Home > Episode by Episode > Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova ep10 (selfless self sacrifice)

Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova ep10 (selfless self sacrifice)


What an outstanding, yet subdued episode. With the 401 all but dead, and Chihaya figuratively and literally in the same boat. What we get is the eventual countdown to Chihaya’s death. With Iona being an alien machine of the highest order, it’s easy to see that her survival and escape would be easy enough without her captain, but that obviously isn’t an easy choice to make. It’s the hardest choice. And admirably she doesn’t ever accept it.

What I enjoyed so much about this episode was just the atmosphere and the sense of tension in the episode.  It’s the reason why I’m not giving it a synopsis.  It’s a very simple waiting game being played here, where we watch as Chihaya’s chances continually slip away.  First the sub is sunk (if any Navy or Marine people are reading this feel free to correct my terminology) and that’s the situation we begin with.  Then we learn of the ship’s continually degrading condition, and Iona’s loss of control over the various nano materials  that make up her and the ship’s being.  This shows that there’s absolutely no hope of recovery in any form for the 4o1.  Then the focus becomes life support, and Chihaya’s condition.  And that situation dominates this episode because he’s the main character of the show.  All of it literally revolves around him.  Even as he lay there, his crew and many of the mental models are all worrying about his condition.

Everything in this episode culminates and climaxes with Chihaya’s decision to accept death.  From then on, it’s one amazing decision then another. First Iona gives up her body to save Chihaya, not even knowing if anyone will be able to discover them before he runs out of air.  Then Takao actually shows up to save them, and when she sees Iona’s sacrifice realizes that she can’t win against Iona.  Instead she in turn makes the ultimate sacrifice and gives up her body and her own ship to save them and reconstitute the 401 in totality!  I was pretty hurt to see her do that, even though I knew it was the only way for the main characters to live.  Despite her annoying arguments with Hyuga, she was one of my favorite characters in this show.

Speaking of favorite characters, Kongo seems to no longer be the main enemy of the Blue Steel fleet.  Despite her claims of holding up the Admiralty Code no matter the cost, her recent actions have run her afoul Iona’s sisters, who seem to be the ones really in control.  Kongo’s obsession with the 401 has exposed her wayward thinking.  And the sisters waste no time slipping the rug out from under her.  She’s been under surveillance the entire time. Even Maya, who she thought was a mental model, was just an ordinary program meant to watch Kongo for the sisters.  The joy Kongo felt when she learned the 401 had not been completely destroyed was immediately erased as they revealed all this to her and locked her ship’s systems down completely.  It’s another example of the poor regal Kongo being made a fool again.

Overall, I don’t really have words for how satisfied I am with this episode.  It’s beautiful (yes, I’m calling a full CGI show beautiful), it’s tastefully done, and has good characters.  This episode had romantic, touching moments that were also inspiring.  And while I’m sad to see Takao’s character arc come to an end, it did so successfully.  Her obsession was turned into something tangible, memorable and admirable.  I am thoroughly impressed with this show, and perhaps when the end of the year comes, this episode might get special notice.

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