Friday, March 19, 2010

SoRaNoWoTo 10-11: Meetings and Partings

War is upon us!
EPISODE 10: Departure - The First Snow

Winter is at hand and while the girls prepare for the season, they receive a visit from a girl whom Kanata frequently buys from at the market. The girl reports that a certain Madam Jacoll, an old woman who lives in the mountain, is missing and that she needs their help. With the still sulking Rio in tow, Kanata manages to find the madam who, however, stubbornly refuses to leave the mountain even with winter coming because she's waiting for her son and lover to return. Rio loses her temper for a little bit but nevertheless tries to help with the madam's winter provision. While shopping in town, Kanata gets into conversation with a couple of men who tell her about Princess Iliya -- she was set to become the third wife of the prince of Rome but she died before the marriage, and the political alliance that was to come with it, came into fruition. They also said that Princess Iliya had an illegitimate younger sister. Kanata soon realizes that this younger sister is in fact Rio, who tells her the story of how her mother had waited for her father until the day she died and how Rio grew up looking up to her elder sister. That evening, Rio and Kanata spend the night at Madam Jacoll's to keep her company. As the first snow falls, the madam remembers how she met her lover on a night like that but he was the heir of a rich merchant and he already had a family of his own. After she gave birth to her son, the man took him away but promised to someday come back for her. Madam Jacoll has been waiting ever since. Later that evening, she gets a vision of her lover through the window and she runs out in the dead of cold to go to him. The next morning, Rio and Kanata scramble around to look for her but her body is never found. When they return to the fortress, Rio realizes that she has been running away for most of her life and so she makes a decision to stop and face her destiny. She leaves.

EPISODE 11: A Visitor - A Burning Field of Snow

With winter in full swing and the peace talks still not going well, the the troops get an order to increase patrol in their area. Kureha and Kanata are out on patrol duty when they stumble upon the unconscious body of a Roman scout. They take her back to the fortress and report the matter to Felicia, who decides to keep the matter within the fortress for the moment in the hopes that Rio would make it to the capital in time and help forge a new peace treaty. When Noel, however, hears of their strange visitor, she remembers the time when she worked for the weapons division of the Helvetian Army and how she was instrumental in the mass killing of Roman soldiers. She was known then as the "Witch of Helvetia" and the "Invisible Reaper." To atone for her past sins, Noel volunteers to nurse the Roman soldier back to health. The Roman soldier soon wakes up but to the girls' dismay, she doesn't speak a word of Helvetian. All they find out from her is her name, which is Aisha, and her serial number. Meanwhile, rumors about the Roman scout fill the town and people begin to talk. Naomi and Yumina drop by the fortress to confirm this as well as to warn the girls that Commander Hopkins' troops are on their way. It turns out that Yumina can speak Roman so she manages to find out that Aisha partly came to Seize in order to see the Angel Fossil of the legends. Then Commander Hopkins and his army of soldiers arrive, forcing Felicia to give an order to hide Aisha as well as Noel, who is afraid of Hopkins. However, their position is given away when Aisha discovers the real identity of Noel, causing the latter to scream and run away. At the same time, the fortress receives a call warning them that a large number of Roman forces are advancing through No Man's Land towards the Helvetian border of Seize.


And finally it. is. on. The war, I mean. If it does happen, Felicia's troopers are woefully ill-prepared for it. Also, our first look at the enemy and they look like gypsies. Is that why they call their country "Rome?" Because it's close to "Romani." Also, their language seems to be some corrupt form of German.

Back story for Noel: she is apparently a mechanical genius but we've always known that. Commander Hopkins is just evil enough to take advantage of Noel's unusual aptitude and love of machines to revive the weapons of the old world and use them to annihilate the enemy. And she was so young. How could she have known the consequences of her own actions?

I think the war won't get full-blown. I figure Rio will somehow make it to the capital and put a stop to it in time. Or, if the war does break out, Rio's presence would be such a morale booster among the Helvetian troopers that they'll totally win. Then again, I could be wrong. This anime so far is good at going at its own leisurely pace while at the same thwarting expectations. I certainly did not expect they would reveal Rio's identity this early.