Delayed due to production issues, Brave Witches’ fourth episode finally unlocks the secret to Hikari’s potential, and allows some good-natured back and forth between Roßmann, Naoe, Nipa, and Hikari. Well, not sure about Hikari and Naoe but her interactions with each other was funny and also I believe one of the crucial factors to the episode.
Also, due to a bit of a reminder, I had to add in an edit to the episode thoughts.
Meeting with Karlsandian Army Marshal Erhard von Manstein and Soumous CinC Marshal Klaus Mannerheim, it is revealed that the Brave Witches will be the spearhead of a new joint Karlsland and Soumous army group centered around Petersburg. Rall doesn’t update them though that the Karibuchi that is with them isn’t Takami, but her sister Hikari.
Back at base, Roßmann observes Hikari’s practice of jumping across water to hone her skills, and tells her she has a week to pass her test so that she can properly train her. After some ribbing from Naoe, Hikari fails her test, which is to hit a balanced coin on the firing range. She misses and has to come further forward until she can hit it, which unfortunately becomes near spitting distance. Asking for another chance, Roßmann creates another test, flinging her service cap to the top of the obelisk in the courtyard, and asking her to obtain it by using her magic shielding as hand and footholds to climb up it.
This continues for several days, as Hikari tries over and over. She gets closer and closer but always out of reach of the cap. She does alter her course to avoid a nest whose occupants attacked her due to her chicks still being in it. In one of the interludes, Roßmann indicates that she once taught a similar witch who had a low magical power and only brought sadness to those around her. Hikari counters if the witch was really sad, eliciting a reaction from the stern taskmaster.
On the seventh and last day, strong winds push Hikari around and she loses her grip, but saves herself from hitting the nest. Roßmann shoots down any attempt at an extension. Having realized the issue with Hikari, she tells Hikari to focus all her magical energy into one hand, before shifting it to the other, having her pull herself up only by the focused magic of one hand per length up the obelisk.
This is punctuated by a report of a Neuroi sighting and the 502nd mobilizes. Naoe though says she forgot something and returns to the obelisk. Claiming that Hikari is merely a failure, Hikari responds to this by climbing to the top of the obelisk and securing the service cap. Roßmann is pleased with this and tells Hikari to join the fight.
Having finally mastered her power, Hikari’s unit, Chidori, is operating at its best. Roßmann advises Hikari that she cannot be her sister, and advises her to continue to dodge the attacks until she is close enough to hit the Neuroi. With this Hikari makes a crucial contribution to the battle against the large Giant Sea Scorpion-type Neuroi, managing to score actual hits before colliding with it, allowing her to see the core and help the others in destroying it.
Reporting afterwards, Rall forbids Hikari from utilizing her technique, ‘Contact Eye’, due to its dangerous activation. After explaining Takami’s ‘Absolute Eye’ technique, it would be a shame if she were to toss her sister’s sacrifice if she does something foolish to activate her own power.
After a delay of a week, we finally see how exactly Hikari overcomes her deficiency in power. It seems to be a deficiency in training, and nothing really on her part. When everything seems to be set on a standard, it’s like the analogy in which you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will prove it will never be able to do it.
Hikari’s magic power is weak, there is no doubt about that, diffusing it throughout her body means that not everything is going to be at one-hundred percent efficiency. That said, focusing energy to one or another will mean something isn’t being reinforced or augmented by magic, like reducing the recoil on her gun. It explains how she doesn’t use her shields or must be close to be able to fire effectively. Drawing power away from the engines to use shields or to brace the Type 99 cannon (witch use version) means just a whole host of problems. She has the weakness of an older witch (reduced magic power) at such a young age. This can only go well /sarc
That said, as a main protagonist, Hikari is very much more relatable to me than Yoshika was. It’s not really any fault on Yoshika, but I think Hikari’s character was much better written. Also I’m wishing that since it’s known that she has problems with the Type 99 Cannon, can’t they issue her something with less of a kick? Like say the StG-44 or an MP-40? Even maybe giving her a box launcher.
One thing I would like to think was the lynchpin to the whole episode is actually Roßmann. As I’ve discussed with some Facebook friends, she was probably the first proper ‘instructor’ Hikari had. One who saw her not as a national asset but a pupil in need of training. I think she had a hunch when she was testing Hikari’s ability to power Chidori as well as throwing a wrench at her, possibly noting the momentary drop of magical output. What probably confirmed her hypothesis was Hikari saving herself from falling into the nest with a rather good magic circle, and realizing that her lack of power can be offset by an enhancement in focus. Which is why rather than the title card, I have her primed to toss the wrench as the preview to the post.
Due to interactions with another group of friends, it seemed when talking about this episode, someone will break into song or type out the lyrics, so I might as well add it in.
In all, it was an enjoyable episode in which Hikari’s determination seems to win over the stern taskmaster, as well as a begrudging respect from Kanno Naoe. That said the moments of chaos and hilarity was touching and merely highlights on how hard Hikari is trying to pass Roßmann’s test. It’s probably what won her over. As for Rall, covering up Takami’s absence to such a high-ranking superior speaks volumes on what exactly she thinks of Hikari, or if anything, notes that the supply from Fusou is dependent on a Karibuchi being on the front lines.
I always thought Kanno Naoe was a bit of a tough nut. I’m not too fond of her at the start of the series, but it seems a friend from Singapore is right that she’s just displaying a form of tough love on Hikari. This was evident in the episode near the end, at the seventh day. It still doesn’t make me like her any bit, not really fond of her somewhat bitchy attitude. But the begrudging respect is already there since Episode 3.
One thing I found interesting is the Large-Type Neuroi. The one Hikari faced last time was much like a prehistoric invertebrate, this one looks much like a killer sea scorpion than the experimental or modern aircraft in past iterations of the franchise.
Regardless, I’ve labored long enough on this post, and relatives have started arriving. I might as well enjoy my vacation as it starts to swing up. Upload these then go out to see Doctor Strange.