A brief respite before another battle!
Episode 4 reunites Shin with his friends, at least for a while. The legion is advancing once more, and Giad is preparing for a heavy defense.
The entire episode focuses on character interactions and more backstory for Frederica and her knight, Kiriya. This is a breathe of fresh air from the depressing events last week, though the atmosphere here in this episode remains grim despite several lighthearted moments.
Aside from the clever foreshadowing of a bloody battle through the presence of crows, it is clear that Eugene’s death still lingers on Shin, though our Reaper, as always, remains stoic and nearly emotionless. Despite that, life goes on, and we see him and the rest of the gang enjoying a respite while participating in the briefing of Giad’s top commanders.
It is interesting to note in these scenes that Grethe takes Shin’s advices into account when developing the Reginleif, even though Shin kept calling it them Juggernauts. Unfortunately, the Reginleifs are just barely an improvement, a fact that Grethe wishes to rectify in her next prototypes. This stems from the fact that she was once a Vanagandr pilot, and so she knew how dangerous and difficult the mobile weapons are.
Thus, it is also not a surprise that she would request her unit to spearhead the defense, considering that the Nordlicht Squadron has the highest kill count. Though the commanders are skeptical of Grethe’s tactics, and some are adamant on keeping the Eighty-Six safe, no one could deny that only the Nordlicht has the best chance of surviving the Legion offensive.
With that, everyone readies for battle. But before everything else, Frederica has a heart-to-heart talk with Shin. Their interactions so far has been progressing, and we can see Shin really caring for the little Empress. But more than that, we finally learn more about the fall of the Giad Empire, and about Kiriya, Frederica’s former knight.
Kiriya’s backstory is really tragic, especially when we consider the pain he has suffered after Frederica was pronounced dead by Ernst in his attempt to keep her safe from the rebels. Unlike Shin, though, Kiriya lost all his will to live, leading to his assimilation by the Legion. Frederica’s guilt, and her advices to Shin, are then understandable,
Nevertheless, it is notable that Frederica often mentions Kiriya whenever Shin is around, and it is not just because Kiriya was a member of the Nouzen clan, though not related to Shin, but also because they are both alike and also different in so many ways, and Frederica could sometimes see her knight in Shin.
Overall, episode 4 is more about Frederica’s history with Kiriya, and the brewing battle between Giad and the Legion. There are some funny moments, but the backstories of several characters and the insights they give are definitely the highlights.
Episode score: 8/10.