The Reaper is back in action!
Episode 3 is a roller coaster of emotions from start to finish. With Shin and his group enlisting in Giad’s military, our heroes are finally returning to the battlefield where they’ve lost so much.
The first few minutes deal with Shin’s training, and it is here that he is reunited with Eugene Rantz as co-trainees. Their interactions are really interesting, given that Eugene is an Alba, and it is obvious that he cherishes his sister, which parallels Shin’s relationship to Frederica in some way. We learn more about Eugene as well, especially his backstory.
Of course, there are also quite a few new faces: Marcel, Eugene’s friend who appears to be hostile against Shin; and Grethe, unit commander of the Nordlicht Squadron and in charge of the development of Giad’s new weapon, the Reginleif.
Grethe is a great character despite her short screen time in the last two episodes. She’s cool, compassionate, and friendly toward Shin and his group. This is evident when she and some of the high-ranking officers gave a tribute to the dead Eighty-Six—all 576 of them—by creating a monument. The scene itself is heartwarming, but what truly made it both a tearjerker and cute moment is the return of a familiar Scavenger: Fido, who is given a new body by Grethe.
Naturally, an episode is not complete without Frederica’s involvement. The child empress once again gives Shin support, not just by escorting Fido to him, but by returning his trusted handgun.
With that, the battle against the Legion continues. Perhaps it is already expected that Shin would be one of the first pilots, if not the very first one, to test the Reginslief… in an actual battle no less! And he did it in such an epic entrance, saving Eugene from the Legion with his nearly superhuman piloting skills. An interesting part to note here is that some of Giad’s pilots actually died during the development of the Reginsleif, unlike most of the Eighty-Six.
Sadly, war is never certain. And in a cruel twist of fate, Eugene never got the chance to return home. The saddest thing here is that his dying wish is to see his picture of Nina, and it is truly a heartbreaking moment when he tries to remain conscious for as long as he could while Shin holds up the necklace that contains Nina’s picture in front of him.
Thus, the Reaper truly has returned after Shin puts Eugene out of his misery, signaling the start of another bloody journey for the Undertaker.
Overall, episode 3 is hauntingly bittersweet. While an old friend returns, a new one leaves forever. As always, the fight scenes are good, and there are quite a few cute and funny moments to compensate for the depressing ending.
Episode score: 9/10.