The Azur Lane Alliance and Sakura Empire try to withdraw from the strange combat zone left in the wake of Akagi’s defeat.
Episode 08 – “INTERSECTION – Hold You, Never Let Go”
The setting for the latest Azur Lane anime felt like a continuity error. We went from a stormy night scene at the end of the last episode to bright daylight in the Arctic. It was very distracting. Queen Elizabeth justified the scenery change with a throwaway line about the space being unstable after the collapse of Akagi’s “special combat zone.” It looked like to me that some writer needed a way to get Laffey, Javelin, and Ayanami into a literal cliffhanger, and there was no way a roiling storm on the open sea was going to give him that. Bring on the ice cliffs! Perhaps the boats never left the “special combat zone” and were in a new setting made by Enterprise instead of Akagi? I can’t know for sure what the episode presented.
The unexplained change in scenery wasn’t the only shortcoming in this week’s Azur Lane. After a break to address animation quality issues, it appears the producers needed another postponement. Whole scenes were missing atmospheric effects like shadows, wind movement through hair and clothing, and textures to give body parts depth. I noticed the flatness of the art direction directly on the wake splashing whenever the boats skated across the surface of the ocean. Ah well. The production partners will have time to fix these kinds of triage decisions to get the episode to broadcast when they publish the disc sets.
Despite my complaints, some moments worked quite well together. I thought that the Ayanami Friendship Project would be left behind as Enterprise’s story and her connection to the Sirens could be told. However, Azur Lane gave us a very emotional and effective way to tie in the friendship across enemy lines with the main story regarding the Orochi Project. The Sakura Empire boats had begun to openly question Akagi’s judgment. “Too many secrets, don’t you think?” asked Shoukaku. Feeling their normal enmity of the Sirens, abandoning Akagi, and realizing they don’t want to fight other boats with whom they don’t have a personal grudge all culminated with Laffey and Javelin rescuing Ayanami from an open rift. What happens next to the Sakura Empire and Azur Lane Alliance is the real cliffhanger of this episode.
Suddenly, arctic naval warfare. “Special combat zone” is as good as any other way to describe the purple nighttime dimension. Supposedly, unstable spaces made the snow and icebergs. Laffey is cold. Understandable, considering how she’s dressed. She and Javelin keep running into Ayanami.
Enterprise’s narration of simpler times in Azur Lane history lets us know almost everyone is reluctant to fight each other.
Laffey’s answer for wanting to be friends even though they’re enemies: “It doesn’t matter.” The boats are like real girls with feelings — complicated.
No bully! Yuudachi doesn’t seem to understand what that means. Peer pressure means no friendship with the “wrong” kind of girls. The Azur Lane girls have cooties!
Enterprise’s mind is still somewhere inside the Black Cube. She’s talking with Amagi? Amagi describes Akagi and Kaga’s relationship as being always together, but they cry alone. Awkward with their feelings, like Enterprise. She also claims the boats were born with memories of warships embedded in them, braiding together countless emotions, and containing the prayers of humanity. Boats are important!
Lots of Azur Lane fan service for the Japanese boats, but only glimpses for name-checking. I don’t think we’re going to get an explanation for this unstable combat zone being broken into by the “special combat zone.”
All the generic Siren boats have stopped working. Because they were controlled by Akagi? Ikazuchi wonders if they’re stuck because they overheated. The Japanese boats are beginning to let their doubts and questions over Project Orochi come to the surface. If they don’t know what that special zone was, how can the audience figure it out? “Too many secrets, don’t you think?” Uh, yeah!
Nice. The Belfast School for Elegant Boats is always open. She tells Javelin to keep dwelling on why she wants to be friends with Ayanami. I think Belfast just wants to make sure the boat girls keep their complicated feelings because being human is dealing with conflicting emotions. Eh, Belfast, I’m pretty sure you girls were created to destroy the Siren, not just “fight” them.
Kaga just pushed Zuikaku back there. Time to pack it up and leave Akagi to her fate.
Ah. Another Siren. Tester, she’s called. She’s shaped like a manta ray. She finds human contradictions, like despising war but choosing to fight, entertaining. The Sirens have no trouble treating the Azur Lane boats like people. With names like Observer and Tester, it’s not surprising to hear them talk about “collecting data.” They like to say, “War never changes” too. Enterprise gave the Black Mental Cube lots of “data,” enough for Orochi to “awaken.” That doesn’t sound good.
Enterprise is there, but not there, when her golden eyes are shining. Her mind is still in that dark, violent space. Is this how she’s making good “data” for the Sirens? Is she seeing a memory of Yorktown getting injured?
Did Zuikaku send a kamikaze to strike at Enterprise? Ayanami to the rescue!
Another good scene where Enterprise regretting harm to another boat makes her golden eyes shut off. The Azur Lane girls need to make sure Ayanami doesn’t fall into the purple rift.
“Deactivating Self-Imposed Limiter,” says Laffey. So, she’s not lazy, just conserving energy! Poor Javelin. Having to carry those two destroyers. Look at that little smile on Laffey’s face.
I wonder if the rifts disappeared when Enterprise came back to herself.