by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 12 of
In which our heroes learn that everything they know is wrong.
Episode 12 of Plunderer is all about setting up the new status quo—introducing us (and the team of Jail, Hina, Lynn, and Pele) to this strange new world and its all-too-familiar characters.
When we last left our heroes, they had been transported 300 years into the past—into what looked like modern Japan. However, that's not quite the truth. Despite the normal-looking Japanese high school they find themselves in, the world is far from “normal” as we know it. This Japan (and the planet itself) has been ravaged by a world war—a war only stopped due to alien intervention.
In the middle of the war, something fell to Earth: The Althing—an alien device that takes a majority vote and forces humanity to follow the results through unexplainable, supernatural means. Jail and Pele immediately understand the implications of this. Every strange thing about how their world in the future works—counts, ballots, and their associated superpowers—almost certainly comes from the Althing. And after all, the shadowy hands that enforce star battles or take people to the Abyss when their counts run out are called the Althing as well.
When the Althing arrived, an immediate vote was taken that banned the use of atomic weapons and ended all wars. However, despite this happy end, two things seem clear: 1) The members of the Japanese military believe this to be a temporary peace and 2) the damage to the planet is so extreme that it has become all but uninhabitable.
This leads us to the school Jail, Hina, Lynn, and Pele find themselves in—along with a young Rihito and Sonohara. The school may be clean, neat, and look utterly normal but it is clearly the exception. What we briefly see of the surrounding neighborhood is filled with damaged buildings. But the most telling factor showing the devastation of the outside world is why the kids are at the school in the first place: food.
The school itself is a military academy—but not even one of the students is there to fulfill some patriotic duty. They're there because they are hungry. In the scene where our heroes get their first meal, the entirety of the background student chatter is not about how they were almost just killed by their teacher but at the amount of food they're getting.
And as for the military, it's clear that they don't care where the kids they've collected have come from—hence why our heroes can just walk in and be accepted as students—they just want warm bodies. However, why exactly they want soldiers in a world where war is banned is a mystery left unexplained.
Aside from the world-building, this episode introduces us to several new characters. The first is young Rihito—the man who will one day become Licht. As a young high schooler, he's still an immature pervert but he shows the insight and quick thinking that will allow him to evade capture for 300 years. The second is Taketora, a born bully who clearly terrifies Sonohara. The third new character is Alex, the officer in charge of training the kids—who “executes” three students to see how the rest will react when in mortal danger. And yet he still gives our heroes a helpful info dump later in the episode.
The final, not-so-new character we're introduced to is Schmerman, the headmaster of the school—who looks and dresses the same as he will 300 years later. Like his future counterpart, he seems kind on the surface but beneath it all is a killing intent that staggers even a hardened soldier like Jail. In a scene where he basically tries to trick Rihito into killing him, we see that he is equally sadistic and clever—yet, at the same time, can seem disarmingly harmless. It's a great reintroduction to our villain that shows him to be both complex and dangerous.
All in all, it's a solid way to start off the back half of the series.
• Oh look, another fanservice-filled episode is on the way. Can't avoid it for long, can we?
• Man, if Pele already knowing what a gun was a few episodes back was a red flag, the man claiming to have learned how to use a computer and the internet all in a few short hours is like a parade in Tiananmen Square.
• In the world of the past, Ballots don't work. This means two things: 1) Jail is without his ferrokinetic powers and 2) the world is set for a major reality-altering change in the near future.
• We've seen all of the Legendary Aces we know except one: Where's Nana?
Plunderer is currently streaming on FUNimation.
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