After dismissing Valkyria Chronicles depiction of war as too soft and fluffy numerous times during this series thus far, it seemed as though the last episode was determined to ram those words focribly down my throat in spectacular and daring fashion. Surely they wouldn't.... Have they?.... Yep, that was a pretty surprising way to close out episode seventeen, and no mistake.
If you thought that the end of that episode was simply a cliff-hanger to get you worrying for a week before revealing that everything is okay, then think again - Isara really is no more. Needless to say, this makes for a decidedly depressing and difficult to watch episode, as squad seven attend her funeral, and the fallout from her death extends from Welkin (who hides the self-pity in which he is wallowing beneath his efficient exterior) all the way downwards, with Rosie amongst the worst affected of all.
The only real positive to come from this instalment is that Alicia finally admits her feelings for Welkin, although even this is bittersweet as the latter outwardly shows little interest in this fact in the midst of the grief with which he is consumed.
Despite having enjoyed Valkyria Chronicles thus far, I honestly thought that I hadn't really invested myself into it too much emotionally - It was fun to watch, but it isn't like I really genuinely cared for any of the characters, right? Well, so much for that idea, as the tears that this episode made me shed did away with that concept entirely. It seems like this is one of those series that manages to get under your skin without you even noticing, and all of Isara's character development during the series has obviously paid off to leave me genuinely saddened by her death, and equally pained by the reactions of her comrades (and brother of course) to her loss. Really, I don't think I can pay this series a greater compliment than that - Any show that can reduce you to tears on account of some animated characters and their plight deserves at least some praise for delivering that heightened emotional state to you, as it isn't all that easy to do. Having said that, hopefully we can return to some happier times for episode nineteen, lest tissues become a more important commodity in my household.