After my first morning performance, Rio tells me that I’ll need to do a lot more practice – well, that’s what I more or less expected. She heads back down, and left alone, I take in the majesty of the fortress laid out before me. What a spectacular building… even the bricks that make it up are magnificent. As I take in the sights below, I see a girl walking around. I call out to her, and she yells back “you suck!” …Well, at least I guess it’s good to be honest, though I can’t say my pride is unscathed!
At the breakfast table, I meet my new squad-mates. Kannagi Noel has me curious and even a little worried. I wonder what caused her to be so tired? Rio and the Phylicia are very kind and laid-back. The girl named Kureha is the most normal of the bunch. After breakfast is done, Rio commands her to give me a tour of the fortress. She seemed annoyed, though that’s to be expected. It’s definitely the others who are abnormally kind.
Kureha is the first one to ask for me to call her formally, demanding I use her last name and rank, though when I do so, I can tell that she isn’t used to it. Everything that she shows me, she details with utter drama and seriousness. This is actually a little confusing. Passionate as she sounds, her details certainly downplay the importance of this fortress. As she announces the importance of their phone to the capital with utter pride, she stares at it like a call could come any second now. Will it really ring? I find myself staring at it as well. Awkward.
It was when we caught the commander cleaning the bathrooms in place of Noel and Kureha yelled at her for it that I started to grasp her issue. She was taking things far more seriously than anyone else. She shows me their tank, and I know that no matter how much pride she has in it, the thing will never get the spare parts from the capital that it needs. I admire her pride. However, she mistakes me for laughing at her. I really do admire it. I feel her love.
Kannagi discovers a ghost in the barracks – aha! I thought I’d seen something out there earlier! Rio sends Kureha and I out into the seemingly uncharted barracks to investigate. This is so much fun! The atmosphere is perfect! Dark ruined buildings, flashing lightning, and rolling drums of thunder, all on a ghost hunt! This is what I call adventure!
The devastated building is rife with the remnants of an older civilization. Kureha is scared of the ghost, even though ghosts are nothing to fear. Nevermind that – I might have forgotten about the ghost altogether in my excitement!
As we explore, I start to realize that this place must have been a school, pre-fallout. We find a room where music would have been taught, and I am utterly thrilled. To think that the people of times passed would have shared the passion I do now! I love it! This building, our platoon, this town, everything! This is what it means to be fulfilled!
Don’t you see it, Kureha? Don’t be afraid! I feel your love, like mine! We are chased by what we think is the ghost, and in the confusion and to protect me, Kureha opens fire. She pins the owl that is chasing us with incredible aim. She admits her love. “I’m the gunner of the 1121st, and it’s a wonderful place to be!!!” I am filled with pride, for our squad and for her alike.
We decide to keep the owl, even though Rio recognizes it as the one who put me through so much trouble yesterday. After all, the mascot of our squad is an owl! It’s a very funny bird, and all of us are able to share a good, warm laugh with it. The next morning, after Rio’s daily performance, even Kureha invites me to the breakfact table. I am overjoyed. I am home.
– Sorami Kanata
(Read this episode in Suminoya Kureha’s diary )
Wow. What an incredible episode. This could easily contend as one of my favorite anime episodes of the year/decade/ever, and if the show continues to be this good, it will be an instant favorite. The characters continually to draw me in. I love Noel, Kureha, and Rio, but I feel so completely connected to Kanata. I really feel like I grasp her inside and out, which is why I enjoy writing posts like this. If you know about my fetish for deserted buildings, then you know why this episode was architectural porn for me. Amazing stuff.
And I feel the need to say, while this show excels in everything you expect from a show, I think one area it is especially superb in is sound. You rarely see a TV anime put SO much emphasis on background noise and sound effects. This one goes above and beyond the call of duty.