First Reactions: Arpeggio of Blue Steel Episode 9

If I had to list of things I really like about the show at this point, after putting down the whole “you can’t stop the future” attitude behind its production, the next thing immediately on the list would be that awesome battle soundtrack. It’s nice to feel like every part of the show is bringing the big-drama gear to the table, and nothing says unshakeable like the way the music maxed out and the camera zoomed around when Hyuga opened off the combative festivities.

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This battle was a lot more conversation-heavy than I expected. While there was a lot of nicely done SFX going on, complete with some mega-cannon versus mega-cannon action, it did lack the feeling of grit and desperation that characterized the earlier battles in the show. I probably would be harsher on it if the effects of the continued probing of Kongou’s philosophy on the part of Gunzou’s team wasn’t part of a deliberate plan to put her off her edge. Still, the net effect of the way the battle was shown definitely cut out some tension; it was essentially a countdown where you knew that Iona and Gunzou were going to survive to see reach zero.

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What I liked far more about this episode was the content of the conversations. Compared to last week, the raised stakes in the background lent an edge to the way they handled themselves, and made Takao in particular a bit more fun to root for. The dialogue first came off as a little bit too textbook teaching robots to love, but it branched out into a bit more depth once Iona (who’s been quieter and presumably left more unsaid) got talking. And, as previously mentioned, the punchline that it was all to distract Kongou was a nice sinker.

I-400 and 402 making their move after the end credits happened real fast. I doubt the main couple would actually die in such a manner, but it’s definitely a legitimate question as to how exactly they’re going to survive 50+ atmospheres of pressure. As always, it’s a cliffhanger that kept me interested in the action.

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