What They Say:
Gai’s come up with a new mission, but before Shu can officially join the team, he has to show that he measures up by winning a mock battle against Ayase’s Endlave. Time for basic training! But can Shu concentrate on combat after Inori turns him down?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shu’s path to this point hasn’t been fully linear and he’s now got a few additional problems even though he’s hustled off with Gai after events went fairly big back in the city. With him arriving with Gai and a number of others, they’re being thrown to the wolves so to speak about whether they can really belong or not because of the intensity of what they have to do. Basic training to see if they can handle what’s to come is the order of the day even if they are tired and exhausted from all that happened. For shu though, there’s additional trouble because of the pen he was given back before he was rescued that serves as a homing device.
In a both good move/bad move realm, Shu gets paired up with Ayase for the basic training to make sure he doesn’t slow them down. While Gai wants him and has done enough to ensure it, they also have to make sure he’s truly capable here. She’s a hard taskmistress, especially since Shu makes some fairly obvious mistakes right from the start because of her being in a wheelchair. The whole basic training aspect is pretty nice if predictable, but at least they avoid the whole montage with inspiration music angle. What we get instead is more of a brief look at the operation here and some of the personalities, which are a bit strong but not unwieldy which is a huge plus.
Where the show spends a surprising amount of time is when it puts Shu and Inori back together after a bit and the two hang out. It’s a bit awkward because of who Inori is and how their relationship has changed, but I found that I far preferred where it went afterwards when Shu ended up spending time with Ayase instead. She didn’t impress me much from the few times she was involved in the previous four episodes, but her time here really does make a huge difference as she becomes a character that I actually want to know more about and see more of. It’s hard to root for anyone to get together considering how little we know them, but the time spent between the two here really is quite a lot of fun and very enjoyable to watch the chemistry slowly building here with some potential.
The action component of the show is pretty good, but that’s almost a given at this point after what we’ve seen in the first four episodes. It’s given only time at the end here when Shu goes through his test and he does some fun and creative things in order to win the match and actually survive to become a member. It’s not a huge moment, but it’s the kind of thing that caps off the episode well after all the character material. And that character material is definitely the selling point as we’re again given some down time to really get to know these people and what they’re facing. It’s taken a bit to get to the point we’re at, but I have to admit that I’m liking Shu more and more, and much more than I expected to be, and even Ayase has won me over handily. There’s a lot to like here and the show has me really curious about where it will go next.
Readers Rating: [ratings]
Streamed By: FUNimation
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.