I’ve spent the last couple of weeks thinking about how to redo the format for these weekly posts. Since comments have been non-existent (bar a spammer insisting on linking to some site I’ve never heard of), this has been a hard thing to do. So I think I’m just going to go for a favorite episode of the week. I’ll continue with an overall season ranking which will go in a section at the end. This week it was the fourth episode of ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト.
This week’s episode begins with Noel working on the Takemikazuchi as Kanata continues to struggle with her instrument. There is a problem with configuring one of the lenses in the sniper system, so she needs to obtain a new one. Since the Takemikazuchi isn’t in working shape, why would that system be relevant at the moment? The two prepare to go into town together, and Rio runs through a list of items Kanata needs to have with her. When the items get less serious, guns and grenades, then the mood is lightened a bit. Noel is told to drive safely by Phylicia and they head into town.
They pass a couple of landmarks on the way and Kanata wonders what they are. Noel immediately tells her what they are as they stop at the antiques store Kanata was staring into in the first episode. The owner, Naomi, gives Noel some old parts and money before Kanata starts asking about some of the figurines. One featuring a dolphin is of particular interest to her, and Noel tells the two of them that it was something that existed before life in the seas died. Naomi tells her that they are made in a glass factory on the outside of town, which happens to be where Kanata and Noel are heading later.
Kanata and Noel pick up some more supplies in town while they talk about the latter’s aptitude with machines. Noel says it’s because machines don’t betray people. As they are putting the supplies into their vehicle, a young boy named Seiya runs into Noel while a young girl and Yumina apologize. Noel tries to help Seiya up, but he slaps her hand away and says he hates all soldiers and runs off while complaining about Kanata’s trumpet playing. Yumina explains that he is a war orphan, but Noel seems to sadly accept it.
The two resume their journey to the glass factory as it begins to rain. Kanata verbally reaffirms her commitment to the military as Noel silently continues to drive. They get to the factory and Noel gets to talking business with the factory boss, Carl. Kanata is amazed at the glass work in progress and knocks something over. This does not phase Carl at all, and one of the workers, Maria, begins to talk to Kanata about Carl’s history. He is a famous craftsman and is one of five people in the nation with the title Meister. Carl interjects to say that he does not really deserve that title. Kanata is then brought into Noel’s conversation and she explains what is needed to make the repairs and the difficulty in designing a lens to replicate the original. The technology of the past in creating such a lens amazes even Carl.
Later, Noel and Kanata have another conversation about glass making and the Takemikazuchi. Noel says she likes machines, but she asks if the thought that the Takemikazuchi was used in the past to kill people frightens Kanata. She replies that the person in control matters more than the machine itself, which can be used for good. She says it is similar to her experience playing the horn and that Rio can make it sound good while she struggles with the same equipment. She then tells Noel that Rio got the Takemikazuchi to play a nice song and she is sure it is a good tank. Noel then falls asleep from exhaustion on Kanata’s shoulder.
Carl walks over and hands Kanata a blanket to put on Noel before another conversation breaks out. Maria asks if Naomi said anything at the shop earlier, and Kanata says that Naomi said Carl was a romantic. Carl orders Maria back to work, but the conversation continues. The conversation eventually turns to Kanata’s struggles to play the trumpet. She says she’s no good even though she has practiced to the point where her lips are swollen, so she thinks she has no talent. Carl hears this and says that is an excuse used by people who do not want to get any better. He then shows her how he blows glass and he says it takes the shape it wants to take and he cannot force the glass to take a different form. Kanata gets the message and runs outside to play the trumpet, and she is suddenly competent. Carl hears this and calls Kanata a craftsman in her own right just like Noel.
The two head back into town with Noel realizing that she can use Kanata’s talents to help her with the lens situation since she has a good ear for pitches. They get back to base, and Phylicia comments on how different Noel is since Kanata arrived. Rio doesn’t quite see the difference, though. Noel, Kanata and Kureha get into the Takemikazuchi to see if it now works. The test is successful and Kanata hugs Noel in celebration, Kureha noticed Noel smiling and says she has never seen her do so before.
Some things to note from this episode. There is something that Noel and Naomi knew that Kanata was not in on, she will eventually come to learn some horrifying secret in all likelihood. The seas being dead is another fact that can be tacked onto the list of things that happened in the this slice-of-life portrayal of apocalyptic life in a now Swiss-influenced Japan.
Episode Score: 88/100
Other Episodes This Week
Durarara!! gets bonus points for someone getting punched out of their clothes, but Mikado’s inability to finish cost him at the death. All everyone seems to say about Ookami Kakushi is that the yaoi is strong in this one. I’ll go with that until Issei is eventually killed off. Hanamaru Kindergarden also had it’s share of horrible finishing, and everyone knows about the key relationship but the one at the center. Ladies versus Butlers tacked on yet another controversial subject that has come up this season with a plot revolving a female student from an unnamed Middle Eastern country trying to make an end run at getting married to Akiharu. While Kimi ni Todoke was just a recap episode.
Winter 2010 Ranking So Far
- Ladies versus Butlers!
- Ookami Kakushi
- Hanamaru Kindergarden
- Dance in the Vampire Bund
- Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu – Dropped Episode 2
- Chu-Bra – Dropped Episode 1
- Omamori Himari – Dropped Episode 1
- Seikon no Qwaser – Dropped Episode 1