The operation begins!
Episode 7 is yet another somber episode that sets up one of the greatest showdown in the series. With the lingering threat of the Morpho, the only way to defeat it is to send Nordlicht Squadron in an almost suicide mission—a mission that might not see them return alive.
There are a lot of moments here that gives us more insight on different characters’ psyche and perspective. First, we have Grethe. In the previous episodes, we know that she genuinely cares for the 86, but it is only here that we finally see why that is the case. It is not just because she pities them due to their horrifying experiences at the hands of the Alba, or the fact that she is one of the few who sees them as actual people instead of living weapons, but also because she could sympathize with them after losing most of her fellow Air Force pilots. It adds a bit more layer into her character, fleshing out her motivations instead of her being a typical good person.
Thus, it is no surprise that Grethe will personally join the operation as the pilot of the Nachrezer, a prototype ground-effect aircraft that will allow the unit to reach the Morpho quickly. Although technically, she still really has to join as a commander and the only one who could pilot the aircraft.
Unfortunately, one member will not be joining the assault. Frederica is forced to remain, both due to her position and the fact that she couldn’t fight. There is a sad confrontation between her and Shin, where Frederica pours out her fears and worry to the one she considers her big brother. But while her concern is sincere, it does make the little Empress contradict herself; after all, a lot more would die if the Morpho is not stopped. Shin’s rather cold attitude toward her “tantrum” is pretty much justified then.
Ernst is pretty much the same, though he keeps his emotions in check knowing the mission’s necessity. However, Ernst does have his own dark side, one born out of genuine fatherly love to Shin and the others. And it is really spine-chilling how he might just become an enemy of the world should his adopted children don’t survive the battle.
And so it is time. The Nordlicht Squadron takes off while the combined forces of three countries initiate a diversionary counterattack to lure out the Legion. The music and scene itself causes goosebumps, and it is really sad that the soldiers still see the 86 as monsters. However, their faith in the entire Nordlicht Squadron speaks volumes, even as the episode ends with Shin’s trademark smile.
Overall, episode 7 is an epic set up to a massive battle that will once again pit two Nouzens against one another.
Episode score: 8.5/10.