A change in mood and setting. No more medieval knights being torn apart by modern ordinance, but rather the build up to what is going to be one of the hardest chapters in a manga I had to stomach, and the hardest part of the series for me. Still, there were some good parts in the whole arc, primarily the gun porn, and a lot more Kuribayashi. Also, I’m starting to warm up to the more cutesy version of her in the Anime. Oh God, help me.
As Itami, Shino, and Akira, arrive in Japan, Piña and the others are amazed at what they see around them. They are met by Komakado and his men, of the Japanese Public Security Intelligence Agency (the Japanese counterpart for the American CIA). He shows he’s done his homework on Itami, noting his slacker and otaku attitude, while also revealing that Itami is a member of the Special Forces, which leads Shino to go to a breakdown.
They would board a bus, amazing the Special Region residents even more. Stopping by to get Chuka/Tuka clothing more appropriate for a day in the Diet building, they end up exposing them to Japanese cuisine as well. The cheap 500 yen ramen bowl becoming ‘fine cuisine’ in the tongues of Piña and Bozes. Arriving at the Diet building later, Itami, Rory, Lelei, and Tuka get off, while Shino and Akira take the two Imperials to meet with the advisor to the Prime Minister, Shirayuri Reiko, and Sugawara Kouji from the foreign ministry.
While not a peace conference, they are laying down the groundwork for eventual and possible conferences, while in the Diet building, the hearing to discuss the Ginza incident, and specifically, the casualties inflicted on Special Area residents during the dragon attack. The event is televised, with the leaders of the United States, Russia, and China watch on as well.
Led by a zealous Diet representative, Kouhara Mizuki, she grills Itami on the civilian casualties caused by the Dragon (known as a Class-A Dangerous Animal). Itami responds that the Dragon was strong, and noted that their capabilities were lacking. When the representative tried to say it was the JSDF’s fault for the casualties, Itami explained their bullets bounced off it like BBs, and mentions they might have been more successful if they had a charged particle cannon, railgun, or graviton bomb. A military representative explains in simpler terms that the dragon was armored with scales which matches tungsten in hardness, and can breathe high temperature flames, explaining that it was a massive flying tank, and it was inconsiderate to ask for no casualties when fighting such a thing.
She then switches to Lelei, trying to entrap her into saying that they are inconvenienced by their life in the refugee camp. She answers in the negative, stating that they have everything they need, and when pressed, she also answers in the negative that the deaths were through the fault of the JSDF.
Tuka draws some attention, as she reveals her elf status when the representative asks if her reals were real, leading the message boards and cameras to go crazy. Asked about the dragon attack, she states she was unconscious at the time, which left only Rory to speak.
Thinking that she got someone who she can use, mistaking Rory’s ceremonial garb as mourning clothes. Pressing the point that while there were casualties in the refugees, the JSDF suffered no casualties, she paints Itami’s squad as cowards who used people as shields. To this end, she issues a sharp response. Asking if she was stupid, Rory explains Itami’s squad (in Japanese, much to the representative’s surprise) fought hard and up close, without using refugees as shields. She asks what’s wrong with soldiers making sure they stay alive, saying that if they die needlessly, there wouldn’t be any to protect those who sit back in comfort. For the feat of fighting a Fire Dragon and coming back alive, they should be praised, and she sees it that they save three-fourths of the refugees. She pities the soldiers of Japan for having such Senators.
Annoyed at Rory’s saying she is merely a little girl, the Representative barks back at her for respecting her elders, only for Rory to go to bloodlust. Itami stops this, and to the shock of the world, it is revealed that Rory is 961 years old, Tuka is 150, and (to the relief of all) Lelei is 15.
Lelei explains she belongs to humans, the most populous race in her world, while elves are long-lived, with Tuka being one of the rare near-immortals, and Rory as a demigoddess, live to be a thousand years. And the message boards light up about a goddess being among them.
Back at the secret meeting, the Japanese representatives reveal they have close to six thousand prisoners in captivity, and reassure Piña that Japan doesn’t demand ransom for their release, but something else. Piña and Bozes determine that they want them to use the list to help with peace talks, and to this they shake as some foundations for such talks are set.
Back at the Diet building, the bus carrying the group becomes separated from its escorts, leading Komakodo to explain over their comms that their enemy is on the move. At the subway, Itami and the three enter, though Rory does with some trepidation. Clinging to Itami, Rory explains that the God Hardy controls all that belong underground, and that Hardy had asked her to marry him two hundred years ago, and is scared she’ll be whisked off by him. Mistaking her intentions, Kuribayashi merely looks on thinking of the creepiness of it all.
Meeting with Komakodo at another stop, he explains that they’re letting their enemies continue in trailing the bus, especially now that they have narrowed down the leak. Rory is unable to stand being in the subway anymore, and Itami gets off at the Ginza stop, not according to plan. Imploring Itami to follow the plan, an announcement explains that the lines ahead had suffered power failures to the surprise and worry of Komakodo and Itami.
Back topside, Komakodo explains that their enemy wants to show that they can hit them at any time. Having failed with the bus and subway, they’ll try something more drastic. It is at this point someone tries to steal Rory’s battleaxe, only to be defeated by the weight. Komakodo, thinking the fool had tripped, tried to pick it up, only to throw out his back. He tells Itami and the others to follow the plan and head for the Ichigaya Assembly Hall as he’s whisked away by ambulance.
Elsewhere, in an apartment that is losing its utilities, a headline reads that the Ichigaya Assembly Hall suffered a fire that could be arson. The occupant of the home, seemingly delirious, pushes herself through hunger and cold to try to draw one more page, only for Itami to come in. Hugging the bag of warm food, Itami introduces the group to his ex-wife, much to everyone’s surprise.
I think I’m going to reserve most of my ranting to next week. Next week is the bathhouse op, or as I know it, ‘who the fuck gave the go-ahead to this shit’. The Japan arc to me is one of the more ‘interesting’ arcs, mainly because you can see author Takumi Yanai’s quite open nationalism. Changes from the web original and novel versions were toned down from its march as a Light Novel to anime, but one can’t help but be exposed to the ridiculous strawman political versions of America’s, China’s, and Russia’s characters.
Speaking of Russia, he hasn’t been fully introduced yet, though of the three superpowers in Gate’s universe, Russia’s desire is less the Special Region, but to destroy the Gate to ensure Russia’s economy from tanking if/when Japan decides to use its access to the Special Region to pump the world market.
The Diet inquisition, and there was nothing else to call it as such, was funny. There has been scenes in the anime that didn’t live up to the similar point in the manga, particularly in battles, but the Diet scene was close enough. I do take issue with Komakodo going from a Man in Black figure, similar to Shigeki Arakawa (from Patlabor 2: The Movie) in terms of creep factor, turned into some police detective type with some weird afro that would’ve been the envy of some people.
And yes, Shino going crazy in finding out that Itami is not only a Ranger, but also part of the Special Forces, was funny.
Also, adding this in. Kudos to the US Marines who foiled a potential massacre on the French railway system. May the people who were wounded recover quickly.