This is my sixth year of blogging. And what better way to celebrate my blogaversary than to produce an anime post? In this episode, we dive into the start of Tuka and Yao’s arc, something I call the PTSD arc. It should be a good ride.
Later that night, Itami and Yanagida discuss Yao’s request. Yanagida tries to pass it off as Itami managing to kill the dragon while finding great resources for Japan. Itami though considers it a folly where he would get his men killed and refuses, though Yanagida tells him to visit Tuka.
Doing so, Tuka greets him as his father, before being put to sleep by Lelei. Confronting Yao, she admits to making Tuka confront the truth about her father and village, and she breaks down in front of them, admitting that it was selfish of her, but what is she supposed to do. She asked for help against the Flame Dragon from the JSDF, but was denied, and was told that Itami with do anything for the people he loves, so of course she would use that to her advantage; as well as being the only thing that could save Tuka’s sanity and snap her out of her PTSD.
She asks if he is willing to sit still or rise up. She asks him to help her and save her kin, even if he’s only going to do it for Tuka, she would offer everything to him, her heart, body, etc.
Back at the Imperial Capitol, specifically the ruins of the Senate, Diablo expresses his displeasure in the fact that Zorzal was named crown prince. Diablo explains to Piña that Zorzal intends to rise against the Emperor, and warns Piña that a fool who knows a few tricks is going to bring everyone down with him, while Piña only notes she wants to bring peace between Japan and the Empire.
At Zorzal’s palace, Tyuule lays in her cell when an informant, Bouro, reports in. Rewarding the pig-like creature (troll) with her leg, she explains to him that she’s been leading him on since finding out he destroyed her nation, and is now dancing to her tune without him realizing it. Bouro asks why not kill the Japanese slave still with the Empire. She explains that it’s not so simple, and directs that Noriko instead be killed, this time by Piña, in order to truly demolish the ties between Japan and the Empire.
Back at Alnus, Itami watches over the sleeping Tuka, and recounts his own past. His mother had killed his father, leading her to be sent into an insane asylum. Comforting Tuka as she wakes, he becomes her surrogate father, playing along with her wild dreams while everyone, from the JSDF Garrison to the Alnus Refugee community looks on. As the days drag on, Itami is told to head back to the capital to continue the negotiations.
With this, Itami tells Tuka, who still believes him to be her dad, that he has to go away for a while. This causes her pain. Tuka comments about this as Itami heads to the garrison, and even Yanagida weighs in, asking if he’s okay with the current arrangement. He admits it’s not, though he’s still steadfast in not committing his men to their deaths if it’s for a personal reason. Yanagida just says to inform him when he’s ready to go, and the paperwork will be done.
Later at the PX bar, Tuka and Itami join the rest of 3 Recon, Rory, and Lelei. Tuka seems absorbed with Kurokawa, who seems to be an expert in her kind of condition, while Rory teases Itami for having a daughter older than he is. He still feels uneasy with her state, and had gone to a psychologist to talk about using revenge to get over trauma. Later, Itami sits at a bench in the hospital and is greeted by the King of Elbe (Itami just sees him as an old man).
They break the ice over talking about prosthesis, until Itami explains his predicament. He admits the target is a tough one, and is afraid he’d lose everything. The old man asks him if he is forgetting something important, like his heart. Itami fires back, saying if that was so simple he’d had done it already, only for the elder man to reply that life is also about tough choices, but that in his heart, he knows what to do already.
Later, Itami and Tuka share a painful farewell as the Chinook readies to head back to the Capitol. Watching the ramp go up on Tuka, and realizing what he’s doing, Itami abandons his men and jumps out, going back to Tuka.
Yanagida berates him for doing this completely out of the blue, wondering how in the hell he could support him, but still does, and Itami starts to list off the supplies that he would need. When double checking with Itami if he really only needs enough food for two for a week, Rory sweeps him off his feet and threatens him.
She’s excited for the chance to fight a dragon (she does get her kicks from killing). Itami finally asks her to join after being beaten, and Rory bites him, licking his blood, forming a contract. If he dies, his soul is hers.
Lelei and Yao are the last to join, leading Yanagida to be a bit envious. Tuka isn’t cheerful that Yao is coming, although Itami reasons that they’re giving her a ride home. As Alnus cheers them on, Yanagida notes that a lazy person like Itami can inspire people to follow him. Meanwhile, the King of Elbe looks from one of the guard towers, noting the young man has made a decision.
Back with Itami’s group, they speed off into the mountains, with Yao finally noting that she’s coming with help.
Welp, we jump started Tuka’s and Yao’s arc rather nicely. A little bit is shown with the Empire with Tyuule showing she is the Lady Macbeth egging on the idiot that is Zorzal…who needs to be beaten up more.
We don’t get to see much of Diablo’s inner monologue, showing off his character more than just a shafted middle child. That said, the King of Elbe has made an appearance, having disappeared since Piña questioned him at the monastery. Lots of content is removed when in comparison to the manga, not much of it is important mind you, and is more to set the tone for the next panel, but some scenes are kinda important, like the hospital staff talking about the ornery old man is letting on more than he is.
Other than that, it felt slightly rushed. Itami doesn’t have the same kind of zeal he had in the manga in rebutting Yanagida’s attepts to have him go after the dragon, though the scenes where he’s taking care of Tuka hit hard as well. It doesn’t really explain why his mother killed his father in the anime. In the manga, Itami’s dad was an abusive father and his mom finally snapped, killed him, and withdrew from reality before trying to kill herself and being institutionalized.
That’s where I think had they stuck to the Manga version of events, it would’ve had a greater impact. When Tuka was triggered by Yao, Itami was triggered as well and started to puke, leading Tuka to scream at Lelei for hurting her dad, and we’re treated to a flashback scene detailing Itami’s childhood. But then again, the anime has fortified Itami in this adaptation so he may have dealt with the trauma a bit better than in the manga.
So far, I’m liking it, again the episode was slightly rushed in my eyes, and could’ve been spread out more, but with the reappearance of the Flame Dragon in the next episode, I’m not too worried about it.