no longer being able to couple up with Dio. Aww… but ever the gentleman, he walks away from being the third party between him and Aoba, deciding to keep his hard-earned training and letting the main couple stay devoted to each other. Speaking of training, it seems the flawed Buddy system used to train pilots forcibly to become compatible with one another! The extent people will go to in war…
As predicted in the previous episode, there is tension in the Zogilian side between Lieutenant Colonel Alfried of the National Army and Chief of the 1st airborne division Dolzief of the Imperial Army. With the Imperial Army propaganda video hitting screens in Zogilia (as correspondingly, the Alliance’s buddy system PV airs), Alfried not only learns how the buddy system sort of works (thanks to that PV) but gets a new toy in the form of the Vajra – Zogilia’s new-type heavy battle cruiser airship, as a reward for a job well done in taking over the Chitose base no less. The Cygnus had been playing hide and seek with Dolzief’s Gae Bolg airship by cruising low and lying amongst islands, using electronic jammers to neutralise the search electronic waves emitted from the Gae Bolg but is quickly discovered by the Vajra. Instead of engaging immediately much to the chagrin of Hina, who wants to clear her name very very badly, Alfried informs Dolzief so the latter can expectedly take credit for capturing the buddy system valiancers.
To Dolzief’s credit, he does come up with keen air battle strategies though it’s also because as part of the Imperial army, he has more resources to play with. 10 valiancers on his end to capture 2 of the Alliance’s by creeping up from behind – well-played Dolzief. Except this does force our couple to use Code T2 Rise to completely obliterate the Imperial army force. Alas Dolzief (and Tsuchida Hiroshi) it was short-lived but I’ve enjoyed the entertainment you brought these last 2 episodes. No one’s happier to see Dolzief gone than Alfried (call me a fangirl whatever I love it when Morikawa-sama voices a smirk).
That’s not to say the Alliance hasn’t got any strategy up their sleeve. As we see this episode, Cygnus Captain Gengo Kuramitsu (delicious Hayami Sho) is quite the strategist himself in spite of being so laid-back, having commanded 6 ships before the Cygnus and not sinking a single one of them. Both he and Alfried have one thing in common – they don’t let pride get the better of their roles as leader of their respective armies. Instead of following up on Dolzief’s failed mission, Alfried chooses to retreat for their real mission (which I can’t wait to see unveiled next episode hopefully). Instead of engaging Alfried’s minions, Gengo chooses to retreat into the 60 mph storm to wait things out. Unfortunately, a rather desperate Hina ignores the retreat and stubbornly engages with Aoba who just as stubbornly, refuses to properly fight it out with Hina because she’s Hina! Cue the beginning of the ED, which plays just as Hina and Aoba get embroiled in the storm, falling to their fate together. That was a beautiful sequence and musical lead-up!
The quality of visuals from the buddy system valiancers continues to be consistently good especially with the Code T2 Rise sequence. For the first time, I’ve noticed the epic music during the ongoing battle – kudos to Katou Tatsuya (who did a brilliant job with the Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere OST and Free! summer party OST). For the first time, BC seems to live up to its true potential as an anime for keeps – the plot paced along steadily, the music served to heighten the show’s themes, the politicking and strategy playing and the consistent visuals all leave me much more satisfied than I’ve ever been with BC. With things finally moving on with Hina, I’m positive the show can only get better from here!