And so the pace is speeding up for the eventual showdown with the dragon, and later, Prince Zorzal.
At Alnus, Delilah is happy at her place in the town. She has access to good food, a roof over head, and a soft bed. This comes to an abrupt halt as she gets a sealed scroll. Back in the Imperial Capital, Bouro reports to Tyuule that their plan is underway and going well. Tyuule laughs, since the one to destroy the nascent peace between the Empire and Japan would be the warrior bunny who seeks to kill her.
Back at Alnus, Delilah makes an offering to several Gods, asking for their strength in her mission. She asks them for her to not fail, not until she manages to kill Tyuule, who she sees as having betrayed her nation to the Empire.
The next day, Yanagida manages to fool his direct superior in believing the cover story he made about Itami looking for oil and other natural resources, but Lt. General Hazama and the heads of the other forces aren’t fooled. Hazama sets the 1st Combat Team on alert while asking for aerial reconnaissance of the location Itami is headed to. Surprising the normally uptight Yanagida, Hazama has him talk to their guest.
Meeting with the old man, who finally revealed himself to the JSDF, he explains that the crown prince most likely has taken over by now, and wants the JSDF to deliver two orders to friendly vassals to help retake the province. He declines, telling him the JSDF cannot help in family matters, and to take it to the Empire. King Duran tells him he isn’t interested with the Empire anymore, which opens up negotiations.
Instead of delivering the king’s head to his son, they negotiate a deal. Besides, his son would have him killed regardless and probably would allow the JSDF what they need. After a little back and forth, King Duran gets an escort and some muscle to help take back his kingdom, while the JSDF has permission to cross into the Kingdom of Elbe as well as oil and mineral rights, to which Duran is unaware of (and exemption from taxation).
Even if the escorting is a secondary measure in the main mission of ‘rescuing’ their wayward idiot (and the dragon), what happens in the hospital room is a de facto alliance between Japan and the Kingdom of Elbe, though outside the room, Yanagida curses Itami. Cutting to said person, rain starts to fall as if Yanagida’s curse works.
Back at the Alnus hospital, Noriko tries to contact her family, only to reach a disconnected line. Having been informed that her family was probably killed in the Ginza incident, she seeks her death. Delilah overhears this, and tells her that initially, she didn’t want to go through with her job, but hearing her words, she justifies it as helping her wish.
Asking for a painless death, Delilah pauses, unsure how to go about that since she was never really taught or done clean executions, though her anger flashes when Noriko comments that she looks like Tyuule. Although at this point Yanagida to encounter the scene, and caught, Delilah charges him. He manages to hold his own, his gunshots alerting MPs. Deciding to finish it, Delilah stabs Yanagida in the side, but he manages to empty his magazine into her back.
Back in Alnus, Myuute announces to those assembled in the PX’s bar that Delilah has stabbed Yanagida. The two of whom are shown later the next day, unconscious but recovering. The JSDF combs Alnus for clues, and finds out from the head chef about Delilah’s second job as a spy. Asking if they would be banished from the town, the lead investigator for the JSDF tells them no, that they weren’t involved at all.
Investigating Delilah’s room, they encounter the shrine, as well as the letter with the Clan Formal seal, leading back to Italica. Under some rather heavy beating by Persia, the catfolk that Kurata is in love with, the JSDF investigator points out that there were two sets of prints on the letter, and Clan Formal’s butler confesses to the forgery.
Reporting to Lt. General Hazama of their findings, it seems that the anti-peace faction tried to use the Formal clan to assassinate Noriko, leading to a breakdown in negotiations and also leading the blame to Zorzal. Under the recommendations of the civilian investigators (no doubt from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), they will release news of the failed assassination attempt and are already sending ambassadors out, just to find where the leak would go. This as well as an order for III Recon to investigate those close to Zorzal. Lt. General Hazama sets all of this into motion, to make those who tricked Delilah and hurt Yanagida regret messing with them.
Back at the Imperial Capital, at a banquet, Hitoshi is at the kitchen working his magic when Zorzal barges in. Fearing for his life, he reaches for his concealed pistol, only for Zorzal to hire him for his exceptional skills, having remembered him working for the party Piña had hosted and the excellent food he prepared. Wondering about Tyuule, a maid explains that she’s just a favored slave, and acts all stuck up around others.
Later, in the skies of the special region, the ASDF reconnaissance flights have been going on for three days without any sign of the Fire Dragon. Their mission is to assess its capabilities. Finding it, the two F-4 Phantom IIs blow past it, making it tumble in the wake of their passing. Chasing after one of the F-4 Phantoms, the other observes the capabilities of the dragon. While it turns slower than a biplane, it can hover and is fairly intelligent. Coupled with tough skin that their AIM-7F Sparrow and 20mm Cannons can barely scratch, it makes for a tough opponent.
Having done all that, the hot-blooded JASDF Lt. Col. Kamikoda chooses to face off against the dragon in a game of chicken. The result is the burnt F-4 Phantom II and both him and his rear seater being cussed out by the head maintenance chief. When trying to explain that the dragon was unfair in breathing fire at him and unmanly, the chief explodes, berating him that the dragon doesn’t know what it means to be a ‘man’ and could be a female even.
Back with Itami, they discuss Yao’s rather roundabout route, though she explains that she was following the rumors of the ‘green men’. Lelei notes that while one path ahead is steep but wide, the other flat but longer, Itami notes they probably have bad roads.
Tuka stirs in her sleep, and Itami asks Lelei to help her. Asking Yao where the Fire Dragon was spotted, she tells him that to find the dragon, the have to go to Rorudom Canyon, where her clan is. He notes that they’re there to help Tuka gain revenge, not to help her clan, but Yao says someone knows where the dragon is. Faced with no choice, they head to the canyon, but makes it clear they won’t fight there, but where it can’t fly freely.
Making their way to the canyon, Yao heads off to declare her arrival while Tuka wakes from her magic assisted nap. While pondering why they live somewhere with so littler greenery, they are greeted by members of Yao’s clan with drawn bows. Itami raises his hands in surrender. Reaching the cave entrance leading to the clan’s hideaway, a shadow looms overhead, and the dragon lets itself known to Itami and the rest.
Fighting back, the dark elves launch arrows at it, Lelei fires rather destructive spells at the dragon, while Rory goes mano o mano with the large beast, only be thrown away and dodge her effortleslly as it flies around. Itami meanwhile forces Tuka to face down the truth, telling her he isn’t her dad, and trying to have her get rid of her pain by firing a rocket at the dragon, which misses. The dragon flies off, leaving Tuka crying as it faces the creature that was the cause of so much pain.
The whole pace is going along smoothly, albeit quickly. With Tyuule’s revenge taking a little stumble (well, not entirely little to be honest), the JSDF seems to be moving rather swiftly. Delilah’s attempt to assassinate Noriko still carries that rather uneasy laugh I had when she had to think how to make a death painless, and I was surprised on how badass they managed to make Yanagida.
Granted Yanagida is seen as sorta the Frank Grimes of the JSDF forces in Gate. He’s smart, good looking, and can never amount to the same level as Itami in terms of personal and professional achievements. Though unlike Frank Grimes, he is no doubt successful, having much weight and able to be on easy terms with superiors.
Also, glad that Gate’s animators are slowly turning up the gore. The manga was covered in blood, and while it pains me to see a bunnygirl speared by a…spear, it’s getting closer to the manga. Add the fact that when they first showed Akusho, a dogperson was going to town, eating a human in a back alley.
While I often proclaim that these next few arcs are better than the Japan arc, I would like to address some concerns. Someone in a forum went on a rant on the seemingly imperialistic message Gate is often pushing. One can’t help but see it, considering how King Duran basically signed away oil and mineral rights to Yanagida (and Japan) because he didn’t know how valuable they were. The fact that there is a Headquarters directive to find such resources (and being used as Itami’s cover) doesn’t help.
This is no different from the strawman President Dirrel. It’s that actual underlying orders in the fictional setting of Gate that reminds you that Gate is a bit of a nationalist fan-wank with a heavy dose of chuunibou story. I like the story of Gate, I think Gate’s redeeming qualities are in its main cast of characters. The setting is also straight out of those weird fantasies we military otakus often had. Kinda like how the defenders at Helm’s Deep were assisted by a battalion or two of modern soldiers.
But still, it’s stuff like the ‘resource’ mission (which would come into its own right later in the story as one of the plot devices) that reminds me that it’s not entirely sanitized. To be fair though, I can totally see this happening had the Gate also opened in the US today, or in the US of Gate’s setting.
Getting off the seriousness, I’m quite amused at the Air Self Defense Force Lt. Colonel. His mannerisms remind me of the various ‘hot-blooded’ anime pilots from other shows I’ve seen. And he’s no less of a ham in the manga. His rear seater earns my eternal apologies, having to put up with his friend’s antics.
Anyways, I’m looking forward to the next episode. It seems the Dragon Arc will be wrapping up soon, if not by next week, so I look forward to some Giselle vs Rory action.