Note: This review was written for #Anitwitwatches, a weekly community event primarily held on Twitter and led by Jon Spencer at Jon Spencer Reviews, in which participants watch and discuss the featured anime. Per the event’s schedule, Episodes 5 & 6 were watched together.
Episode 5 opens with a bit of a fake out, showing the 1121st platoon using the Takemikazuchi. As the scene progresses, it quickly becomes clear that they’re partaking in a simulation. The tank itself appears to be placed on top of some metal beams, which has me thinking that Noel is still trying to get the tank to move. It’s been apparent that the Takemikazuchi is far more advanced than anything else seen in the show but this opener gives us a clearer picture of how advanced it actually is, what with the tank’s holographic displays and computer simulations. Civilization seemed to have gotten really far before it regressed to what it is now in the show’s present.
Some of the gang then receives letters as well as some orders from HQ delivered by a fellow soldier named Claus (Unshou Ishizuka). Kanata gets a letter from her mother (I forgot to mention this in previous posts but yeah, we now know her family is alive), Noel gets a letter from her mentor, and Rio refuses to read the one she got. Rio’s is definitely the one that raises the biggest eyebrow, what with her whole situation still being shrouded in mystery.
Claus appears to be a good friend of the 1121st. He doesn’t appear to be among the personnel that looks down on the platoon. Kureha seems particularly fond of the man, having what appears to be an unrequited crush towards him. She also speaks highly of his military work though if he really is as good as he’s purported to be, I have to wonder what he’s doing delivering mail nowadays. One thing is for sure: he seems like a pretty chilled guy. I found it pretty funny when the show cuts to him getting a tan while guarding the Clocktower Fortress in the gang’s stead.
The main plot of the episode has Kanata, Kureha, and Noel going on a “field trip” around the south side of Seize, right along the border with No Man’s Land. Their job is to locate and check up on three observation devices placed in the area. Rio secretly tails the trio to make sure that they don’t get lost while Filicia waits for her platoon at the goal point.
Kanata, Kureha, and Noel are equipped with backpacks full of survival equipment and this results in one of the funniest bits in the show so far. I know soldiers have to carry a lot of stuff but these backpacks seem comically large to me. And one thing is for certain: all three of these girls can barely carry these packs, let alone walk with them. Rio tries to help them by showing a technique but hilariously, she also struggles to lift one of these behemoths. Also funny is when Rio tells the trio that they’re authorized to use their trumpet as an SOS as well as their guns in case they run into wild animals and Kanata and Noel immediately grabs the former and latter respectively. One already wants help because her backpack is too heavy. The other is ready to shoot her superiors for the same reason. It’s great.
Despite Kanata being the newest member of the 1121st platoon, I can’t help but think she performs the best out of the three during this field trip. She manages to locate all three observation devices as well as food and water for the group. Some of that success can be attributed to luck but it does seem like Kanata has really good senses, particularly her sight and hearing. It’s worth mentioning given her fear of uselessness mentioned in Episode 3.
The field trip is a good demonstration of Sound of the Sky‘s use of tone. At the times, it makes for an amusing adventure. With how varied Kanata, Kureha, and Noel’s personalities are, some banter is bound to manifest as a result. The show also throws in some setbacks for good measure such as having the trio’s backpacks get ransacked, making them a little more desperate to finish their mission. At the same time however, there’s also bit of wonder as the gang explores and sees some of the wilderness. The observation devices also make for a magical moment, being so technologically advanced that they seem otherworldly, more so when juxtaposed against the natural scenery.
Of course, the most stunning moment comes at the end when the girls (and by extension, the viewers) see No Man’s Land for the first time, which is actually the takeaway Filicia wants them to have from their field trip. We know something cataclysmic went down in the past and we saw No Man’s Land on the map back in Episode 2 but actually seeing the area’s vast, barren desert and its plethora of ravaged buildings really sinks in what kind of devastation this show’s world has gone through. Filicia reveals that seeing No Man’s Land is a tradition of the 1121st and I can see why. As Kanata puts it, this is history and it’s important for her and the others to see it with their own eyes.
I can’t say I’m surprised that there’s a hot spring scene in Sound of the Sky. Honestly, it’s more surprising when a CGDCT anime doesn’t have one, even if it’s a dark one such as this show.
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