Once again a big hello to everyone joining us once again for AMAIM. How are you Scott? did anything interesting happen this week? I know that you’ve been pretty busy and we all wonder what you’ve been up to. 

 for myself, it’s been a pretty boring week. I mean there was a lot of work but nothing really of note happened at all. That’s why it’s always good to get together with friends and discuss anime. It’s a little fun on Monday evening and we can all use more fun in our Monday’s right?

Hi Irina, things have been a little bit busier for me recently indeed. Just trying some things to help me with some job stuff and that required going on a tour to see a manufacturing floor, a lot of meetings and powerpoint presentations, and other things. So that was what took up a lot of my time last week and it’s going to take up more time here for me for a while. Still pretty boring stuff on my end too but that’s ok.

I think boring weeks are ok sometimes. Not everything has to be exciting? There is an old cure that says “Maybe you live in interesting times” and well…yeah. I think that is the worst curse of all.

 I remember someone in the comments mentioning that Amou’s change in personality might have been due to him having had to kill someone in the past 8 months. At the time, I thought that was a pretty great guess.  However, the shows seemed unwilling to either confirm or deny the hypothesis. This week we’re finally getting an answer.

Were you as curious as me, to find out what had happened in the past eight months?

Yeha, I was absolutely interested in knowing what happened in the past 8 months of Amou’s life.

I had a feeling that person was right because that was my guess too. I feel like him taking some larger dramatic choices like taking a life for the first time would change something as pure as Amou there too. 

I said turn out, Amou actually had it pretty good at first. I thought Gai theatre was pretty adorable. I dunno, it just seemed like such a great and unusual yet down-to-earth way to use a complex AI. I know that’s what I would do with one.  It’s not the sort of thing you expect to see in a wartime anime.

In fact, the entire bunker situation was unexpectedly comfortable looking. I knew right from the start that they were luring me into a false sense of security. Amou was clearly traumatized by something. But I still fell for it. I wanted to stay there a bit longer. And boy was I nervous for those kids.

You know a piece of media is good when it’s doing the predictable in such a good way. I honestly saw that bunker and it did feel like a comfy home with a larger military tint to it. Especially with those kids and just the comfy environment even in the middle of training there too. 

That false sense of security really does get me everytime. I really think I am getting more and more sappy as I get older when something like that will hit me so hard. It’s crazy, but I think that could be consider ok too.  

Of course, as expected the feces hit the fan. I mentioned it a few episodes ago but I feel like there’s been a definite shift towards the more serious drama in this second cour. And it was certainly on display this week.

I have to say, as far as I was concerned, it was effective. I found this entire sequence downright tough to watch. I could plainly feel Amou’s panic and desperation. And in the end, even though the children surprisingly (to me) survived, I was no less left completely understanding Amou’s trauma.

It wasn’t only that he killed someone, although that was certainly part of it. It was everything else as well. What did you think of the scene, Scott?

It was a pretty classic scene of a war scenario where an innocent person has to take up arms and has to shoot or he dies. So obviously he isn’t used to using a gun, but it’s all he has to keep the children alive. The real terrors of war really hit Amou in that moment and honestly.

It was a bit of a cliche there, but he was a stray kid who ended up with a mecha and ended up doing much more than that considering how much he’s done since the beginning. But yeah, he just fought against ai and mecha in his own mecha, so there hasn’t been human contact with death and feelings like during those moments too.

What gets me is that Amou could have died in that moment too. He only shot one person and if he wasn’t saved he would have got taken down too. There is so much tension in small moments that can just change people, so I think pretty positively about it. 

If I were to nitpick. I would say that Amou is supposed to be a soldier. Sure he joined the rebellion due to circumstance rather than choice but ultimately, he’s a frontline fighter in a war. Something like this was going to happen. And he had seen camps destroyed and lost friends before. He should have been at least a little prepared for the outcome.

But I also get it. Part of it is exaggerated for drama. However, another part is the fact that Amou is a bit like a drone pilot. When he’s sitting in an AMAIM, there’s a pretty definite physical and emotional separation from the actual battle. It might all be true but he is still viewing things through a screen. And he was never directly present for the killings of civilians in the past. This was a pretty different situation. And it probably made him rethink everything he’s lived up until now so the shock of past events is finally hitting him fully.

Oh jeez, I jumped the gun a bit. Ok, the secrets out that this wasn’t written as a conversation between all of us. I am responding much later than when Irina sent this to me. A lot of my thoughts about this event came from the last paragraph I wrote.

Is mentioning this fourth wall breaking or is it something else? Anyway….

I have to say, this episode was much more emotionally potent than I had expected. It made it difficult to pay too close attention to the political machinations happening in the B plot. But I still did. Although we didn’t learn much other than German is no one’s friend and we pretty much already knew that.

I will say two things here. First, I found that the art was much more inconsistent this episode than in past ones. I mostly noticed it in scenes where Brad was present but there were some hiccups throughout. 

Second, I once mentioned that Brad Watt sounds like the name you give an American character if you have never spoken to someone from the States before or you want to make a parody. Maybe it wasn’t entirely fair. I’m sure there is someone named Brad Watt out there. It’s just so incredibly stereotypical sounding to me. But I was wrong. Joe Spears is the name you give to an American character if you want to make them a parody!!!

Honestly, I’ll take it. Joe Spears is added to my new last of genetic America names here. John Smith used to be the classic sort of name that even came with the “John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith, his name is my name too” sort of thing, but honestly, Joe Spears is just so much better of an insert name.

Yeah, the B plot with Brad Wyatt was so strange. It was so odd to me that it was used to cut between sequences in a flashback. I am pretty sure I’ve never seen an anime do that. Sure, there was important political things for Brad to do his little plots here and move his ghost program forward, but couldn’t it wait until the flashback was done? It kind of made me a bit annoyed.

And Irina, you are so right about how off model Brad looked just sitting down in a chair. That was like “wow”. I am not always the most perceptive person when it comes to this stuff, but that was really bad and it was cut between some really solid art and animation from just a normal fight scene with guns and chasing down hallways. So strange. 

Scott, last week you there out the idea that since the balance of power had shifted in favour of the Americans with ghost on their side, this might lead to an alliance of convenience between the other forces and the rebels. It didn’t happen this week but it’s still very much a possibility and I would love to see that happen.

Do you still think it’s a likely outcome?

I have a feeling that it could happen, Irina. Especially since everyone is going to war in the next episode. If I am wrong, you can definitely call me out on it. But I still expect at least a small bit of a truce or something. 

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