The last episode of the first season, titled “What Would Itami Do?”, started by giving us a clear understanding of what the fire dragon did to Yao Ha Dushi’s people. To put it succinctly, it massacred them. I’ve always liked Gate’s animation, and I have to say that seeing the dragon ruthlessly burning dark elves to death was almost hard to take. After telling us that 220 of her people died (including her fiancé), the scene cuts to the remaining elders explaining Yao Ha Dushi’s mission to her: bring the green people to help even if she has to use her body to do it.
Gate’s always impressed me with its realism. In a sense, this is just another example. But seeing a warrior as proud and strong as Yao Ha Dushi ordered to do this and accepting it even knowing what the mission means (it’s clear she’s no fool) really affected me.
The world can be cruel if you don’t surround yourself with the right people.
The narratives returned to where Episode 11 left off, with the dark elf approaching the base on Alnus Hill. It almost broke my heart to see her so happy to have found the green people — only to find that almost none of them could understand her language. Some locals who had taken up residence in the refugee camp offered to help her, but they only wanted to take advantage of her (use her for sex). Of course, she could more than take care of herself. She sent each of them away with more than just bruised egos. But even that got turned against her: the misogynists who she fought off reported her to the Military Police (MPs) as a mugger. She found this out when she entered the PX and heard the cashier talking to two Japanese Self Defense Force (JDF) soldiers. Yao Ha Dushi begs her to help, but the cashier can’t part with her translation book because she’d be fired. The dark elf resorted to begging.
It was hard for me to see Yao Ha Dushi beg. Again, she’s so strong, so proud, and so capable. Yet, she couldn’t even communicate with the green people who she’s convinced can help her.is
That’s when two MPs walked in and saw the dark elf who matched the description from the unsavory men. They took her into custody as if she were a common mugger. Her mission’s not going well so far.
Fortunately for her, the SDF needed a translator, so they called for Lelei, who was practicing her magic after augmenting it with Earth’s knowledge of chemistry. She began talking to Yao Ha Dushi even as Myutie, a harpie acting as an MP, conducted an interrogation of some the dark elf’s alleged victims. The interview was cut short when an SDF solider brought the good news that Yao Ha Dushi was innocent. Unfortunately for her, that just meant she was back at square one. Except that now, she’s with Lelei, who offered to help.
The dark elf’s streak of bad luck continued, though, when General Hazama explained that he can’t risk a major diplomatic incident by sending troops into Schwartz Woods, her homeland, which was outside of the empire. Of course, she’s crushed. Lelei doesn’t seem to help when she says, “You should give up.” To his credit, the general seemed like he really wanted to help her, but circumstance constrained him. That didn’t comfort Yao Ha Dushi. I felt terrible for her. Her mission and her people hung in the balance, and she thought she had failed. That’s when Lieutenant Akira Yanagida told her, “Itami might do it… If it were to save the people he cares about, he might just do it.”
Meanwhile, Itami was riding in a helicopter along with the new diplomat on their way to deliver diplomatic goods to Princess Pina Co Lada (and sorry, but I have to say it again: really? Named after an alcoholic beverage — even though it’s tasty?).
The Princess said she wanted to vet the new diplomat, but we all know she really showed up to receive the shipment of newly translated “art.” It’s not my taste, but hey, I’m not a Princess. Of course, Itami had to mess with her by pretending he doesn’t know what she’s asking for.
The scene switched back to Alnus, where Lelei was trying to console Lao Ha Dushi with St. John’s Wort tea. The two had stopped at an Inn where the Princess’ knights were busily translating more “art.” The butler for the knights, who servered them exquisite tea and pastries from Japan, was actually an intelligence offer. His main concern seems to be how he’s going to report to his superiors in Japan that the knights were working on BL translations!
At the same inn were a number of SDF solders, like Team 1 Commander Colonel Kamo, Team 4 Commander Colonel Kengun, and 401st Company Lieutenant Colonel Youga. They all seemed to feel terrible about not being able to help the dark elf. They talked among themselves to figure out how they’d defeat the fire dragon. The consensus was that, as the General feared, they’d need a significant force — a force that would embroil the SDF in a diplomatic incident that would end up with those in command being hauled in front of the Japanese Diet.
See a pattern forming in this episode?
When they parted, Lelei told Lao Ha Dushi to go the dorms where she’d find a safe place to sleep. The dark elf was agonizing over her next move. Should she try to buy off an SDF officer? Seduce one? Then she remembered the phrase: “Itami might do it.”
The scene switched back to Itami as he said goodbye to the Princess. They shared a goal: “Peace between the Empire and Japan!”
After Itami left, the Princess revealed to one of her knights that she hadn’t personally come just to get her “art.” She’d come to get a translation of Itami’s deeds that her other knights had translated from Japanese newspapers. The rest of the episode built up Itami’s deeds: defending Japan from the initial invasion; destroying the allied nations’ forces at Alnus hill; protecting the refugees from Coda village; standing with the Princess and her knights at Italica.
“Just who is he?” the Princess wondered.
As they rode back in a wagon to Alnus, Sergeant Mari Kurokawa told the team that the children refugees from Coda Village had said thank you to the Third Recon Team — in Japanese. Itami said out loud that he hopes peace comes soon. He obviously loves this land (and Japan, too), and wanted to enjoy both. I got the sense that he wanted everyone to enjoy themselves.
I’m sad to see the first season come to an end. Though some characters like Tuka didn’t feel fully developed, others like Rory, Itami, and the Princess felt fleshed out and realistic to me. I continue to enjoy the anime’s realistic depiction of politics, technology, and characters. It’s such a relief not to see a male character get a nose bleed from seeing a naked female! I’m really looking forward to the next season.