Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova - Episode 2

As this second episode of Arpeggio of Blue Steel opens, there's a formidable challenge on the horizon for Gunzou and Iona being posed by the Fleet of Fog.

As a typhoon rages overhead, the threat in question is posed by another of the Fog's war vessels known as Takao, and we join the battle to find that said vessel is unerringly destroying any decoy ships that Iona happens to toss into their opponent's range of detection.  Although the I-401 could try to skirt around Takao to reach their destination port, the danger if being detected and pursued to said port and the subsequent damage risked by both themselves and the surrounding area is simply too much to contemplate - thus, there's nothing for it other than to strike while the iron's hot and attack before the typhoon subsides to grant the absolute advantage to Takao.

Luckily, it seems that Chihaya Gunzou is rather a proficient (albeit reckless) tactician, and thus this entire episode revolves around his attempts to qualify the capabilities of his opponent via some very deliberate manoeuvres which ultimately reveal a surprising truth - that Takao is hiding another Fog vessel that is enabling her to pinpoint them so accurately.  From there, the mission is "simple" - to split up these two vessels; something which proves to be rather easy when you have a supergravity cannon stashed away on your submarine.

I'm not going to lie - I loved this week's episode of Arpeggio of Blue Steel.  To Hell with any broader narrative, diving into the crew's back story or pondering the wider ramifications of this war against the Fog or what they're actually doing on Earth in the first place - I'd be quite happy if this series pushed most of its context to one side and just focused on kick-ass tactical naval battles as this episode succeeded in doing.  The CG largely fitted it well, the soundtrack is great, and the actual action walked the line between gripping and impressively cool with ease.  In other words, this was a lot of fun to watch, and I really hope that the series can continue in this vein to at least some extent as it seems to be what it's likely to excel at.

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