A cold open entices us with the grandeur and awe of finally arriving at the Holy Spring, which moves Claire to tears and Makes Kal wish his folks were alive to see the sight. But from there the episode ratchets down the adventure and returns us to Isla, where the students run a restaurant, of all things, capitalizing on Ariel’s superior culinary skills.
While we were a little annoyed at the exploration of the Holy Spring—and the clashes with the Sky Clan that are sure to accompany it—we eventually settled in to the slice-of-life that may comprise some of the last happy times everyone has together as a group before…things go down. The apprehension of those who’ve heard rumors spreads, but everyone works so hard, they forget about those coming troubles.
It was also an opportunity to take stock in the various relationships that are forming: the quiet bond between Ariel and Ignacio; more of the usual Kal and Claire flirting; and the romance between Chiharu and Mitty, who have a sweet little scene. Anything to make these pilots more likable was fine with us, as the aforementioned conflict to follow will carry more weight the more characters we care about.
We also get some time at the “adults table”, learning Luis and Juan go way back, and that the instructors are understandably not happy that their students will be used for recon missions when the sky clan is sure to attack. They may have inferior planes and armaments, but they’re still a foe resolved to stop what they must see as an Incursion by Isla. And the kids are still kids.
Rating: 6 (Good)
When Claire expresses the feeling she and Kal are going in circles, we thought she was commenting on their relationship, rather than the fact they had gotten lost. All the ideal intimate situations in the world won’t change the fact that there’s a significant impediment to their romance getting any further, and it’s the inability for either to tell the other the truth about who they are, or rather who they were.
We say were because Kal is no longer Crown Prince, any more than Louis XX is the current King of France; the monarchy was dissolved. Even if Kal wanted to (and he doesn’t), overthrowing the republic that overthrew him would be a nigh impossible. There may be strict classes aboard Isla, but at the end of the day they’re all exiles from Balsteros, not expected to come back. Kal is no different.
Meanwhile, Claire may dress up as Nina Viento, but she apparently no longer possesses the power of the wind god. We get her Kotoura-like backstory, in which she’s shunned as a witch, carried off by a money-lender (which her mom lets happen), and in a rage, destroys the town with a tornado. She agreed to fight for the rebels because she wanted to be needed, but when she looks back on her past deeds, she can’t see anyone but a monster.
It gets to the point that she can’t look Kal in the eye, but she’s calmed somewhat when he tells her all he wants to do is fly with her (or rather be with her) as long as he can, whatever the future holds. But Claire’s secret is still gnawing away at hr. We know Kal probably wouldn’t take the news well, nor can we discount the possibility he’ll forgive her. In any case, he’s likely to find out at some point, so it’s best if she’s the one to tell him. Otherwise, they’ll just keep going in circles.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
While he’s still quite young, Kal-el Albus has been through a lot in his life. By cruel fate he happened to be the last Crown Prince of the mighty Balsteros empire when it was overthrown by a populist uprising. His father the emperor was guillotined, and the last he saw of his mother, she was being carted off to her death. Her mother, a strong, fiercely kind woman despite her lofty status, begged her son to forgive those who caused him pain and grief, and not let hatred consume him.
In an act of kindness, the warden allowed a commoner to smuggle Carl out of the prison. Carl La Hire officially died with his parents, while Kal-el Albus was born. But he never forgot the girl whose mythical powers of wind manipulation proved decisive in the coup d’état success: Nina Viento. Ignoring her mother’s dying wish out of outrage she had to die at all, Kal has vowed never to forgive Nina.
One would think being the youngest member of a royal family when it meets its demise would be enough to endure, but the universe apparently has more in store for Kal. That’s because the girl he fell for the first day he arrived on Isla; the girl he spends most of his days with training in the skies and enjoying meals together; has a secret of her own: she’s Nina Viento. She also seems to be coming around to realizing who Kal really is before he comes around to realizing who she is.
There’s certainly a foreboding quality to the way the adults of Isla are feverishly whipping the students into shape for a still as-yet unknown threat on the horizon. But for the moment, we’re more interested in what will become of Kal and Claire once their secrets are revealed. We’ve seen Kal’s side of the story, but we’re certain there’s far more to Claire’s side than “She’s Evil.” After all, she was just a kid back then, too.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Our introduction to Isla last week was dominated by Kal’s evening with Claire Cruz, but this week we learn more about the world and Isla’s mission, and we’re given a lot more names to remember, including an Admiral Luis de Alarcon, who makes very inappropriate remarks to the students. We also get a taste of what will probably be an ongoing class war within the academy, as a pair of commoners are bullied by a noble. But while the classes live separately, they’ll be training together.
This is good news for Kal, who after spending every possible moment he could with Claire after meeting her, still can’t get her off his mind. She’s thinking of him too, but as we later learn, she’s an extremely sheltered young lady, under the watch of a stern maid and held to a curfew. It’s possible Claire is so enamored of Kal because simply because he’s the first person her age who’s ever been so nice to her. Not to discount the romantic potential, but Kal is clearly the more socialized of the two at this point.
A bit about the world: it’s certainly a very neat-looking one, with three nation-continents, two seas separated by one huge, awesome waterfall, and a whole lot of unknown left to explore. But much is being made of the fact that no one aboard Isla will be returning to the nations they left behind, and little is known about the mythical Holy Spring—at least we’re told little. When a student asks what all this military paraphernalia is meant to protect exactly, the faculty dodges the question.
Speaking of secrets, Kal’s is revealed thanks to the audible thoughts of Ignacio Axis (AKA Mister Angst): Kal’s a former Crown Prince. While it’s still unclear why he’s now pretending to be a commoner, we can guess it has something to do with a coup, purge, or some other betrayal, which means Kal may have a score to settle with the parties that caused his fam’s downfall. He may have arrived at Isla bitter about his situation, but thanks to Claire, now he’s glad he came. Kal and Claire’s romance is still simple and pure, but it’s bound to get more complicated as their respective secrets come to light.
Rating:7 (Very Good)