Finally, we see the childhood of Ikta and Igsem! And they are just as adorable as you would expect!
Ikta lives with his father, his mother, and his teacher. My previous assumption that he found Anrai Kahn after his parents deaths was wrong. Anrai Kahn lived with Bada, Yuhka and Ikta, as well as other students. They appear to live in a small village, with a stable and a kitchen and other amenities. Bada is a middle aged man who is quite handsome. Yuhka is young and beautiful. The atmosphere between the family members is causal. They have dinner together and tease one another. It is easy to see where Iktas current personality comes from. His home life was not like what you would expect from a General. There was no yelling, dress codes or strict regimes. Ikta pretty much had the run of the place, and was given daily ‘missions’ that would require him to be creative, which would have helped developed his current battle tactics.
Igsems father was a typical military parent, training his daughter, and expecting a mini soldier if her. Igsem behaves very stiffly, even after being sent to General Bada as a study abroad experience. Ikta points out her stiffness, and she admits to never having met someone her own age. Ikta happily involves her in his daily missions, and the competitive streak in her pushes her to complete some of the missions on her own, demonstrating her cunning and skill.
Igsem also understands the concept of science as well. Anrai Kahn explains what science is, and in her own words she is able to relay back to them a definition. She seems rather accepting of the beliefs the scientists hold, especially when the scientific theories are used to create ice-cream!
After a short time period, the two accompany two of the science students on a geological expedition, but the students forget an important piece of equpiment. Igsem and Ikta remain at the cabin that is set up for day missions like these, while the students head back to camp to retrieve the equipment. Wolves then surround the cabin, hungry. Ikta is not the lead in this defensive mission. Igsem takes command of the two of them, protecting the two of them. Ikta uses a short crossbow, but he is clearly not used to battles or bloodshed. He does insist on them working together though. When cornered in a hidden compartment, they agree to be ‘each others left and right hand’ which is what Ikta says to Igsem after the battle with Captain Ison. He is her left hand. She is Iktas right hand.
The two end up fleeing the cabin when the wolves break through the walls, setting the cabin on fire, and trapping the remaining wolves inside. Their aim had been to drive them away if possible, but they were too persistent.
Two of the wolves survive, but give up after their cub shows up . The two wolves abandon Ikta and Igsem, and retreat into the forest. Igsem and Ikta wait for the sunrise on the ashes of the cabin.
A narration tells us that shortly after that incident, General Bada was jailed, and Ikta and his mother disappeared. An unknown number if years later, Ikta returns, alone, and approaches Igsem to ‘rescue her’
Understanding Iktas personality is easier now that we know at least half of his story. The next question is whether General Bada being jailed has to do with Igsem, considering he was jailed during or shortly after her stay at his home. He does seem like the type of person to stick his neck out for someone weaker, like a child. Perhaps he wanted to have her stay longer, to train her as he trained Ikta, with a more analytical strategy instead of strict military tactics.
A second possible offence could be Bada was ordered to hurt or kill someone, and he refused. If it was someone who was innocent or weak I can see Bada refusing that order. Although if he was rewarded for his efforts, in the form of his wife, then the military knew of his tactic style, and would be stupid to order him into a situation that they knew he would not complete. Perhaps it has to do with a more political struggle, where he was intentionally ordered into a situation that he had to refuse, cornering him between going against himself or going against the emperor, similar to what Captain Hazaf had been in.
The disappearing act of Ikta and his mother is interesting. Yuhka didn’t appear as a particularly strong woman. She appeared happy in her role as mother, and for the most part, compliant. We see her being soft towards Igsem, and considerate, and for the most part, in the kitchen. We didn’t see her involved with anything military or scientific. We don’t know if Anrai Kahn accompanied Yuhka and Ikta either. The narration only includes Ikta and his mother. We don’t know where they could have went, but we do know that Iktas mother passes away. Nowhere does Ikta mention that she was killed, so the most likely scenario is that she was sick, either before they fled, or after. They may have stayed with someone who had the Solork name, or created that name themselves to protect themselves.
Ikta claiming to ‘rescue’ Igsem isn’t much of a mystery. It is presented as a cliffhanger statement, but it isn’t. She is a military child, and at this point, Iktas hatred for the military is set in stone. He is rescuing her from a life of being a military pawn. He is most likely going to try and persuade her to run away from home, but at this point Igsem is already committed to being in the military. She has been training her whole life, and he abandoned her all those years ago.
It doesn’t tell us how much time passes before Ikta returns to Igsem, nor how much time is between his return and the events of episode 1. The two seem to have rekindled their friendship though, becoming more comfortable with one another. I mean, Igsem regularly beats Ikta when he goes too far, and understands his tactics in battle scenarios. We don’t know if Igsem still lives with her father, or where Ikta lives at all, pre-episode 1. Now they all reside at the High Officer School.
The fire effects were pretty weak, in terms of the light given. The flames didn’t flicker against Igsem or the wall. It was just solid. The sounds of the fire was okay, wood cracking and such.
The color scheme in general was a more softer, pastel palette while at General Badas home. The atmosphere was laid back and calm. The night time color scheme ended up being more grey and red. Blood wasn’t that prevalent when wolves were injured, but the squishy sound of metal on skin was like an extra squishy sponge.
The design and details in the backgrounds, both nature and buildings were outlineless, as usual and slightly blurry depending how far away they were supposed to be. The cabin walls were detailed well, but the way the wood broke when attacked by the wolves was unrealistic. The plank would not cleanly break in two, allowing a full grown wolf to slide through 1 plank hole. It would fracture, one half would dislodge, and the second half would have to be pushed as well.
The wolves themselves were poorly detailed. There were approximately 5 wolves, and they were all generally the same color, but they did not have any fur detail, or shading. Even their faces were basic, eyes, black nose, grey fur. The Cub at the end, barely had a shape. You couldn’t tell it was a cub until the two older wolves joined it before running away.
We didn’t see too much of Igsem sword fighting directly. There was a scene in the beginning in which she was fighting imaginary soldiers for training, but during the wolf fight, the screen would blacken when Igsem stuck a wolf.
The next episode may not be as exciting as we hope, if the cliffhanger is rescuing Igsem from the Military life. We know that she does not escape, if she escaped then she would not be able to attend High Officer School. If the episode goes into more detail about Badas imprisonment and Iktas disappearance, then that would be preferable. It’s a very interesting story, I am enjoying it much more than I thought I would. The military jargon is not over used, to the point of not being able to understand what’s going on.