Home > Episode by Episode > Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova eps7 & 8: I’m sorry, you have a bad case of humanity

Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova eps7 & 8: I’m sorry, you have a bad case of humanity

I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve mistakenly dipped my toe into harem waters with this oceanic anime.  But more importantly, I think I’m starting to grasp the “point” of this anime.  It’s an old and tested one for any fan of scifi.  But it’s not like this anime’s universe has anime, nor have the Fog scene any scifi.  So it will be interesting to see how these “mental models” handle being more human.

Episode 7

Since there’s so much to catch up on, I had best make this brief and to the point.

We finally get to see where the 401 and its crew make their home base, but the visit is all too brief.  We see that the base is already short on supplies, and that bringing Haruna and Kirishima here likely has already exposed the base’s secret position.  So uh… hello and goodbye Iwo Jima.

The brief stay isn’t a simple one though, at least not for the mental models.  While the crew go about their business and generally fade into the background.  The arrival of Haruna and Kirishima, along with the discovery that the egg shaped drone that supports the base is actually a mental model in disguise, along with the discovery that Takao has been hanging out at the base does the give the episode a lively, if surprisingly goofy atmosphere.  The relationships go like this: Hyuga is “gay” for Iona and despises Chihaya for soaking up all of her attention.  Takao is in love with Chihaya and despises Iona for soaking up all of his attention.  Haruna is enamoured with the little genius girl Makie, and is determined to protect her for as long as she functions.  Kirishima doesn’t care about any of them, except maybe Makie.  But she doesn’t want to admit it, and generally would do anything to get her previous body back.  And Iona would basically just like for Hyuga to stop trying to molest her.

All this basically evens out to a lot of talk and shenanigans.  But it’s starting to look like all the mental models will eventually find their place in what Hyuga proposes will be the “Blue Fleet” once Chihaya departs.  Takao is still a functioning heavy cruiser after all.  And Hyuga is indeed quite in love with the idea of studying Iona and being her subprocessor during this whole endeavor.  Where do Haruna and Kirishima fit into this?  Not quite sure yet.  They look like they could be part of the “Blue Fleet”, or they could just go independent at this point.  One thing’s for sure though, Haruna is done with the Fog.  And it’s not like Kongo hasn’t noticed all these defeated rogue ships leaving her fleet to join Chihaya.  After Haruna leaves, she calls on another battleship to join her, Maya.  It looks like Kongo will be joining the fray now.  And since I find her to be the most intriguing character in this show so far (and I LOVE her character design and style), I’m anxiously looking forward to the next episode.

Episode 8

Here I thought we were getting a throw down, and instead we get almost twenty minutes of conversation.  But you know I don’t think I mind.  The reason is because basic questions have to answered, and now is as good a time for this as any.  You won’t have time for questions the Kongo’s blown you into charred organic matter.

The stage is set for an elongated siege, as Kongo, Maya and six other ships surround Iwo Jima.  The parameters are set and it’s easy to see how things will initially play out.  The problem is that the humans on Iwo Jima won’t be able to withstand a prolonged siege like the mental models can.  And it’s not fully known whether Hyuga can hold together the island’s defenses through Kongo’s assault.  But as usual Chihaya has a calm plan for this situation, and decides to invite the enemy mental models onto the island for a dialogue.  While he meets with the mental models, the human crew preps the sub for what I can only guess is a daring escape.

The meeting is initially an icy one, as Kongo is far from interested in this contact with beings she plans on destroying.  Nevertheless, the cultural exchange continues, and we learn many things through it.

One of the main topics is the Fog’s Admirality Code.  Hyuga breaks it down pretty well, as describing it as the rules to a game, or a dogma.  What Kongo wonders is how and why all the mental models who’ve met Iona and Chihaya have been able to defy such a code.  The way she talks, she makes it seem like humanity is a virus, or at least its thoughts and culture are.  Heh!  It actually reminds me of stuff I’ve heard in other scifi material, like Macross and Men in Black.  And it shows as during their cultural exchange, she never actually allows her or Maya’s cores to go ashore.  They stay on their respective ships, so once Kongo has had enough of Chihaya’s attempts at understanding, she and Maya teleport to their ships and immediately begin attacking.  And now it becomes a matter of defense and escape.

Something I found interesting about this episode is how sharp, yet stubborn Kongo is.  And how she’s just as pivotal to clearing things up in this show as anybody.  She makes it abundantly clear, that Iona at her core is not at all like the other mental models.  And believes that at her core she may have a completely different set of instructions governing her actions, at the very least, her Admirality Code is different or nonexistent.  She likely views Iona and eventually Chihaya as huge threats, but only took such a laid back approach because of her supreme confidence in her ability to end things with her battleship.

I don’t doubt that Chihaya will escape this, just as I didn’t doubt that Kongo would not allow herself to be swayed by Chihaya’s charms so easily at the beginning of this episode.  It’s too early in the game right now.  Plus it would be terribly disappointing if the show’s Big Bad, Kongo were to go down so easily.  I like her style, I like her design, I like her as a character that is just a stone cold wall to humanity and its dreams.  I like how she doesn’t just roll over to our culture and mindset like the other idiot mental models so far.  In short, I appreciate her “hard to get” approach.  If Chihaya wants her, he’s gonna have to try a lot harder.  And that brings me to my next thought about the show.  This really is turning into a harem.  And that worries me a bit, because already all the “eyecandy” mental models are shoving the original crew to the back.  There are times where I really do forget they even exist in this show.  And that’s a bad thing because their characters have hardly been explored.  If they’re really that boring, I’d at least like confirmation that that’s so.  And I swear, if it turns out in the end that I’ve really been watching another Infinite Stratos this entire time, I’m going to be pissed!

Note: I decided to make a little pervy collage for this pair of episodes since technically we did get a beach episode.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to see Kongo outside her dress.

Further Reading:

  1. Xiee
    December 10, 2013 at 04:15

    Nice review~

    What episode is that screenshot of Kongo in? I’m referring to the very first image on your post. Kongo somewhat looking melancholic facing the orange afternoon sky.

  1. December 9, 2013 at 19:02

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