To call the previous episode of Valkyria Chronicles melancholy would be a pretty gross understatement; if you were expecting happier times from this nineteenth instalment of the series however, let's just say it would be best if you have some tissues handy just in case.
Following directly on from the last episode, we find ourselves continuing with Squad 7's life in the grip of the grief and unspoken emotions which have welled up following Isara's death; Welkin and Alicia continue to talk on a purely professional basis, seemingly unaware of the concerns of their fellow squad members. These two aren't the only pair with things on their mind however, as Faldio also has some intriguing thoughts surrounding Alicia's heritage which leaves him unsure of which path to tread next.
However, no matter what personal feelings are bouncing around there's still a war on, and thus Squad 7 are given their next assignment - To take the town of Bruhl as part of the Gallian advance. Of course, this location has been chosen precisely because it's the home of both Welkin and Alicia (amongst other members of the squad), and it's probably not too much of a spoiler to say that their homecoming is a successful and relatively-trouble free one in military terms.
What is surprising (to me at least) is just how much emotional depth Valkyria Chronicles has managed to convey over the past couple of episodes - The last instalment was obviously going to be emotional with plenty of material to work with, yet if anything this episode is even harder to watch, and once again come the end of it all I was left having shed a tear or two. For a series that I haven't invested myself in hugely from an emotional perspective prior to the events of recent episodes, it's a definite feather in the cap of this show that it has managed to ramp up my emotions and move me this much; supposedly greater shows have tried and failed in this regard.
It almost feels odd to be crying over a series that I've jokingly sneered at for not giving war due deference in the way it was handled previously - How times change... And although feeling sad and upset at the end of this episode is perhaps not something to look forward to per se, it is a ringing endorsement of how Valkyria Chronicles has portrayed both its major characters and what could have been a decidedly tricky storyline.