We’ve now reached the penultimate episode of the series. As the JSDF quickly and efficiently secure a path to freedom for the pro-peace faction and others who wish to escape, Itami and others make their way at full speed towards the Capital.
As advance teams laze targets and secure key infrastructure, Zorzal suffers a temporary panic attack with his advisers asking him for instructions. It is only through Tyuule’s harsh and pointed ‘suggestions’ that he snaps back and orders a counterattack.
Regardless of what the Empire does, they are outmatched by the speed, communications ability, and firepower of the numerically inferior but technologically superior force.
As the Western Gate is secured, the people of Akushou help out the JSDF by providing carts to the rendezvous point for the political prisoners and civilians that are seeking asylum. Lord Cicero’s wife gives her thanks to Kuribayashi. Kuribayashi and Kurokawa explains that Empire hasn’t lost in response to her question, but they are rescuing them. Itami and company are shown, with Itami setting an unusually fast pace much to the annoyance of his fellow occupants. Asked why he has to go so fast, he remarks he doesn’t want anyone to be killed (meaning 3rd Recon) and thus the necessity in speed.
Back at the Jade Palace, the paratroopers manage to make it in time just as the Rose Knights are down to their last few men and women. The platoon target the Oprichnina leaders and take some casualties, but through targeting the commissars and rifle grenades, force them to a route. Bozes personally kills Lufus as he runs.
With the Jade Palace secured, they get people ready to leave. Bozes greets Colonel Kengun and asks him to take care of the knights. With the JSDF having secured a way out, they can take their wounded who they would’ve been forced to leave behind. Under Kengun’s orders, the severely wounded are airlifted out with the VIPs, while the walking wounded will go along with the JSDF back to the main rendezvous point.
With that done, Bozes rides off intending to rescue the Princess and Hamilton, leaving Beefeater in charge. Beefeater chases after her, telling Kengun to meet then at the rendezvous point.
Back at Zorzal’s palace, the news presents is grim. Their forces had suffered heavy casualties and the Oprichnina were decimated at the Jade Palace, with Lufus killed. Zorzal seeks the advice of Tyuule, who tells him that the JSDF can’t get away with this. She suggests that all troops head to the Jade Palace. Zorzal agrees, though his advisers inform him that sending a new, contradictory order just as their remaining forces are gathering in his palace would only sow confusion.
After browbeating them, he orders that the Imperial Guard located at the palace should head out instead.
Back at the main rendezvous point, the nobles are relieved when they see that Lord Casel is safe. It seems those pro-peace senators who went without trouble weren’t hurt, but those that showed resistance were put down. The angel-winged prostitute who helped organize Akushou’s help notes that they have paid them back for all the help the JSDF has given them.
Back in the capital, now devoid of JSDF and being brought back to the Imperial Army’s control, Bozes is unable to get past a checkpoint heading into where Piña is being held. As the Oprichinina commissar orders the troops to attack, Bozes’ horse is felled by archers. Beefeater manages to drag Bozes away as she cries out for Princess Piña.
Chased all the way out of the Imperial city by cavalry, Kengun declines to withdraw, waiting until the last moment. With everyone gone, including the Recon teams, Colonel Kengun and his men wait for Bozes and Beefeater. Upon seeing the two women and the heave cavalry giving chase, Kengun ordered his men to lay down suppressive fire. they take down several soldiers. With Beefeater’s horse killed just as they reach the perimeter, the men catches the two knights who were flung in the air and they barely escape the hordes of soldiers, some resorting to their sidearms to prevent Imperial soldiers from boarding their Chinook.
While Beefeater has Kengun put her down, Bozes cries out for Princess Piña. Asking Kengun to save the Princess, he is unable to do so and Bozes breaks down, shaming the men in the chopper as Beefeater tries to calm her down. Kengun can only look on wondering what Itami would do.
Back at Zorzal’s palace, his advisors give him the bad news. With all the political prisoners freed and rescued, their forces decimated, Zorzal asks Tyuule again for advice. She tells him that he should say that he had led the Imperial forces. Even though it was a loss, it is to keep up morale. And she notes that since they still held Piña, they would be coming back.
Back in Piña’s cell, she bangs at the door wanting to be let out, and asking if anyone would be there to save her. The ending scene showing Itami’s High Mobility Vehicle heading towards the Imperial Capital in the midst of stormy night.
There really isn’t much to say for this episode. With the speed of modern military technology and small arms, the smaller JSDF paratroopers and air assault forces were completely able to take on the enemy Imperial forces. With JASDF F-4 Phantoms guided in by pathfinders and scouts, they managed to achieve aerial supremeacy over the capital, killing Zorzal’s reconstituted dragoon forces and allowing for an uncontested paradrop. The recon teams securing key infrastructure alongside the scouts allowed a quick establishment of a path out for the civilians.
In all, it was an operation that was conducted on the second with minimal casualties (several JSDF soldiers no doubt being hit by arrows at the Jade Palace). The only hiccup happening through Colonel Kengun’s insistence on waiting for Bozes and Beefeater, and of Itami racing to the capital long after the last of the JSDF has gone and with no support with a very hostile force occupying the capital.
Overall, the only part of the episode that had me truly on edge was the bit wht the Jade Palace, and of Beefeater’s flight from the Oprichnina checkpoint. For a moment, without anything go on, I had feared that the anime has taken a darker tone with Piña probably getting raped by Bouro or the shady pig-men under Tyuule’s employ, but was merely breaking down over her imprisonment.
Other changes I noticed, was that the paratroopers were all utilizing the HOWA Type 89 rifles. I can only imagine it’s due to its lighter weight being ideal for the paratroopers, but just amused. The scout and pathfinders were all given modern AR-style weaponry (in the manga, these are explained as HK416s and similar top-shelf gear recovered from the foreign operators killed by Rory in the bath house battle), but the Ministry of Defense was hesitant in allowing more modern weaponry in the Special Region due to the logistics and costs. Also, while it seems both paratroopers and air assault infantry were using the Type 89, some, like those with Colonel Kengun, were still using the Type 64s. Eh, I’m just amused I guess, the last time a Type 89 was seen was in the Battle of Ginza in the beginning of the series. So maybe the weapons viewing has come full circle?
Anyways, with the last episode of the series airing next week, I can only wonder over one thing.
Will they give Zorzal and Tyuule the ending that they got in the Light Novels, or the one in the Web Novel?
All I know is, that Itami and the girls will take the limelight for now, and hopefully there is enough of an interest to continue on to a possible third season to finish off the manga and light novel.
And one last thing, Colonel Kengun must be married. Leave Beefeater for the rest of us you hulking arse!