Allison and Lillia Episode 11 - Shoot at the Armored Car
Summary: Mr. Stork suspects that they're being shot at because Mr. Terol, the supposed Target, is from Roxche. They attempt to keep the enemies from boarding by lighting the bar on fire and disconnecting the burning car. Ker is suspicious that Stork has been carrying around explosives, which they use to disconnect the car. Later, they look out the window across the water and spy a tank riding the rails across the way. Stork radios the authorities, and they say that the tank is there to prevent an assassination attempt, but Stork asks that they fire on it, and draws a gun on them. It seems extremely suspicious, but Stork says that their lives will depend on immobilizing the armored vehicle. When Stork relays this to Terol, however, he explains that he'll be avoiding discovery and arrest if they can destory the armored car. Wil, the best shot in the group, gets the job of firing weaponry at it.
They slow down the train under false circumstances. While Stork and Wil are alone, he reveals that his real duty is to arrest Terol for smuggling firearms and attempting to re-start the war. Stork is after his testimony and to prevent this from happening, even though his military comrades feel otherwise. He reveals his reasons for detatching the train cars to increase the speed. When they come to a stop, Wil shoots, but he shot just grazes it. They begin moving and Wil attempts another shot, and manages to put it out of commission. Terol and his assistant begin to suspect treachery on Stork's part. When the assistant comes to attack them, Wil helps Allison fire a gun to put him down, though it's Stork who fires the blow that drops him. They find Terol dead in his quarters, having committed suicide. Wil still wonders about Stork.
Thoughts: I can't quite tell if this episode resolved anything, or if now we're actually getting to the center of the matter. I kind of feel like the conflict with Terol was a red herring of sorts, and that Stork might have something to do with Allison's deceased father, as has been suggested more than once throughout this arc. I must say the "is he or isn't he" feeling that Stork brought to the table has been kind of fun, especially since we still don't know his exact motivations, even though he's stated the reasoning for his actions on the train. It'll be interesting to see what awaits the characters in the capital city of Sou Beil. Of course, it'll have to wait a few weeks, since this is the last episode released of this show and I'm now waiting for more.
With two episodes left before reaching the halfway point, my prediction is that a whole lot is going to happen in those episodes, though I can't imagine what. I suspect Allison will be able to reveal her feelings to Wil and that ball will finally get rolling. It was cute to see him help her steady herself with the gun in this episode, though it's hard to tell what Wil's feeling was while doing it. Was he simply helping her so that they could defeat their enemy, or could there finally have been something a bit more substantial in the feelings department? *shifty eyes* We'll see.
I was glad to get caught up on this show because, in spite of the fact that it doesn't have quite the depth of its author's other animated work, it's been very entertaining and fun so far, and it makes a nice break from some of the heavier offerings this season.
Allison and Lillia Episode 10 - The Train Known as Conspiracy
Summary: When Allison gets frustrated about Wil's cluelessness, she goes to an observation area to be alone, and meets Major Stork there. He counsels her a bit on her problems, being a military member like her. He seems to have a job to do, and also appears to have known Allison's father. The next morning, Allison and Wil go to the observation deck and witness a fight going on between a disguised man and Mr. Welch, a member of the train crew. When Welch goes off the end of the train, Allison chases after the man, but he's gone by the time they exit a mountain tunnel. They assemble all the crew members and find Ker and Fiona to go to the dining car. On the way they pick up Stork, whose job as a bodyguard is in jeopardy now that his master won't allow anyone into the room.
Upon meeting in the dining car, they decide that searching for the suspect aboard the train might be folly, since searching through everyone's belongings would take longer than their trip. Stork suggests stopping at a nearby military depot and using the phone to call the authorities. Unfortunately, the phone lines have been out, so they can't contact anyone. A steel magnate gives them a threatening letter he received, and claims that he's the one being targeted and that he'd rather be separated from the rest of the passengers, for their safety. they disconnect the other passengers from the train, and our heroes, along with Stork and the target, proceed to the bottom of the mountain. It seems he has a few things of his own to hide, and Wil seems to suspect that he's not telling the whole truth. Suddenly they realize they're being chased by a military train, and Stork goes to defend them.
Thoughts: So the mystery seems to be unfolding here in the second episode. Many people have things to hide, and it's turning out to be a great train mystery. And I'm sure it'll make tons more sense than whatever the heck was going on in Baccano. Just saying.
This is the type of show that really keeps you guessing about unfamiliar characters until the very end. This time around the obvious mystery is Stork. He seems like a friendly guy, but it's hard to tell if he's up to something more behind the scenes. My first instinct was to peg him as the man dressed all in black. It still seems like kind of the obvious choice, though I must say the flashback to the "murder" makes it look more like an accident than anything else, so we'll have to see if the crime is really a crime. I don't want to end up disliking the character, since there's barely been anything to suggest that he really has malevolent intent.
Allison seems to be moping about the fact that Ker is more of a take-charge kind of man in his relationship with Fiona, where as Wil is clueless and doesn't seem to be giving Allison the kind of attention she so desperately needs. She needs to just kiss him or ask him out or something really soon or I'm going to begin to feel even more frustrated.
Now that the fight is on, I'm interested to see what kind of weaponry will arrive in the next episode. The preview seems to show a tank that rides on the rails, which actually seems a bit silly to me, but whatever. I really want to know why the train is under attack, since it seemed to crop up so randomly.
Allison and Lillia Episode 9 - The Bridge on the Former Battlefield
Summary: Over his Spring Break, Wil gets an invitation from Ker to ride the newly-completed Transcontinental Express. When an official sees him and tries to kick him out of the station (for looking too poor to ride the train) Allison, who boarded at the previous station, has a thing or two to say to that. The train is full of rich folks, and a poor student like Wil certainly stands out. Fiona is disguised as a journalist. The rooms inside the train are beautiful and well-furnished. Along the way, they view a field full of artillery looming there, and ill omen. They stop at an island in between the two continets to pay tribute to fallen members of the army, one of them Allison's father, who was betrayed by a subordinate.
A military man named Major Stork deduces that the high-ranking officer named Hellman boarding the train is none other than the hero, Ker, but decided not to blow his cover. He also notices that Fiona, the heir of Iks, is one of the youths leaving the train for the platform. He seems like a rather suspicious man. Wil seems to have a surprise for Allison when they arrive at their destination, and she's thwarted at her attempts to be alone with him.
Thoughts: Well, this episode started off on a relatively chill note, though it appears there are a few elements setting up what will probably amount to a conflict, including the introduction of Major Stork and the suggestion that there might be more than just a pleasurable vacation as the reasoning behind Ker's invitation to his friends. I'm wondering if the backstory behind Allison's father and his death will have more to do with the story also, though it's difficult to say at this point.
Once again, Allison fails at getting Wil to notice her. It's hard to decide if he's just completely clueless to her feelings, or if he shares them but is keeping to himself, but I'm getting to the point where I think she ought to quit being subtle and start voicing what she wants, as embarrassing as it might feel for her to do it. Remember Allison, the show's almost halfway done ;)
I don't have many other thoughts yet, this being mostly a setup episode. I'll have to see how things begin to develop before there'll be more to talk about, I think. Allison looks cute in a dress, though :)
Allison and Lillia Episode 8 - The Princess and the Hero
Summary: Nihito asks that Ker and Fiona leave before they embarrass themselves any further, but Fiona offers to show proof of her heritage. From within her dress she produces a pendant - a token of a royal family member. The guard there, who used to guard the royal family, verifies the authenticity of the pendant, and Nihito is displaced. Adding to that, Nihito is about to be arrested for holding the princess hostage years ago, but manages to kidnap and run off with her again.
Ker is in pursuit, and Allison and Wil start their plane's engines. Ker catches up and manages to punch Nihito and rescue Fiona. Nihito meets his end due to carelessness. When the group meets together later on, Wil accuses Fiona of not being Francesca, but rather a twin of the princess. She explains that the one and only time she ever met her sister Francesca, she received the pendant from her. Because of the country's law that only one child is allowed, Fiona was taken away from the palace and protected by the villagers, really people provided by the royal family, explaining their suspicions about outsiders.
Thoughts: I'm actually sort of amazed at how this episode wrapped up this story arc while also explaining a few of the really nitpicky issues I had with how the story was going. One thing that I never mentioned was that I had kind of wondered how Fiona remembered being kidnapped from the palace during the fire if she wasn't a real princess in the first place. The answer, of course, was that she was a real princess, just one whose existence couldn't be revealed due to laws about the number of births per family. She was never in the limelight because of that, but of course that didn't affect her true lineage or the fact that she had memories of things only a princess would know. I also got my questions answered about the weird behavior of the villagers surrounding Fiona. Their suspicious and protective nature was explained by their secret mission, which made perfect sense even though it couldn't be revealed (for dramatic reasons) at the time. Good job, show :)
The romantic tension between both Ker and Fiona and Allison and Wil is far from being resolved at this point, but with about one more arc to go before the halfway mark, I'm sure I'll get some payoff in the coming episodes. I can't be sure if things will go through a time skip or what, but I'm sort of hoping there'll be a good amount of character development to balance out any general story twists and acts of derring-do. I mean, I like the characters, no doubt about it, but I think it would be nice to learn a bit more about their emotions. I'd like Allison to be more than just a bumbling idiot when it comes to her feelings for Wil, and I'd like Wil to become a bit more perceptive. It might be wishful thinking, but I don't think it's really too much to ask.
I was initally sort of disappointed in Owen Nihito, who turned out to be yet another corrupt politicion with an evil backstory. But then again, he turned out to be much less important that initially suggested by the way the plot was progressing, so I suppose it's not such a huge issue.
Well, new story next episode, so I hope I'll have at least some of my wishes come true.
Allison and Lillia Episode 7 - The Entrusted Ones
Summary: Wil, Ker, Allison and Fiona stop at the local base to "borrow" a couple of planes to take to the capital city. When Ker goes to take off with Fiona, he feigns engine problems to give Allison and Wil a chance to make off with another plane. After a harrowing ride through the town, they use the local bottomless cliff as a launch point and manage to take off.
While riding in the plane, Fiona reveals a secret about herself that calls into question the nature of their mission - she's not the real princess, who died ten years previously. She means to lie in front of the assembly at the capital. Of course Ker is able to trade blows with her - he's of course not the real hero behind finding the mural. They start to make eyes at each-other in the plane cabin, which throws Allison for a tizzy. Ker makes a grand entrance, and introduces the "princess" in front of the assembly. Her address is cut short by objections from Nihito.
Thoughts: In the words of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, what a twist! While I could have guessed that there was more going on with Fiona than she let on, the double surprise of her being the lost princess and then actually not being her was kind of a playful surprise. And what a nice way for her and Ker to find closeness, since they both know the difficulty that comes with filling a role that doesn't actually belong to them. Could this playboy finally be tamed? I suppose we'll have to wait until next time.
Of course you had to know that their plan wouldn't go off without a hitch, and that a politician like Nihito wouldn't just stand around quietly while someone else stole his glory. I was at first wondering if this story arc would stretch past three episodes, but with the character interation and now this sudden obstacle at the end, I'm not feeling like things are dragging. I'm hoping that Nihito will be given the chance to prove that he's not just some out-of-touch politician. Either that, or he'll be really corrupt or something, but I suppose either way could make for some satisfying conflict.
Poor Allison. For a girl who can fly fighter planes, it's sad that she has so much trouble trying to tell Wil about her feelings and that she wants them to have a future together. Will the end of this arc see any progress in that department? Who knows. But it has to happen sometime, since the second half of the series deals with a later generation of characters, and after this arc we'll be over halfway done with the first part of the series.
Allison and Lillia Episode 6 - Fiona's Valley
Summary: Allison and Will are detained in an underground cell, from which they promptly attempt to escape (a relatively simple task for Allison). They decide to wait until sunset to run away. Ker, who's still searching for them, watches them run past, and finds them hiding out in a storage shed. Suddenly all three are hiding from the locals. They meet up with Fi again in town and she takes them to her home. She demands that they take her to the capital, so that she can attend Owen Nihito's speech there. As it turns out, her name isn't really Fiona - she claims to be Princess Francesca of Ikstova, living in exile, and she wants to tell as many people as possible. Things get a bit suspicious when she starts asking about how to shoot a gun. Instead, Ker offers to punch anyone in the face who Fiona has a problem with.
They escape in the morning by hiding underneath a white sheet, which blends in with the snow. A guard discovers them and sounds the alarm, though Fiona guards them with her body. The villagers confront them, but when Fiona claims to be the princess, the chieftan allows them to go. Fiona is an adult of twenty, after all. After the sendoff, Wil decides to skip school and accompany them to the capital.
Thoughts: So, have you ever had those moments where you feel like you can predict exactly what's going to happen in a movie or a show? Was Fiona being the lost princess not obvious? Oh well, it wasn't something that necessarily bothered me, but now I'm very curious to meet this politician guy and see how the impending conflict is going to turn out. Thus far the only clue we have on him is a picture and a name. He could be a real jerk or a perfectly nice man (though I'd guess the former if I had to stick to just one).
I thought the Allison and Wil moments here were pretty cute, especially when they end up (innocently) in bed together again. I'm thinking they've got to end up together by the midpoint of the series, considering that Lillia, the other namesake of the show, has yet to appear. *cough* anyway, I'll try not to get so sidetracked. I also think there may be a little thing going on between Ker and Fiona, but I can't predict whether or not her role will go beyond this little encapsulated story, so who knows if it'll just remain an attraction, or whether maybe Ker will end up staying with her or what. He is kind of a ladies' man, so his nature just might be showing itself a little more than usual.
Did anyone kind of think that maybe the villagers became friendly just a little too quickly? They went from being completely suspicious of the outsiders and locking them up, to helping them prepare for their journey, in about two minutes of conversation. I was kind of irritated that it happened in that fashion. Though that makes me wonder if they're planning to spend more time on the upcoming conflict that I know is going to happen. I don't know which episode is going to wrap up this story arc, so it's hard to judge.
Allison and Lillia Episode 5 - The Closed Forest
Summary: It's winter break, and Wil is on a special trip thanks to Allison helping to pay for it. While he and a friend are at a lookout point, some men in dark coats put Wil in a car. A car driven by Allison, who planned the "kidnapping". She's in the area due to her work in the Air Force - a joint evacuation drill with the military of Sou-Beil. At Allison's camp, they meet with Ker Benedict, promoted to major after the actions uniting their two countries. On their way back, the two get caught in a snowstorm and try to seek shelter in a nearby village. Ker, realizing this, decides to search for Allison and Wil using a new snowmobile-type vehicle.
Allison and Wil finally come to the village, and a woman directs them to an assembly hall where they can get tea and warm up. The woman isn't who she seems, however, and rushes to her hidden basement to warn others about their presence. While drinking tea, Wil tells Allison about the death of the local royal family in a fire, and how the bodies were also found to have gunshot wounds. They discover that the tea was laced with something to make them sleep, and both fall under its influenced. While Ker is searching for them, he finds a woman named Fi who seems very interested in the picture of the politician on his memo.
Thoughts. Oh Allison, you're such a tomboy. Even though the episode ends on a relatively serious and mysterious note, there's still quite a bit of humor in the fact that Allison needs to build up the courage to ask Wil to live with her in the capitol after he graduates from school. Sure, she's kind of a stock character in that respect - the scrappy female lead who can do anything but gets all flustered when feelings are involved - but it's pretty cute.
Already this episode is intriguing enough to make me want to know what's up with the hidden village and why they're so suspicious of outsiders. Judging from Fi's reaction to Ker's poster, the politician seems to have some connection, as does the death of the royal family. The old woman who served them tea seemed to become extra-uncomfortable when Wil showed uncommon knowledge of the local royals. Could the people in the village be the same that were involved in the "accident" that took the lives of their local royalty? There are plenty of scenarios running through my mind right now, but it's probably best to settle down and just wait and see.
One must wonder what part Fi has to play in all this. I can tell by her more interesting Allison and Lillia Episode 4 - A World for Twoclothing and the fact that she met with Ker that she'll be at least a somewhat major player (oh anime, you're so predictable). I've learned from watching Himitsu that everyone is just harboring all sorts of secrets within them, so her connection to the politician (whose name just isn't coming to mind at the moment) is probably something really juicy. Or tragic. Or I suppose it could be both.
Allison and Lillia Episode 4 - A World for Two
Summary: Allison and Wil fly towards their goal of treasure with Ker Benedict in hot pursuit, only to realize that he's really on their side and helping to defend them against other members of the Sou Beil Air Force out for blood. The three manage to evade their pursuers for the time being and reach the cave said to contain the treasure. It's not gold or jewels that wait inside, however, but something much more precious that dates back to the dawn of humanity.
It turns out that the old man wasn't lying, and was in fact Colonel Walter McMillan of his tall tale, a man who killed his own squad to preserve the secret of the treasure. After a minor threat from some baddies, they're able to escape and news spreads about the treasure, causing an end to the war. Allison and Wil return home, and remember the old man as they ride across the pristine countryside.
Thoughts: I'm sort of torn about how this story arc ended. On the one hand, I feel like things wrapped up way too quickly. I don't feel like the characters, especially the old man who plays a pretty integral part in the whole thing, were given a chance to develop to the point where the climax reached any sort of emotional peak. On the other hand, I don't see how this particular story could have supported a greater number of episodes. I guess I feel like this story would have worked well as a mid-season climax, but as it is I'm kind of left wondering what Allison and Wil have left to do now that they've saved their society from a nearly-endless war. Go to Disneyland? As soon as I get some subs for the next few episodes, we'll see.
All-in-all, though, not a bad set of episodes. Even though I could tell what the "treasure" was from a mile away, getting there was fun and this last episode lived up to the show's promise of rip-roaring dogfight action in the skies. It's still not enough for me to really brand this an action series, but it rescued itself from being "sleepy-time while looking at pretty countryside scenery".
Minor fail on Wil's little mental montage of memories of the old man, though. He wasn't around long enough to warrant any sort of montage, and it just felt like filler to me. Scenes that happened one and two episodes ago are fresh enough that they don't need rehashing. /rant
Allison and Lilia Episode 3 - Walter's Fight
Summary: Allison and Wil, dressed in Sou Beil military garb, infiltrate the base in which the old man is being held. They discover him locked in a basement dungeon, and try to help him break out. As they make their way out, they run into an acquaintance of Allison's - Second Lieutenant from the air force, the man who wrote her a love letter that she never answered. The old man manages to open his cell door and the alarms across the base start to go off.
They meet back up with the old man and make a break for a plane hangar. As they're running, he tells Allison and Wil directions on how to get to the treasure, and tells them to borrow one of the sea planes in order to fly there. As they're flying away, the old man meets his end and Second Lieutenant Ker is given orders to capture them or shoot them down before they cross back over the border.
Thoughts: Well, anyone who was disappointed in the lack of epic action in the previous episode can take heart in the fact that this episode contained quite a bit. Not only that, but now Allison and Wil are in a race to get to the treasure before they're dispatched in some way. The old man's death wasn't entirely unpredictable, but at least he got a decent send-off and managed to blow some stuff up before succumbing to an enemy bullet.
The biggest point of interest in this episode was probably Second Lieutenant Ker. So he's a "friend" of Allison's... just what is he doing hanging out in enemy territory and being a part of the enemy army? I'm wondering if he's either after the treasure himself and in the area incognito, or whether he was always a native of this land and his stint with Allison in the Roxche Air Force was just a sham. Either way, this has intrigued me and I'm waiting to find out just what the real situation is.
Otherwise, not a whole lot was introduced in this episode that was worth touching on, though the suggestions of just what the treasure is has left me speculating about what we're going to find out in episode 4. My prediction? Based on clues I'm thinking it must be some archaeological evidence that the two continental civilizations originated from one place, and that their war over who's the real origin of humanity will be made moot once this evidence is uncovered. "Look, we're all the same so there's really no reason to fight amongst ourselves."
Allison and Lillia Episode 2
Summary: We meet back up with Allison and Wil as they fly their "borrowed" training plain in pursuit of the kidnapped old man. They find themselves crossing the river that divides their continent in half and suddenly they're in enemy territory, where they're shot down. Their plane destroyed, they live off of rations and reminisce about their shared childhood at an orphanage run by an old woman named Moot. Then, Wil is kicked in the head by an angry mother deer, and has to be dragged to a local woman's house to rest. The woman, named Travas, threatens to take them to the police the following day, but asks Allison why they're there. Allison answers her truthfully about the old man and the supposed treasure that exists.
That night, Travas hears the two muttering about Grandma Moot in their sleep. Grandma Moot was originally from the West country of Sou Beil, but moved to Roxche to open the orphanage where Allison and Wil met as children. Travas realizes that the war, which took the lives of her two children and also Allison's father, affects families on both sides equally. This causes a change of heart and she decides to help the two by offering up her sons' military uniforms as disguises so Allison and Wil don't get caught during their mission.
Thoughts: This episode isn't quite as action-oriented as the first. Instead, it focuses more on the characters and provides a little bit of back story for Allison and Wil. I can understand how this could be off-putting to people expecting some more rip-roaring high-flying fighter plane action with our heroes, but in this case the more important aspect of the episode is the "lesson" about how war affects both sides and that neither side is all good or bad. It's sort of a simplistic thing to mention, but one that's often forgotten in our particular era.
There's really not a whole lot else that's not completely straightforward about the episode. It seems like a little intake of breath before other more dramatic things start to happen, though I haven't gathered how well the show is paced yet so I could be wrong.
One thing that I was discussing with my comrade-in-arms Boris is how similar/not similar the show is to the author's other work, the wonderful Kino's Journey. His opinion was that he hoped this show might turn out to be more psychological like Kino was. After considering that, I'm not sure that I completely agree. While the good name of Kino was what originally got me hyped up for this show, I'm not sure if this type of adventure story really lends itself well to the more psychological, episodic tone that was featured in that particular series. Simply put, I'm not disappointed that the two are different types of stories. Boris, any thoughts?