Nobunagun: Episode 8

Shio, you got some essplainin to do…

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Okay…fair enough, I am willing to give you a holding action on Asao content, Nobunagun.  But the cheap dream sequence really takes the teeth out of it.

I would kill to see just a little phone call between the pair every episode or two.  Something that just reminds us how important the pair is to each other.  Which this does, certainly, from Shio’s perspective.  So I let it slide, but “real” interaction would be much nicer.

Shio’s dream, specifically, is a beach scene where her brain is trying to sort out this relationship mess.  It is a very strange concept, to me, seeing Shio is so old and these are basic feelings she must have confronted by now at least once or twice.  So, Shio’s brain definitely likes seeing Asao in skimpy swimsuits.  That’ll do, Brain, that’ll do.

One by one the cast enters, first Jack, being his normal fed-up self.  And then Gandhi, who for some reason in this dream is shipped with Jack.  Did not see that coming. Then again Gandhi has hit on just about anything he meets, it’s just his team is mostly female between Shio, Newton and Galiko.  So extending that to Jack really is not a big personality stretch.  And it’s just silly.  And it’s a dream! Silly is fine.  My favorite bit is the “Nice Couple?” label at the bottom in rainbow letters.

Asao’s reactions are nice.  They don’t actually tell us anything about HER character, so much as how Shio perceives Asao.  Or should I say, wants to perceive her.  She is doing that very, well…that very Japanese thing of whittling down “Is that your lover? Is that? Is that? No? Then…you’re single?”  And the face she makes when Newton arrives and picks Shio up in her arms…And her very dejected looking face at Newton’s arrival. “It’s okay Shio, I’ll always be your friend.”

I think it’s important to note that it wasn’t Jack, whom Asao seemed to regard with bemusement, but Newton, the other -woman-, that makes this dream-Asao take her leave. Is that subconscious? Is this actually a reflection of Shio’s brain? “Jack’s cute and all but…but he’s a guy. He’s not a real threat.”?

Just as likely it’s to make Newton obnoxiously sexually aggressive as Shio wakes up in a cold sweat…only to see Newton staring at her, lying in her bed.  So maybe all those things Newton said were what she whispered in Shio’s ear while she was dreaming. Who knows.

Cutting to the meta-plot, Vidocq has sent Team 1 to scout for an underwater passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  We’ll forgive the comic book science involved.  And boy have they found it. It’s crawling with Evos and it’s bad enough that Team 2 is going to be sent to back them up.

A nice touch as Jack’s briefing them on the details, Shio’s eyes in her contemplation are the Nobunaga eyes, those slightly rounder, more determined looking ones. I also like this scene as it’s very front-line.  The fighting teams may be the focus characters, and do all the heavy lifting, but in the end they’re just the muscle.  It’s the brains in Vidocq and the Commander who do the “important” work, and the soldiers feel content to leave it at that, Jack in particular seems to have accepted that his insight isn’t going to be very useful.

I liked seeing the drop-pod sequence, wholly impractical as it is.

At the tunnel, Team 1 retreats in the face of a tentacle monster.  Damn, Nobunagun, what is with you and tentacle monsters.

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So, apparently, the AU weapons have damage feedback to the user’s bodies like the Matrix or something.  One of Galiko’s orbs is captured, and the tentacle crushing it causes her eye to spontaneously bleed. Ick…that…that better be covered in the health plan.  But Vidocq is adamant that the weapon can’t be despawned, because then the data on the moon-orb would be lost.  So Galiko tries to endure the pain. Fortunately, Jack arrives just in time to save it.

As the Evo retreats, Shio notes it watching them for a few extra moments.

Hunter and Shio are with Galiko as she’s being brought to a medical facility, and here we establish some of the bad blood between Hunter and Vidocq.  Hunter feels the latter is far too cold and detached. Later on Vidocq will appear and dismiss it as Galileo did her job, she’s a soldier, and sometimes people get hurt, so he dismisses their pleas to go visit her.  They’re both strawmen, though. While true, people do get hurt, there’s nothing wrong in recognizing the value of morale, and there’s no secret that Galileo is pining away for Vidocq, so raising her spirits would take some five minutes of time. Certainly there’s SOME downtime in his schedule.

Anyway the two teams are in the…I guess lounge? And it’s an adorable little meeting, lots of banter and gags.

It’s stopped when the Commander arrives to tell them all SHE will be assuming direct command.

I was really hoping we’d get to see her activate an AU all Takeda-style to blow off a little Evo object, but alas.

Like all good tentacle-based monsters, simply cutting off the tentacles launches tiny ones at the two Teams, and they just grow back. As god intended.

….One thing to note is that there is ZERO command structure to the combat teams themselves.  No one is the sergeant who can direct the split-second decisions.  They all just bicker with each other, it’s only Geronimo’s force of personality and Jack’s abrasiveness that make them de-facto leaders, and in Jack’s case that authority is dubious, at best.  Humanity’s greatest champions, ladies and gentlemen.

Though a really great thing about this fight is how it demonstrates Shio’s grasp of tactics.  And she is the reincarnation of Japan’s most brilliant general, that makes sense. She pays attention that the two surface tentacles have slowly been drawing the two Teams apart, leaving the Forrester, the command craft, wide open.  But because she is the rookie, she is afraid of trying to exert authority on the others.  Playing into my last point, she notices “No one noticed this yet?” Humanity’s greatest, people.

Taking the initiative, Shio retreats back towards the Forrester.  Just in time, as the squid launches a mine.  In a move of brilliance, instead of blasting the explosive object, Shio blows a hole through the deck of the ship to let the bomb pass through and detonate harmlessly several hundred meters away.

The Commander knows when to leave well enough alone, and calls for the retreat.  Gosh, hope you guys are gonna pull Shio out of the water before next episode…

On the whole…this was definitely closer to where we need to be with this show.  These characters just aren’t strong enough to keep our attention in “the daily lives of exposition”.  But letting their personalities play off the action bits? That is where they truly shine.

Oh! There’s a good preview this time.  And it’s the reason I let the dream sequence pass for interaction between Asao and Shio. Because while it only reaffirms Shio’s position, seems next week we’ll see where Asao’s feelings lie.  Yep, she’s coming back. For realsies this time! I’m just counting down the days, not going to lie.

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