Episode Review: Trails of Cold Steel – Northern War ep 11

Eiyuu no Tanjou
After Lavi found her determination last episode, she and Iseria set off towards the capital. But while those two are on foot, the Empire is on their giant Soldats and heading towards North Ambria. Rogan and his leading principles are cutting him close to anything and the Ambrian people are both oppressed and anxious. Makes sense when a mighty Empire several times their sizes is heading to annex them.

Even though we’ve seen some pretty impressive Jeagers, the anime is doing their damnedest to make sure they look like inexperienced mercs – especially Rogan’s goons. Those guys are yes-men that are both lacking in skills as well as wisdom. They didn’t even detect that something’s wrong with the Archaisms, and they have to rely on a bounded Lavi to get their asses out of danger. The whole squad would have been Swiss cheese if the Lavi didn’t act out of her kindness and absurd skills. And then they wasted it all by literally drinking from the most suspicious water sources in town after almost getting killed by their own gimmicks.

Honestly, even with the Jaegers united, I don’t think they have a chance against the Empire. They wouldn’t even get pass the Golden Rakshasa, not to mention the “hero” Rean Schwarzer himself. And with the plethora of fanservice for fans of the franchise, it’s even less likely. The showing of the Empire’s force including many characters that appeared in the games basically guarantee the Empire’s victory should both sides go all out. But still, Sara Valstein and Aurelia Le Guin looks amazing on screen. Finally the animation team did something good.

The Soldats animation in this episode is a bit rigid and awkward. They are pretty much just one model and cloned into multiples and their walking steps are very weird. Aurelia’s mech got a bit more attention but overall, there’s not much to talk about mecha combat in this episode because there are hardly any combat. The series is determined to keep the giant robots from clashing on-screen and only give us small and breif segments. I understand it’s more about Lavi and her JRPG quest to stop the war, but some decent combat wouldn’t hurt. At least Valimar’s animation at the end of the episode was pretty amazing. Rean is just a tad too OP in this series, dude just flew in alone with the Valimar and with one swing, effectively shut down the opposition. If he didn’t get off the Valimar just for the fun of it, North Ambria would have been finished right then and there.

On the other hand, Jayna’s evilness keep increasing. This episode reveals that she’s not just a schemer and mastermind, she also got some “interesting” magical toys at her disposal. Furthermore, she’s got a way of twisting a man’s mind to obey her, and I suspect Talion fell under her influence. That’s a pretty cheap way to explain his turncoat behavior, but it make sense at least. Now with Rogan completely siding with Lavi and the Empire’s forward personnel calling for a ceasefire, I reckon the last episode will be about exposing Jayna as well as resolving the war with North Ambria becoming a member state of the Empire. Because I don’t see how a peace treaty is going to stop the Empire from annexing Ambria without giving them something back.

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