Nejimaki has become more about military strategy than I initially thought it would be. It is similar to Break Blade in that regard. There is a military plotline focused on the war and the personal plotline between individual characters.
A lot is revealed about Ikta this episode, after they return home. They are able to return home using Iktas cunning and acting skills to convince the Kioka Army, enemy to the Empire, to send them back home. He claimed a man was holding an incredibly expensive blimp hostage and would only return it if his family was returned safely.
Once they reach the Empires soil, the 5 of them are housed in a luxury hotel for a month before the Emperor calls them for an audience. He is going to reward them. He is going to make them Imperial Knights.
Now this may seem like an honor, they were going to take the Higher Officers test so that they could attend a school to become Imperial Knights, but Ikta is furious. He does not want to be an Imperial Knight at all. But this is the first stepping stone to him becoming the Lazy General foreshadowed in episode 1.
Now we find out a lot about Ikta Solork in this episode. He is not low born. His father is, or was, General Bada Sankrei. His father disobeyed an order and was jailed for it, where he died in prison. His mother is/was Yuhka Sankrei, a woman brought over from the Kioka Republic, and given to Bada as a gift. She has since passed away. His fathers position held would explain the relationship between Igsem and Ikta, both being from noble family’s.
When Ikta was orphaned and changed his name, he abandoned the noble lifestyle.
It is assumed he went on to live with his Teacher, a man named Anrai Kahn. He is mostly likely responsible for Iktas reasoning and clever thinking. Ikta uses phrases such as ‘unscientific’, attributing their creation and definition to his teacher. Anrai Kahn fled to Kioka.
Ikta is also concerned about the sprites of the world. When the enemy attacks and are defeated, he confronts the small sprites, letting them know that heir partners have died. He offered to rejuvenate the sprites at a church, which I think is something similar to resetting them to be partnered with someone else. He takes the soul stones offered, and memorizes the sprites names. We don’t see him go into a church but a month does pass after they visit the emperor. After being appointed, Ikta gets angry with the princess for trapping them, and becomes even more angry when she boastfully reveals all of his personal information he had kept hidden, especially when she starts on his mother.
The military tactics used include the creation of the 5 as imperial Knights. The Empire suffered a loss in both territory and General. The loss was expected and planned, and was used to purposefully destroy the Eastern Land. Ikta knew the reason was to ‘throw the battle’ but the General would not, or could not listen. The General could not disobey the Emperor, so instead he died in battle.
With the heavy loss, the people of the Empire need new hero’s. The 5 students who rescued the Princess from the Republic are ripe for the position.
The animation style is not as picturesque as in the first episode. There is less movement when it comes to the fire, the shadows and flames do not flicker. Although during a scene in a horse drawn carriage the sunlight coming in through the windows fit a pattern that would imply they were passing trees.
The water animation is less realistic. Everything had a sort of fuzzy feel, or a color gradient. The outlines were not sharp, but not fuzzy on a bad way. Sunlight was diffused through windows nicely, but the wind was inconsistent. When the wind is blowing curtains but not Igsems hair, it looks off.
Facial expressions weren’t the episodes strong suit either. Ikta, who is usually calm and collected attempted to look angry, but failed ten ways from Sunday. The anger in his face did not look like anger at all, it looked more like mild fear. The Princesses face showed fear through her shaking pupils and such.
Also, memories or backtrack scenes had a weird sepia filter overtop, that did not look good. There were 3 scenes, that were not memories, but were backtracking to explain an element or event from a group perspective in which the sepia lifter appeared. It was all new information, and relevant to the story. I dint know why it was shown out of order, it would have worked fine story wise if the events were told in order of occurrence.
The setting also seemed a bit Indian. The outfits the characters had to wear to face the emperor resembled Saris, and the hair ornaments and hairstyle the Princess is seen in resemble those of Indian culture. Even names such as Bada, and Kahn sound like they come from Indian names. This may be just a style preference though.
Two of the characters, Matthew and Haroma were pretty excluded this episode, so the next episode may focus on them, or it may stay with Igsem and Ikta. There will definitely be a childhood memory of the two though. There has to be, with the reveal of Iktas parents they have to show how the two met.