Kyoukai Senki ep 3: Prelude to suffering

Episode 3 of Kyoukai Senki follows even more in Code Geass’ footsteps – introducing more new characters as well as some ominous foreshadowing as well.

The story picks up the last moments from episode 2. . The mysterious unit easily dispatched the Asian’s AMAIM and rendezvous with Amou. He introduced himself as Gaishin Tezuka, and he also has an AI in his mech called Kei. From there we followed Gashin and his AI Kei to their camp. Through this episode we have more information about the Kenbu and the reason why it was unfinished for a while until Amou and Gai completed it. The Resistance, which is the organization that once had both Kenbu and Jougan (the sniping MAILeS) until many things happened, the pilot they intended to send in got killed, the base got destroyed. If not because of Amou then it might have been under the ground for who knows how long.

This episode also developed more about Shiiba Amou, about his background. Different from the Resistance in which everyone all have a reason to liberate Japan, Amou did not possess such things. Even though he has been living under the control of the economic bloc, he was never directly affected by them. His parents died from natural causes, and he fixed up Kenbu just for entertainment as a hobby. But with the help of a certain Nee-san, Amou have found something beyond his “joy of operating a giant robot”. At least now he wants to find out for himself what he can fight for. The absence of patriotism in an MC is not unheard of, but in a society like Kyoukai’s Japan, it is really hard to be indifferent towards the Resistance’s motivation. A “normal” citizen will definitely either support them or too scared to follow them.

Gashin though, to my surprise has a decently-written background and a reason to fight (typical, but made sense), which helps people relate to him easier. He is very similar to a certain Spinning Boy in another series. Even though that guy hate Amou, he still trained Amou for a period of time, because he knows Amou can become an asset for the Resistance, and that will ultimately help his goal. His fighting style is basically the opposite of Kenbu: attack from range. Jougan is quite a beast in this episode, but Kenbu with upgrades are not far behind. The animation for the mock battle is amazing, with how the anime orchestrated the battle. I’d love to have more 2D mecha animation battle.
It’s interesting how they treat the MAILeS as less of a “personalized” machine but rather normal weapons of war. Gashin was contemplating that he might have to pilot Kenbu in the future, and the Resistance also said they only need the AMAIM and not the pilot. While the majority of other mecha shows generally consider the “initial” pilot of a unit its sole operator and try their best to convince said pilot to stay, Kyoukai Senki shows us that pilots are not permanent and that they have no qualm letting go of a great asset if the person doesn’t want to.

But of course, can’t talk about episode 3 without mentioning Risa, an onee-san type character that helped comforting Shiiba through out the episode. She had a familiar background for an NPC in mecha-military anime in which she is the only one that survive in her family and she chose to fight so that others wont have to be like her. Man, she kinda took my heart the same way she took Shiiba. Unfortunately, from the ending of the episode and the preview for ep 4, we might not have a high chance of seeing her much after. The anime tried to make it subtle, but the necklace she wear was very obvious a plot device somehow. Hopefully it won’t end up being Risa’s “legacy” for Shiiba.

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