Episode 05 – “Bask on an Isolated Island to Rise Like a Burning Phoenix”
The obligatory beach episode, except instead of the normal activities like smashing watermelon or volleyball, the C3-bu engages in a skirmish with a local Kansai airsoft team. I’m also impressed that the series was able to keep the fanservice down to minimum. Though, having their flag burn away was an interesting excuse to put the Karila and Honoka in equally interesting beachwear. Seriously, who accidentally lets their flag get cooked?
Despite having newfound confidence both on and off the airsoft field, Yura still has some doubt about her abilities and the trust that the others have with her. Even if that doubt is subconscious, it still has some adverse effects on her. We get a Persona 4-esque moment when Yura is confronted by her shadow, embodying all of her fears and persisting uncertainties. It appears that her greatest fear at the moment is failing her friends again in an airsoft match and that they’ll never forgive her. For this reason, Yura gives it her all in every match and perhaps a bit too much, judging from Sonora’s expression.
After a normal round of “Slayer,” to use Halo terms, and some fun around the campfire, the two teams decide to do a round of capture the flag with a twist. Instead of the usual two flags guarded by each team, in this game both teams vie for the same flag which must be returned to the base. This makes for some interesting strategy. The C3-bu’s plan is to have the Kansai team carry the flag back to the beach and then steal it at the last moment. Of course, the Kansai team has its own strategy utilizing jungle warfare and dual-wielding pistols to distort their numbers.
The most interesting moment of the episode is unsurprisingly brought on by more of Yura’s fantastic fantasies. When I thought about this series having a beach episode, I immediately thought of Saving Private Ryan with Normandy and Omaha Beach. The beginning of the episode kind of had that feeling, but what I didn’t expect was a reference to the famous erection of the American Flag on the hills of Iwo Jima. WWII references and anime practically go hand in hand at times, but seeing such an American (and almost anti-Japanese) gesture in a series like this was very surprising. I really liked it though. Not only was it well done, but it sort of shows that anime isn’t afraid to go above these assumed cultural restrictions. The concepts of teamwork, trust, and valor are universal, after all.