Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio – Ars Nova- (Episode 3: The Fortresss Port of Yokosuka)

Quite sorry for the very late post, I’ve had a few things on my plate, primarily a sudden decrease in time due to work and being gifted Civilization V.

Science victories are fun. As for today’s post, it’s uninspired, mainly because it isn’t really screenshot worthy.

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Episode Summary:

The I-401 makes it to Yokusuka, a human bastion located on the shoreline. Two years since escaping from his former home, Gunzou and Iona enter the foretress port, now completely built to defend itself from the Fog. With an imposing several hundred feet tall wall and an underground protected drydock, the remaining naval power Japan has lies silently in wait for the renewed counteroffensive against the Fog. While the JMSDF is leery of allowing what they know is the enemy within their fortress (armed Marines with Howa Type 89s pointed at the crew at all times), they are nonetheless providing the Blue Steel crew needed munitions and supplies for operations. As the crew conduct repairs since their last battles (with Sou explaining to a dock worker his mask is to prevent allergies), Gunzou and Iona set forth to meet with the Assistant Secretary.

While Iona observes what is observable, they make a side trip to a memorial. Iona being a weapon, does not understand such things. After an encounter with a runaway girl who is then picked up by her caretakers, they make their way to the center of the monument, to pay respects to the dead. All the while Iona comments that humans seem to do illogical things, such as returning to the coastlines even with the added risk of attack, to which Gunzou remarks it’s just because humans like the sea. Meanwhile back at the dock, although they’re given supplies, everyone is hit hard financially and Kyouhei understands this. Before anything can go any further, the crew is ‘captured’ and the Navy and dock personnel likewise restrained by the Army. It would seem that inter-service rivalry has grown to the point that it has come to this. No doubt the Army is flexing it’s muscles and ‘capturing’ a Fog vessel when the Navy has provided it asylum. A man in a suit ‘humbly’ requests that they come to dinner.

Back at the memorial, Gunzou and Iona discuss why humans do what they do. It makes no sense for an entity like the Fog, who only do things in cold, calculating manners, to not understand why humans do such meaningless things. But that’s it really, we’ve gone beyond the eat-sleep-reproduce cycle and started to think. To an animal, a forest is where it’ll live, it’ll hunt, it’ll procreate, and die. For a human, it’s a resource, an area not yet unexplored, and so on. Before Gunzou can go on, a squad surrounds the two of them and another man in a suit gives the same offer. Before Iona can react, Gunzou accepts, noting the disgracefulness of attempting such a thing at a war memorial.

Their host for the evening in the high-class restaurant is none other than Ryoukan Kita (even with that financial hardships, proof that the political class is of a higher level than the common man), a leading national Diet member and strong contender to be the next Prime Minister. Rude and disrespectful of Iona’s mental model, he nevertheless gets down to business. He politely asks the return of the I-401 to the government. When Gunzou refuses, stating having taken on a mission, they have a responsibility to see it through, Kita merely states that while they’ve done well against the Fog, it is only a matter of time before Iona turns to them. It is that ‘eventuality’ that they relinquish control of Iona to trained professionals, as well as saying that such a ship is controlled by a monster (Iona). Gunzou again counters this, saying it was the very same professional soldiers, who followed the book, that got them defeated in the great battle and has led them to stagnate within their borders. he also isn’t fond of Iona being referred to as a ‘monster’. Having lost, Kita brings his only trump card, and again the crew has rifles pointed at them.

Meanwhile, in the JTN (Joint Tactical network), Kongo and Maya have a tea party, where Maya talks about Jam with tea and using it better than sugar cubes. Speaking of sugar cubes, holy crap and I thought using several packets of sugar in coffee was sweet, Maya keeps on adding! On I-401, Kongo had dispatched two ships to deal with her. When Maya asks if that’s what referred to as ‘tactics’, Kongo merely responds that before, their firepower and shielding obliterated human forces. Had they been of equal level, they would’ve been obliterated since the concept of ‘tactics’ are an abstract ideal completely foreign to the Fog. In order for the Fog to keep its superiority, they developed Mental Models, the frailty of a body to help develop reason, to make em evolve so to speak. Maya also tastes what happens when you dump nearly the entirety of a sugar bowl’s cubes into your tea. Having obtained all they can, they are electing to stop observation of I-401, and to sink her. No doubt fearful, or at least leery of  further cognitive development, Maya saying they can’t end up like Takao.

Speaking of which, the scene changes to said ship’s mental model, who is reading a rather childish book about ship captains. Damn Tsundere, imagining Gunzou ordering her around. Her dream short-lived by the appearance of twins, who look suspiciously like Iona. Revealed to be I-400 and I-402, they are part of the submarine fleet and is the Fog’s intelligence service. Having come to find out why Takao left the fleet, she informs them that she believes having a human captain is how she is to be best utilized, and states her defection. Having been informed that it is too late for her to go to Yokosuka, Takao merely says she’ll wait for him elsewhere, no doubt confident of her victory. Both remark that the Fog is changing, and they need to observe further.

Back at Yokosuka, the defensive wall is attacked by the Fog battleships Kirishima and Haruna. Gunzou gets an all stations report and orders Iona to set sail. Iona overrides the dock controls (remotely) and the submarine picks them up, whilst covering the Army squad with visible lasers, threatening them that getting shot would hurt (well considering the weapon system viewed in the scene is the forward triple mount 25mm Autocannons, yes it would hurt indeed). Now it seems that Fog ships can also use solid ammunition, no doubt to impart a heavy kinetic force to their blows rather than the particle beams, that or they say how awesome the Space Battleship Yamato was when it fired it’s Type 3 munitions. Regardless, as the crew sets sail, Kita asks if Gunzou knew what he is doing. The future of the world is determined by the power of the Fleet of Fog. Even if such power would lead to certain death, Gunzou is determined to see where and what that future is, as determined by his free will. Something that the Fog doesn’t have (Iona’s declaration that she is a weapon, following Gunzou orders) or in my view, something that humanity is or has lost.

Even with such a force against them, Gunzou sets forth to intercept the two battleships.

Overall Episode 3 Impressions:

Overall, the episode was slow to start. The initial ‘excitement’ of the Navy surrounding the ship gave way to a whole lot of talking. But it provided an insight to the world at large, or at least Japan. The Navy and the Army aren’t on speaking terms, and as seen, there seems to be many factions within Japan itself that wants control of I-401 for their own uses, and can either be helpful to the crew as the Assistant Secretary, or not, as seen by the Diet member, Kita. The Fog’s view of ‘evolving’ seems to be a measured, limited response. Gaining just the needed cognitive level to gain a grasp of ‘tactics’, without the need for further growth or else they suffer the fate of Takao. The curse of ‘free will’ I shall call it.

So far, the series itself is good, and I’ve gotten used to the CG, that or there is a concerted effort to actually improve it. There were parts where the CG was blatantly obvious, the scene of the Army detaining the Navy, as well as the initial closeup of Ryoukan Kita’s face. Also Iori is best girl. /cough/

Iori Gallery:

 

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Main Episode Gallery:

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About Jusuchin (Military Otaku)

Conservative, Patriotic and an Otaku. Recent grad of George Mason University. I am interested in firearms, politics, Japanese Anime, and military tech.
This entry was posted in Anime, Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio, Video Impressions. Bookmark the permalink.

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