This week’s “Weak Square” was just what Fam needed. Up until now, Fam, Gisey, and the crew of the Silvius have had ships handed to them on a silver platter, and seemed to expect that future conquests would be just as easy. The unrest that was hinted at earlier between Fam and Gisey proves to be the main chink in Fam’s grand plan to swipe up eight Ades Federation ships at once. And the weaknesses are not constrained to just our protagonists–Vasant is in a precarious position as both a loyal vassal to Augusta Sara, as well as a former leader of the once enemy nation of Keios. As dire as the situations are for all characters not of AF descent, I can’t help but cheer on the current downward spiral.
There were a few short scenes right at the beginning of the episode that were particularly intriguing because of their brevity and vagueness, but I’ll just start off with two for now. The audience listens in with the rest of AF as Augusta Sara gives a speech explaining the bloody actions taken against the “traitors” of their nation, the purge shown in the previous episode. The speech sounds rehearsed and obviously clashes with Sara’s true feelings about the whole ordeal, feelings she shares with Vasant. Her self-loathing for her age and ineptitude as a leader is heartbreaking, since we understand all too well how powerless she is at the moment. Surprisingly, Vasant also sympathizes with the too-young queen.
Vasant’s position in the AF looks less secure than I previously thought. In her introduction in episode six, I thought her ruthless and utterly loyal to AF. However, after the scene with Sara, as well as in a later scene where she speaks with some fellow once-Keios citizens, I’m starting to doubt her allegiance. I’m suspicious that she’s not so much loyal to the nation as she is to its true leader, Sara. Is she acting out of love for Sara, as well as for the survival of her and her people? Or, is she as devious as she appeared in the Conference of Allies? Both? Whatever the case, I have a feeling that a clash between her and Luscinia is bound to happen the closer he gets to power.
A similar uneasiness is becoming more and more apparent in Giselle’s character, aimed at Fam’s zealous plans and their prolonged stay on the Silvius. The warning given by Alis in “Overstep” looks to be staying in Gisey’s mind as she begins to feel the pressure of being Fam’s navigator. I think it’s fair to say that their success so far has been in large part to Gisey’s excellent background information and planning, and not so much because of Fam’s skills. That knowledge is put to the test when the perfect opportunity to complete their contract with a bang arises and Fam happily goes for it with Millia’s blessing. No consultation with Gisey is made, since her assent is assumed in a chance that she herself brought to their attentions. It doesn’t even look like the plan to pirate eight ships at once is told to Captain Tatiana, since Fam looks forward to seeing the surprise on her face. If I was angry with Fam when she gambled Millia for the Nadis, it’s nothing compared now to how I feel about the recklessness Fam portrays here.
One of the more surprising encounters made is Fam and Giselle’s reunion with their family of sky pirates, who coincidentally are after the same skyfish loot as them–eight AF battleships being transported together from the north. As is expected of Fam, she greedily challenges them for the battleships. I once thought her silly competition for a single ship charming, but now it scares me how lighthearted she can be in a confrontation that can easily go wrong.
What follows is an ambush (complete with some cheesy CG explosions), as Fam and the rest of the sky pirates are immediately surrounded by AF battleships intent on exacting revenge. Daresay, “I told you so”? Giselle’s misgivings about the capture come to fruition as all former plans are trashed and the sky pirates try to figure out a way to escape with their lives. The ambush is perfectly executed, since they are trapped within a canyon with no where to run. But hey, this wouldn’t be Fam without some crazy, miraculous Fam idea, right?
In the midst of all the chaos, Fam notices icebergs crashing into the water below, the resulting formation of a gas tornado, and the escape of flocks of grand birds into the cavity created in the clouds above. Armed with Gisey’s further observations, they lead the AF ships into a trap of their own and use the massive explosion of a huge iceberg to propel them and the rest of the sky pirates up into safety. I almost threw a tantrum at the ease and convenience of their escape, but thankfully GONZO felt fit to throw in another ambush for a finishing twist. Upon returning within sight of the Silvius, Fam and Gisey discover that the were followed by yet another AF fleet out to take back Princess Millia and end her newly formed Turan. Alis lets out her frustration at Fam and Gisey’s incompetence in not noticing earlier, and I have to agree. I can’t help but blame the second ambush on their inability to fully pay attention to their surroundings; they are both responsible for not confronting and controlling the emotions that distract them.
All in all, “Weak Square” made some good progress in hacking away at Fam’s invincibility and her unintentional leadership over Giselle. I would like to say that things aren’t going to go so well for them in the next episode, but I have a feeling that the Silvius will pull another miracle with the ship’s mysterious battle capabilities and defeat the AF fleet.