First Reactions: Arpeggio of Blue Steel Episode 5

Arpeggio really seems to be alternating its format week by week, going from battle episode to aftermath to battle episode again. It’s a format that makes sense for a series that’s packing 2 episodes per disk (some of the biggest selling point goes into every volume), and they’re liable to keep it up unless the ending shaves the time between battles down to nearly zero and turns every matchup into an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink shakedown like the one in episode 4. In which case the people who stuck around just end up getting more bang for their buck.*

The first half was mainly a refresher course on how the Kishi-Uezu-Iida power trio can do fun, energetic comedy. Perhaps the best part was the one where Takao got sent straight-up flying by a stray missile in a surprise bit of slapstick. Too, Haruna and Makie hit it off fairly well without taking too long to grind through dialogue, and Kirishima was more amusing as a bear than as a battleship. She blew her cover sky high by eating a carrot, and Haruna’s immediate reaction, from the the way she cut Kirishima off ice-cold to the look in her eyes below, was golden.


The other half of the episode seemed mainly focused on developing Makie as a sympathetic character en route to presumably driving the stake of emotional complexity into Haruna’s heart. Her backstory as a test-tube baby engineered for military purposes was fairly canned material, though it was a neat touch that they got the ever-versatile Koji Yusa to voice her dad. This episode outlined the show’s potential versatility, but I’m not going to miss the heavier drama when it gets back to high-stakes naval combat.

*I would do a weekly heat check, but things haven’t substantially shifted since last week. Just flip Non Non and WA2 and kick BlazBlue out of the top 10 for Strike the Blood. The more notable difference is in how fast Arpeggio has been gunning for Little Busters at #4; it’s been ranking in the top 100 of amazon Japan pretty consistently for the past week and a half. Which has resulted in a stalker Japan preorder curve for the former that looks like this:


While LB gets something that looks like this:


And Kill La Kill (currently at #3 with a higher total and more popular DVDs) looks fairly similar:


I still think it’s more likely that Arpeggio ends up as the 4th-6th best-selling show of the season, but if it ends up outselling Kill La Kill for what was likely a fraction of the budget, that’d be a hell of a thing.

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