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 7 & 7.5 were watched together (though Episode 7.5 was optional).
Something about Sound of the Sky that I’ve been meaning to bring up and that’s been nagging me these past couple of episodes is the show’s apparent blending of Eastern and Western cultures. Like Seize has a very European aesthetic to it and yet, many of the show’s characters have Japanese names, be it first name, surname, or both. I currently see this as a sign towards the setting’s dark history. Assuming the country of Helvetia is one of the last remaining nations in the world, we can infer that a lot of refugees from various places would converge here, resulting in the melting pot we see in the present.
The mixing of cultures plays a part in this particular episode as we see the people of Seize observe Obon, which, in this universe, also goes by the name “Fiesta des Lumieres”. This is apparently atypical for this side of the country as Noel explains that it is largely observed down south, where Kanata hails from. Other lines of dialogue suggests that Obon also conflicts with the Church, which teaches that everyone departs from the mortal world when they pass away. How interesting then that Seize’s branch of the Church chooses to take part in Obon. There’s a scene where some of the orphans explain the traditions to the head priest so I’m assuming this church is observing the holiday because the children there celebrate it.
The star of this episode is Filicia. Observing Obon seems to stir up some bad memories for the lieutenant as she recalls a battle that resulted in the deaths of her original squadmates, leaving her as the sole survivor. As she runs from the chaos, she falls into an underground tunnel, a remnant of the past civilization, and finds the corpse of a soldier from that era. Presumably in a delusion, the corpse talks to Filicia, apologizing for his generation’s failings and telling her to commit suicide because that it’s futile to keep fighting and live in a world so bleak. After the conversation, Filicia gets rescued by a fellow soldier (more on that in a bit).
Naturally, Filicia going through memory lane is causing her to behave different and that has her current platoon worried. Curiously, Noel is considered the most “qualified” to check on Filicia as she apparently knows what her leader has been through “firsthand” (Rio apparently only knows via Filicia’s file). What’s baffling then is how little Noel is utilized in this episode. I was expecting Noel to somehow show up in Filicia’s flashbacks but the show doesn’t not elaborate further how she has intimidate knowledge of her leader’s past. There’s also no meaningful conversation where Noel talks to Filicia about how the latter is feeling.
Frankly, Kanata and Rio are more involved in this episode. Despite knowing it’d be nosy of her, especially as a rookie, Kanata still feels compelled to offer some sort of support. She feels she owes Filicia that much since the latter has supported her. Rio meanwhile strikes up a conversation with Filicia regarding the latter’s wellbeing. Like Filicia, Rio also feels disillusioned about the war. When Filicia asks why she’s observing Obon, despite apparently not doing so the previous year, Rio admits that it’s because she’d like the chance to see her fallen comrades and ask them what the point of their fighting is. It’s not too different from the conversation between Filicia and the soldier’s corpse.
Oddly enough, Filicia chooses not to talk to her teammates about her past. Even with Rio, the second most experienced member of the platoon, Filicia acts coy, playing off her recent demeanor as her worrying over her weight. Filicia’s decision to keep her trauma private is a little worrying but this isn’t to say that she does not appreciate her friends’ offers. That they want to help seems to be good enough for her. Filicia also seems to accept her past for what it is. Those memories appear to haunt her but she also uses them to give herself purpose. Filicia continues to work as a soldier because of her experiences, to ensure that future generations (as exemplified with how she treats Kanata, Kureha, and Noel) don’t suffer like she did. The soldier’s corpse asked her if there was any point to living and fighting and Filicia eventually found her answer.
While this episode is centered on Filicia, it nevertheless continues the mystery that is Rio. As you can tell from Filicia’s flashback, the person who rescues her is Princess Iliya, the same trumpeter who has met Rio and Kanata. Her being royalty (presumably of Helvetia) is certainly surprising but more so when you consider what that implies with Rio. What kind of status does Rio have that she’s met the princess of the nation? This isn’t the only tidbit we get. During Obon, Seize’s head priest spots Rio and appears to know who exactly she is. Once again, we will have to continue watching the show to find out more about Rio. And no, that is not the case with Episode 7.5.
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