Skipping through several chapters rather quickly, the Fire Dragon arc is wrapped up, only to portend the coming storm brewing in the Imperial capital.
Back at the dark elves settlement, Itami and company discuss Tuka, with Itami noting he’ll drag her to the truth regardless. The elders of the village approach and thank them from coming. Itami notes that if they were all killed by the dragon, thus depleating its supply of food, what does it do. Lelei merely states that its cycles are long, consisting of hibernation and activity. Alongside this, Yao introduces Itami to a bunch of warriors, or what’s left of the tribe’s warriors.
Tuka is kept asleep with Lelei’s magic, as Itami gives the warband a crash course on the Japanese made Panzerfaust 4, and they set off for the volcano in which the dragon was last spotted sleeping. While Itami and the others eat, Yao and another of the warriors had scouted ahead in the cave system to confirm the nest. Noting Rory’s apprehension in going underground, Itami gives her a headset to be their lookout on the outside of the mountain.
Finding the nest, they note some cracked eggshells, to which Lelei remembers what a dragon did when it’s active. The elves through say they’ve only seen one dragon. Littered all over the nests, are weapons, many of mastercraft creations and magical in attribute, as well as skeletons. The defeated challengers of the fire dragon over the ages.
Getting to work, Itami has some elves dig a hole in the middle of the nest, while he and the others create several satchel charges of C4 and places them in the hole. Itami tries to call Rory for the situation but can’t due to the sheer rock face of the caldera, and ditches it (as to not accidentally blow himself up when working with the fuses).
Outside, Rory notices the return of the Dragon and tries in vain to contact Youji to no avail. Back inside, the group covers the hole with swords, before realizing that the dragon has returned. A frantic firefight occurs, with two elves taken out by friendly fire (being behind another who fired his/hers Panzerfaust and thus getting caught in the counterweight), others for being distracted or roasted. None of the shots are effective, since many of the elves had not extended the probe that truly arms the shaped charge in the panzerfaust’s warhead.
Yao manages to obtain one the Panzerfausts, but didn’t realize Itami was behind her, and he moves to escape before she fires it.
Tuka meanwhile watches the elves being killed, one being snatched up in the dragon’s jaws, claiming it was her fault her people died. Lelei berates her, noting that since she couldn’t defeat it, she blamed herself.
Back to Itami, Yao finds him and tells him to hide in the cave before rushing off. One of the remaining warriors manages to hurt the dragon, before being turned into an extra-crispy dark elf. Itami manages to find the detonator, and repairs the line.
Leilei tells Tuka that she isn’t the only one who had lost her home to the dragon, as scenes flashback of the dragon’s attack on the convoy earlier in season one. Lelei marches forward, and magically accelerates a sword, which does not pierce the dragon’s hide. Adding more oomph into another sword, it pierces the hide of the dragon, leading Lelei to don a homicidal smirk.
Levitating the mastercraft weapons scatted throughout the nest, she calls forth her vengeance and launches a whole barrage of magically hyper-accelerated swords at the beast, wounding it. Yao is told by the eldest and surviving elf to care for Lelei, who is passing out due to exhaustion, before meeting his end after stupidly rushing forward and stabbing the fire dragon.
Itami, Yao, and Lelei are now running for the safety of the caves. Tuka, seeing that her ‘father’ is going to die, launches magic up into the clouds, calling forth a tremendous lightning strike that not only electrocutes the dragon, but runs an electrical charge down the det cord and into the C4. The trap explodes, and the swords that had covered the satchel charges launched into the fire dragon’s belly, killing it.
Running for their lives, Tuka almost falls to her death as the cave system is collapsing due to the explosion and death of the fire dragon, only to be saved by Itami and Yao.
Back outside, Itami and company encounter a grievously wounded Rory, and an apostle of Haardy, Giselle. Giselle has come to drag Rory off to be Haardy’s wife, much to Rory’s annoyance. Explaining Rory’s state, Giselle states that normally she’s no match for her, but Rory had been absorbing Itami’s injuries and was not in any form to fight (no doubt being grievously damaged when Yao launched the rocket with him still behind her).
This would make Itami understand by what she meant with her contract. Appearing alongside Giselle, are two smaller dragons, the offspring of the fire dragon.
Explaining that she woke the fire dragon up only to take and tame it’s offspring for her fight with Rory, Yao asks her why she destroyed her clan. Rory explains that she nor Giselle cares not for what mortals think, as their god’s apostles. Rory points out that a human defeated the fire dragon. Giselle finds this ridiculous, asking who it was that defeated the beast, to which all gathered merely point at Itami.
Before Giselle and the dragons strike, Itami snatches Rory away and they flee the scene, and the group escape much to Giselle’s shocked expression.
Running down the volcano, they are chased by the dragons, only to cut to two F-4 Phantom IIs from the Alnus detachment of the JASDF. While initially confused by the appearance of the two smaller dragons, but the mere fact they were chasing Itami was enough for them. Firing at first some infrared semi-guided missiles at the dragons to stumble them, the finish it up with their 20mm cannons, grounding the two dragons.
The dragons are then utterly annihilated by a bombardment from the JGSDF’s Type 99 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzers and TOW Missiles from the AH-1 Cobra Gunships. As Giselle hides from the slaughter, she hears Rory calling for her. Noting how outmatched she was, she high tails it out of there.
As the F-4 Phantom IIs RTB and the JGSDF meets up with Itami’s crew (minus dark elf warriors), Tuka finally is at ease with herself, having gotten revenge for the destruction of her village and the deaths of her father and clan. Itami asks Tuka to not call her ‘dad’ anymore. She replies though nope, she’s gotten used to it.
And thus the end of the Dragon arc. With the next episode seemingly an Anime-only arc, I was wondering how they were able to fit the post-Dragon arc from the manga into the anime. For those who have not read the manga, it was at this point that Itami is separated from III Recon and sent off to be a ‘resource hunter’ of sorts.
With the truncating of much of the dialogue in this episode to focus on the fight with the fire dragon, a few things need to be noted. The elves were trained in the Panzerfaust 4, but often forgot to pull the probe out of the body of the charge, or watch for backblast. Yao also has a ‘oh shit’ moment when Giselle contemptuously looked down on her clan’s appeals to Haardy to save them from the dragon, and thus being a factor for her faith and name change later on. This was waved away with one sentence from both Rory and Giselle.
Another thing is that it doesn’t show at all the JSDF marching from Alnus through Elbe, with King Duran riding shotgun on a Huey. This explains how the JSDF managed to get to the site in time to save Itami’s bacon. That said, it was already inferred that they were going to do so anyways. Though I’m confused on why they called out Fox-3 (iirc, it’s Active RADAR Guided Missiles like the AMRAAM) on what should’ve been “Guns. Guns. Guns.” Maybe the JASDF has something different?
One other thing of note is Rory’s reluctance to go underground. Viewers might’ve noticed this in her unease in the Tokyo subway system, but wasn’t fully explained. Haardy, the goddess of the underworld, has taken a liking to Rory and wants her as her bride, and Giselle is tasked to make that happen. Rory, an apostle for Emroy, the god of death, isn’t too keen on this.
Basically the whole latter part of the arc was condensed to fit in 30 minutes. A lot of it merely explanation to the viewer (through Itami’s internal thoughts or instruction to Yao’s fellow warriors) on what is going on. Which I am completely fine with happening. If they wanted the arc to really follow the manga nearly word for word, it’d end up needing a second episode.
So while it irks me personally, I don’t mind this.
That said, the next episode hints at a possible anime-only arc. With a two cour run, I was wondering how they were going to fit the manga chapters so far into 24 episodes, but with an addition of an anime-specific plot arc (as far as I can tell, don’t quote me on that), it will allow viewers to really see Zorzal in a negative light. For the fans of the manga and the LN, we already hate the bastard, but those introduced to the series through the anime, I hope the producers can really imprint the fact that Zorzal is a megalomaniac aiming for the crown while being subverted by Tyuule.
And it might also allow Itami to stay with III Recon and have more adventures with them and Piña Co Lada and her Rose Knights.
And to round off my thoughts on the episode, I am quite happy with the fight with the dragon. The elves were slaughtered, messily. While it’s been noted in TV and on the intrawebs that an illiterate child could be taught the basic operation of an AK-47 rifle, I doubt no matter how intelligent the being is, an afternoon’s worth of instruction won’t be able to override the fact that the elves, many of them living to be several centuries old, have gone from simple curved bows to a current generation anti-tank weapon.
Also somewhat glad that the anime didn’t resort to too much gore. Showing what happens when you don’t watch your back when firing a rocket launcher is scary. And in the manga, the two elves caught in the backblast were roasted just as messily as if the dragon had got to them. Still, many died, and it was through their deaths that we got Tuka snapping out and earning her revenge, and Lelei going from the calm teenage mage prodigy, to a homicidal maniac.
Ain’t she a cutie when she’s angry? D’aaaaaaaawww