The Night of the Storm 「嵐の夜」
Not much happened this week. We know from the previous episode that Aoba and Hina fell together (accompanied by Dio’s dramatic cry for Aobaaaaa~) so this week we got the much needed character development to move things along for these 2. Was it a great episode? No, but it was a good enough one to ensure that the second half of Buddy Complex outshines the first 6 episodes so hopefully we’re right on track to a good ending for Sunrise’s mecha offering in Winter 2014.
My main takeaways from this episode: Aoba is truly not cut out to be a soldier; Hina’s not as irritating (i.e. whiny, useless, stereotyped female anime character) as most mecha female leads usually are and that a survivor pack actually includes a shovel.
Usually, when stuck in a rut with an enemy (literally as they got caved in), you wouldn’t let your guard down and offer to help said enemy. This being anime world, the main male protagonist would of course be uber kind and helplessly helpful towards others (Haruto in Kakumeiki being a most recent example). Therein lies the reason why Aoba’s not cut out to be a soldier. Admittedly the guy’s only labelled one because of protocol but common sense (especially if you watch enough tv) tells you to be wary of others, especially a known enemy. But it’s also testament to how much Aoba wants to
connect (oops, no that’s exclusively for Dio) touch base with Hina. He thinks she has the answer to all his questions/worries/concerns about time-travelling and ending up 70 years in the future in the middle of a war. He forgot that the Hina he knows has faded into the time warp (as anime common sense will tell you, a person can only exist singularly at any particular time) and imagines the equally-stranded Hina as the sweet, crush-worthy classmate he picked up an eraser for back before all valiancer-causing hell broke loose. But she’s not.
I like this Hina. She’s spunky and has a backbone for herself. Her father’s a military man and she herself went through years of cadet school (with Bizon, which explains his still-in-containment-mode-infatuation for her) so she’s through and through a soldier. That explains why she’s so eager to clear her name – maybe she’s aiming for a military career like her father’s. She obviously has no idea what Aoba’s talking about but when overly friendly Aoba looks out for her, helps and rescues her and lets her go instead of taking her hostage, Hina visibly softens slightly and lets her guard down towards him – the start of what probably led to the eventual defection. Knowing this is Sunrise and shounen mecha, I’m gonna predict that it’s precisely because of Aoba’s graciousness that Hina sees for herself the meaningless of the war (i.e. it’s all political) and so in order to stop/end it, she travels back in time to get Aoba.
In terms of peripheral but also important war & politics story lines, hats off to the Cygnus Commander for being so composed (part and parcel of his personality) after losing Aoba and being able to predict that Dio would go against orders to look for him. I love them laid-back-chillaxed-but-have-everything-under-control characters. Zolgief Lieutenant Colonel Alfried proves a force not to be reckoned with. He knows how the mind and heart works and he will work them to his favour – the ultimate political player. It’s obvious that Chief Dolzief is dead but Alfried allows Captain Margaret O’Keefe (Uchiyama Yumi) to wring his team into looking for him because he knows that’s the only way they can go look for Hina.
What I’d like to know most this episode is – how did they fit a shovel into that survivor pack?! And why would Dio go against orders when he’s such a stickler for military rules? Has connecting with Aoba and thus sharing body, heart and soul (synapses… what were you thinking? :p) changed him? Softened him? And can Alliance fellow pilots Conrad Lee (Sugita Tomokazu) and Duran Jarl (Yoshino Hiroyuki) please get more air-time??