Warlords of Sigrdrifa
by Kim Morrissy,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Warlords of Sigrdrifa ?
Well, there were no surprises in this episode, which played out like a generic anime finale – the final boss gets beaten with the power of friendship and they all live happily ever after. To be fair, I wasn't expecting anything more than that, but I will admit I stifled a yawn while watching this episode.
On a technical front, this episode did have some neat effects animation, but the action itself felt like a step down from previous episodes. The confrontation between Claudia and Odin mainly cut between Odin's angry faces and drawn-out shots of planes rolling along. From that point on, there was absolutely no tension in the fight. Despite the threat that Thor and the zombie planes posed in earlier episodes, the battle against them was also settled quickly. There was one point where Sonoko does a tricky plane maneuver, but it pales in comparison to what she brought to the table in episode 9. All in all, this episode was mainly just going through the motions.
What did the girls bring to the fight this time that allowed them to win with such relative ease? The way these last two episodes played out made it feel very arbitrary, as if the only reason the girls emerged victorious now is simply because it's time to wrap up the show. I had to snort when the engineer revealed mid-battle that he had installed a secret weapon onto the girls' planes, as if there was any real necessity to keep that hidden from the pilots until the last minute. The last couple of episodes also made a big deal out of Azuzu's strategizing, but in the end, her genius plan basically just amounted to a basic decoy strategy.
This half-assed approach to resolving the conflict is emblematic of my problems with this anime. I do like Hirotaka Tokuda's work, and throughout this show I've been really impressed at how personally involved he became with the animation direction, the storyboarding, and the action choreography. At the same time, I do feel that Tokuda is more of an animation guy than a director guy. Individual scenes would look fun and flashy, but overall the direction lacked cohesion when it came to the big picture.
Between the flawed direction and the weak script, Warlords of Sigrdrifa was doomed to be forgotten as soon as it finished airing. It's not a terrible show, and I appreciate many of its individual elements, but it just never fully came together. I suspected from the start that the writing would be the weakest link of this production, but I didn't anticipate just how much it would get bogged down in details that ultimately never amounted to much of anything. The anime stumbled hard when it tried to introduce pathos into the narrative by killing off a bunch of side characters, and from there it never fully recovered.
Warlords of Sigrdrifa is currently streaming on Funimation.
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