The Nordlicht Squadron takes the fight to the Morpho!
Episode 19 is an epic episode from start to finish. The operation to destroy the Morph continues, and it is clear from the start that it will not be an easy task. Morpho’s defenders move in to protect the seemingly defenseless ultimate weapon, forcing Grethe to eject the Nordlicht Squadron prematurely.
There are several details here that makes the drop scene simple yet realistic, one that is prevalent throughout the series. While a typical mecha series would go for flash and style, where the robots would jump in from a high altitude, 86 goes for a more grounded approach by having Nordlicht drop using several platforms equipped with parachutes, preventing damage to their Reginleifs.
Unfortunately, this mean that Grethe would have to find her way back to base along with her co-pilot, though this did not seem to have been a problem for her as she is seen alive during the second half of the episode. And it seems she shares some history with Willem, implied by their dialogue. We get to also know a bit more about Grethe’s rather tragic love life.
Back with Shin, everything seems to be going smoothly despite the heavy defenses surrounding the Morpho. At first glance, it looks like the Nordlicht Squadron managed to do the impossible and corners the Morpho in a vicious assault. The machine itself is truly massive, and its presence, as well as the accompanying background music, lends a haunting atmosphere to its activation sequence.
However, there is something terribly wrong with the situation, and it is only through Frederica’s timely warning that the Nordlicht survived an attack… from the real Morpho.
The presumed demise of the squadron sends the command staff reeling and call for drastic countermeasures, though Ernst remains calm and composed while criticizing his generals for their contingency plan. It speaks volumes about the level of trust he has placed in Shin and the others, and the scene itself cements his sincerity for them. Nevertheless, the fears are baseless since all of the squadron survives.
As it turns out, the real Morpho was transferred into a spare machine, lying dormant until the Legion has effectively lured Nordlicht into a clever trap. It’s the reason why Shin couldn’t even detect Kiriya earlier, which makes the fallen Nouzen more dangerous than anything they have ever faced. Fortunately, the Nordlicht recovers and initiates a counterattack.
There is a clear distinction between Shin and Kiriya despite belonging to the same clan, and the fact that they brutal in their own way. Kiriya is cunning and intelligent, perhaps even more than Shin, but he is hindered by his arrogance and violent nature. On the other hand, Shin’s flaw is his suicidal attitude and lack of self-preservation, which almost costs his and his group’s lives.
It’s a good thing that the Morpho is ordered by the enigmatic No Face to retreat despite Kiri’s obvious displeasure. One interesting to note is how Kiri is seemingly more in control of himself than Shourei did, to the point that No Face had to repeat the order at least twice. This is emphasized when during the retreat, Kiri remembers Frederica to a greater degree than Shourei had to Shin, even down to his last moments with the child Empress. It only shows that perhaps Kiri has a stronger mind to be able to retain a part of his independence and memories, or it could be that he was intentionally granted that level of freedom due to his role in the Legion.
Speaking of Frederica, it looks like our dear memory reader has snuck in with Fido’s help. The scene involving her discovery by Shin and the group is funny, though there is a bit of a serious tone added when Shin gives her a gun should everything fails, to use on herself. It is unsettling considering her age, but we can’t deny that it is a better fate than the unspoken alternative.
Frederica’s presence in the battlefield presents a complication. However, her decision has obviously stemmed from her desire to see the 86 return alive. And indeed, it might prove beneficial as she could talk to Kiriya if the plan to destroy him does fails.
Overall, episode 19 is a must-watch. There are a lot of good fight scenes sprinkled with great interactions and more backstory for several important characters. The thing is, this is just another setup for a showdown between two Nouzens, one that might even be bigger than the previous one.
Episode score: 9.5/10.