Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova – 12 (Fin)

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Consumed with rage, an out-of-control Kongou has transformed into a massive sphere that destroys the entire American Fog fleet, then turns on I-401. When she disables the concept communication system, Iona volunteers to make direct contact with Kongou. When Iona arrives on her deck, Kongou fights her with everything she has, but the power of Iona’s will is enough to neutralize her onslaught. Finally, Kongou gives in, the sphere is dismantled, and the battle ends with Iona warmly embracing her. The I-401 arrives in Hawaii to successfully deliver the warhead.

When it all came down to it, Kongou whipped up a storm of anger not because she hated Iona or the other converted Fog ships, but because she was afraid. She didn’t know what was happening to her, and didn’t like it; she was fine with everything the way it was before, and wanted things to stay that way. When things continued to thoroughly not go her way, she lashed out—she is a weapon, after all; it was an extension of her purpose, multiplied 512 times. And we have to say, as final bosses go, she is a doozy; we’re slightly surprised the I-401 wasn’t blown to smithereens in the first five minutes. But that’s the thing: as much as she may fear it, change has come, and no amount of torpedoes, missiles or supergravity lasers can blow it up.

Iona realizes the best way to make that clear to Kongou is by going there in person in a truly badass gambit, hopping from missile to missile. She takes a beating, but ultimately Kongou’s cold (and now confused and unfocused) orthodoxy is no match for Iona’s awesome will. Gunzou’s order was only a formality; she came up with the idea on her own, which shows how far she’s come, and how futile Kongou’s attempts to deny it are. Still, we’re glad Kongou didn’t immediately join the gang, choosing to ply the seas alone and explore her new reality. And with the last Fog battleship converted, the show comes to a tidy yet satisfying close.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)
Final Cumulative Rating: 6.833
MyAnimeList Score 
(as of 12/23/13): 7.66

Stray Observations:

  • Some of the slickest battle CGI of the show happened here. Iona’s one nimble little minx, isn’t she?
  • Regarding Kongou’s tenuous state throughout the episode, remember that she did absorb (not merge) with Maya, destroying her in the process, and despite the fact Maya didn’t have a core, Kongou probably feels a bit guilty about that.
  • Takao gets her body back, and the first thing she does is pounce on Gunzou.
  • Meanwhile, Kirishima remains a teddy bear. WTF? It’s the end; give the poor girl her real body back!
  • The communique from Hawaii was in very good English, but it was still a little grating.
  • After all the emotion she unleashed in Kongou, we were kinda hoping for Iona to finally give her captain a kiss or a hug or something…but no love. Perhaps she’s merely abiding by the “non-fraternization with superior” reg…
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Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova – 05

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As the crew of the I-401 take on their Vibration torpedo payload, Haruna and Kirishima end up as guests of Osakabe Makie, a young girl with no parents living in a huge mansion. After downloading Kirishima into a teddy bear, Haruna gradually becomes friends with Makie. After delivering a status update to Kongou, Kirishiima and Haruna are led to a secret facility below the mansion, where they meet Osakabe Toujuurou, who created Makie to do what he couldn’t: design effective anti-fog weapons, including the Vibration warhead. When the government discovers Makie has had contact with Haruna, they send troops to the mansion.

Hold on, now, what the heck was that? We didn’t sign up for this! How does the show go from a submarine crew battling two battleships, to one of the battleship’s avatars turning the other into a teddy bear and then spending an entire damn episode bonding with a little rich girl who comes totally out of left field, who of course is a manufactured being herself, because SCIENCE! C’mon, seriously. Why do we have to hang out with the little rich genius test tube girl? Why’d they have to introduce her and the old decrepit bedridden guy suddenly bringing up all this stuff about human experimentation? What in the world does this have to do with awesome naval battles? Why 109 embryos?!

We get it. We brought this on ourselves. We knew that a lull was coming after a battle as big as last week’s; that’s just the pattern this show is following. We also know that the more the Fog girls hang out with humans (at least some of them), the more trouble they have accepting Kongou’s assurance they’re only inhabiting “temporary personas.” We knew last week that little girl found Haruna. But did the show have to forget about the crew of the I-401 for an entire episode? Not that they’re the most interesting bunch in the world, but you can’t just…change shows in the middle of a run. For us, this was simply a turn down the wrong road.

To quote Haruna when Makie wouldn’t give her coat back: “Sniffle, sniffle.”

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Rating: 3
 (Bad)