I’m pretty late with this one, but I have now returned from the abyss of business. So let’s just jump straight into this one.
Last weeks ēlDLIVE delivered the most emotionally charged and narratively engaging episode so far and this most recent episode not only managed to deliver the same experience, but also managed to exceed it in every single way imaginable.
In the previous episode we were introduced to some of the members of Demille and were given a look into Chuta’s past and how he became the emotionally distant and damaged person he is. And on top of all that, it was also revealed that Chuta’s childhood friend Gucchi, who he believed to be dead, is actually alive and is now a member of Demille and actively out for Chuta’s blood.
In this weeks episode, things pick up exactly where they left off, with Chuta and Gucchi confronting one another in a conflict of ideals. Through Gucchi, we learn exactly what Demille is after. It turns out they’re after Dolugh and plan to extract him from Chuta’s body. What do they want with a monatalien? It’s still unclear, but we all know it can’t be for anything good.
While these two childhood friends are confronting one another, the two henchmen from the previous episode show up, with both Misuzu and Chips in tow, knocked out by their sleep inducing SPH. With his friends unable to save him and faced with the predicament of fighting his best friend, Chuta is given a proposition. Either allow Gucchi to sever Dolugh from his body willingly and give up being a member of ēlDLIVE or have Gucchi extract Dolugh by force, killing Chuta in the process.
And Chuta is mentally broken by this predicament. He doesn’t want to fight Gucchi but he also doesn’t want to give up on Dolugh or his newly found friends and ideals. This moment was incredibly emotional, as for the first time ever, we see that Chuta really has grown to care about all the comrades he’s become acquainted with through his experiences as a member of ēlDLIVE. Misuzu, Laine and even Dolugh whom he frequently complains about have all become people precious to him, and something he wants to protect. He wants to do the right thing.
So what does he do?
He does the complete opposite of what he would normally do and he stands up to Gucchi and Demille, all the while confidently stating that he is a Space Police Officer and that Gucchi and his comrades are under arrest. It may sound silly on paper, but damn, it was freaking epic! It’s incredible how much Chuta has grown in such a small amount of time and this moment of raw emotion and complete badassery was the perfect way to showcase that growth.
And to make matters more complicated for Demille, it turns out Misuzu isn’t out of commission. She ate one of the anti-sleep SPH candies from the previous episode and was faking sleep the whole time to perform an unexpected sneak attack. She takes out the two henchman with little effort, and instantly proceeds to attack Gucchi.
And what we get here, is the first real fight scene in ēlDLIVE.
I’ll be honest, while the action scenes thus far have been pretty entertaining, they’ve been a little lacking. Both in their fight choreography and their emotional impact. But this fight, between Misuzu and Gucchi, was absolutely breathtaking. Perhaps it’s because I really like Gucchi’s weapons, those SPH swords are awesome after all, but I was really drawn into it and was blown away by how awesome this fight was, even if it was fairly brief. It was also really well animated and Pierrot did a good job. I can’t believe I’m saying those words. It’s been years since Pierrot managed to impress me with an action sequence as much as this.
Anyway, when all is said and done, Misuzu gets knocked out and Chuta gets involved in the skirmish and winds up impaling Gucchi through the heart, shattering a Demille symbol attached to his body. Gucchi then smiles and says they “can finally talk”.
In a shocking twist it turns out Gucchi isn’t as bad as we thought he was and was only pretending to be an evil, sadistic monster because Demille were monitoring his every move through the device Chuta just destroyed. He’s working for Demille and he’s a Captain of one of their squads, but his intentions are far from evil like the rest of their members. He’s pretending to be working under their agenda, when in fact he actually doesn’t intend to hurt Chuta at all, and is only a member because they saved him from death when he fell from the cliff as a child by reconstructing his body through SPH. Gucchi believes he can do a lot of good working undercover within Demille. While Chuta doesn’t necessarily seem too happy with his methods or reasoning, he accepts it and understands his motives.
Shortly after their chat, Misuzu wakes up and attacks Gucchi, with Gucchi telling Chuta to keep the secret to himself and tell no one at ēlDLIVE what he’s learned. So Chuta does just that, and continues pretending that the both of them are enemies, and it’s heartbreaking but also really interesting from a narrative standpoint.
Some people may be slightly disappointed by this twist, but I for one really liked it. Far too many Shounen Anime present the cliche of the childhood friend turned villain/rival, yet this show decided to do the complete opposite. It presented the situation as the standard one, then suddenly deconstructed the whole idea by doing the complete opposite instead, and I really appreciated that. It was a unique touch.
Afterwards, Gucchi escapes, and Chuta and Misuzu return to the ship where we get an epic space battle between the ēlDLIVE and Demille ship and it’s totally awesome. There are a lot of really awesome military tactics not unlike those scene in the average military mecha series, and it was really engaging. We also finally got to see Laine take something seriously, instead of joking around, which was great. The space battle was fantastic both as a visual spectacle and as a solid piece of psychological warfare and I loved every minute of it.
Naturally, ēlDLIVE manage to drive Demille and Gucchi off for the time being, but this most certainly won’t be the last we see of them.
Afterwards, Chuta revisits Gucchi’s grave and removes the flowers he left, smiling at the knowledge that his best friend is still alive and hasn’t changed. He runs into Gucchi’s mother who apologises for blaming him back then for her sons death and the two share a really emotionally heartwarming moment.
Finally, back on the ship, Chuta and Misuzu share a moment, where Misuzu finally does the unthinkable and compliments Chuta. Seems she’s not so bad after all. Maybe these two kids really can be friends.
Unfortunately, this touching moment is rudely interrupted when Misuzu is suddenly placed under arrest for aiding and abetting a criminals escape and is taken away for questioning. The episode abruptly ends afterwards and I want more!
As a Manga reader, I already know the answer to any questions I may have about what this arrest means, but that doesn’t mean I’m not ridiculously excited to see it get adapted. Why has Misuzu been arrested? Who did she aid the escape of? Did she even aid a criminal in the first place? What’s going on?!
Well, you’ll need to wait for next week. It’s good. Trust me.
This episode was absolutely phenomenal. It took everything that made the previous episode so great and engaging and increased it all tenfold. We got an incredibly well animated and entertaining fight scene, we got some awesomely directed space warfare with tactics, we had more emotionally engaging narrative moments and we had two awesome plot twists in the form of Gucchi’s real motives and Misuzu’s arrest.
ēlDLIVE has everything I could ever want in a show. It is a prime example of how to do a battle Shounen well, and it does it so well that I keep being more and more impressed with every episode.
It was off to a fairly slow start, but it’s finally got there and it’s only going to keep getting better from here.
This show is incredible and I am still loving every moment of it.
Keep soaring high ēlDLIVE!
Note: With this post, I am now back to regular posting. Sorry for the delays everyone, I’ll be pushing out posts as much as I can to make up for lost time. Thank you for all the support as always!