Episode 9

by Matt Packard,

A small amount of time seems to have passed in the world of ARGEVOLLEN, and Tokimune has definitely improved his combat skills. The episode opens with his easy defeat of a trio of Ingelmian mechs—their pilots are even scared enough to refer to him as “The Demon of Arandas.” Some insight into how he earned that ominous nickname would be nice. While he has become more competent lately, this seems like a sudden and graceless leap past much of his development as a pilot.

Following that, the episode falls back on what could prove to be ARGEVOLLEN's downfall: exposition. The people who whittle episodes away with conspiratorial whispers are unknown to us more often than not. They spend minutes on end describing the most boilerplate, run-of-the-mill conspiracy imaginable. Somewhere in the mix we hear from a more human side of Schlein Richthofen, the skillful pilot who seems destined to be the 8th Independent Unit's strongest foe. He's been a cold fish up to this point, so even a small glimpse of emotion under his apathetic veneer is appreciable. Beyond that, the dialogue here fails to impress.

It does end with a large-scale battle scene, and it's put together well enough. It's not stunning, but it might do fine for action fans. It's all flat and impersonal to me; too many nameless soldiers shooting and being shot and too many unknown mechs blowing up. Much of the battle is viewed from the perspective of an Ingelmian officer introduced earlier in the episode and he doesn't have a leg to stand on as far as characterization goes, so the emotional engagement here does not live up to that of the stronger moments of the series. It's good to see Tokimune in action, but several of the show's better characters (Jaime, Samonji) don't show up in the fray. The stakes are too low. Combine that with the tactless exposition, and the result is a forgettable episode.

Rating: C

Argevollen is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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