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 8 & 9 were watched together.
In my Episode 4 review, I predicted that Sound of the Sky would maybe have Noel use the Takemikazuchi to save Seiya in some way and that would make the boy warm up to her and the rest of the platoon. I ended up being kind of right in this episode. Noel does use the Takemikazuchi and Seiya does get rescued. However, these two things are not directly connected. In this episode, Seiya goes missing during a typhoon, trying to protect some eggplants he and the other orphans were growing, and the 1121st joins the search party. Kureha and Claus are the ones who find Seiya and they’re the ones Noel rescues with the Takemikazuchi. I’m not bummed out as that’s sometimes how predictions pan out. Still, I really want to see Seiya warm up to Noel at some point. At the very least, he should apologize to her for what happened in Episode 4.
I’m not entirely against Kureha being the one to convince Seiya to leave his crops behind. They’re both characters who really like to talk what’s on their mind so it’s fitting that Kureha be the one to talk him out of it. The revelation that Kureha is an orphan herself also means she relates a lot with the kid. As for Claus, we’re only now getting to know more about him but considering how much Kureha respects him (more on that in a bit), I buy him mediating between Kureha and Seiya. That all said, I think we can all agree that if Kanata found Seiya, the boy would immediately accept her help.
I had my suspicions about Claus ever since he was introduced. He seemed like a nice enough guy but him being some legendary warrior that Kureha purports him to be sounded odd. I mean, if he really was that good, you have to wonder then why his current job is delivering mail. Sure enough, my suspicions are confirmed as we learn that Claus is not the famous “Desert Wolf”. He just happens to look like the guy and have the same name. Kureha mistook him as such and Claus hasn’t been able to find the right time to tell her. Rio and Filicia knew but they’ve kept their lips sealed, presumably because they want Kureha be happy and let Claus sort things out.
The beans do get spilled by the end of this episode. Kureha figures it out when she notices that Claus lacks the chest tattoo that her idol has in a picture. Hilariously, the viewer could figure this out earlier than Kureha because of that random scene in Episode 5 where Claus is getting a tan (I guess it wasn’t just a bit after all). Despite now knowing the truth, Kureha still idolizes Claus because to the man’s credit, he ends up living up to the image she has of him in the end. There are moments where Claus is scared of the situation but he sticks with Kureha through thick and thin and he ultimately risks his life saving hers right as Noel comes to their aid. The guy pretty much becomes the man Kureha admires. About the only thing that would make this resolution even better is if Kureha replaced the photo of “Desert Wolf” Claus with one of the Claus that she personally knows, showing that she admires the man more than the legend.
As always, the plot surrounding Rio thickens. We learn in this episode that the man who called Rio last episode was her father. There’s been hints that Rio has a strained relationship with her father so the hostility she displays towards the man on the other end lines up. Also revealed in this episode is the fact that Princess Iliya passed away, presumably during the war or shortly after. Interestingly, Kureha says Iliya is the first princess of Helvetia’s archduke, which would mean there must be other heirs to the throne. Hmmm…
At this point, I’m starting to think Rio might in fact be a princess. It would explain all sorts of things such as her connection to Iliya or her being qualified enough to be involved to save the nation. The only way any of this would make sense is if Rio was in such a prestigious social standing and you can’t get any more prestigious than royalty. As for why Rio is in the middle of nowhere, I’m guessing it has to do with her relationship with her father. They’re so estranged with one another that Rio joined the military to get away from the life of a royal. Her experiences in the war and Iliya’s death might also be playing a part in this.
Regardless of my crackpot theory, it’s clear that Rio is acting up. She apparently hung up on her father but the plea to save Helvetia seems to weigh on her mind. Her behavior is different enough for Filicia and Kanata to notice and I’m guessing she’s playing the trumpet to distract herself. One moment that really shocked me was her anger at Seiya for causing everyone to search for him. The kid definitely made a dumb decision but Rio saying he should be tied up and locked in a room as punishment is taking it too far. I wonder if she’s projecting and she makes that example based on her own experience but that begs the question what kind of childhood she had.
Oddly enough, Claus comes across as a foil to Rio in some ways. Both characters have a conflict of who they are versus what people want them to be. Even the show seems to acknowledge that at the end of the episode as you have Claus talk of this dichotomy to Kanata while camera curiously cuts to Rio at one point. Claus considers himself a coward while Kureha mistakes him as a man of legend. Rio meanwhile is a lot more insecure that she lets on but she’s admired by the younger members of her platoon and she’s also asked to become someone “greater” in order to save the country. Claus managing to live up to Kureha’s pre-conception of him thus foreshadows Rio’s future, that she’s going to have to make a choice about herself lest she loses the faith that her friends have in her.
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