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Simoun #3: Rondo of Loss PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 30 September 2008 16:00
SimounAnother volume of Simoun, and the focus again shifts to another set of characters - and this time, there's tragedy in the air as hostilities with neighbouring nations step up a gear and some of the girls are forced to take drastic measures to protect the others...

12 - Sisters
In some ways, things are looking up for Chor Tempest - they've done well in their recent engagements, and they've avoided the threat of disbandment - but under the surface, some issues are bubbling along that threaten to cause them further problems: tensions between the girls as a result of Dominura's reorganisation of the Pairs, the feelings Floe's hiding about her last battle, where Mastiff seems to have been killed, and unresolved conflict between sisters Kaim and Alty. The Messis' 2nd-class facilities aren't helping, either...

Lovers?Determination

13 - Reason
Kaim and Alty may have made it back to the Messis in one piece, but their rejection by their Simoun - caused by the unresolved issues between them - draws both concern and curiosity: a Simoun has never been known to reject its pilots before, but the incident has also revealed some aspects of the machines that hadn't been known about before. Meanwhile, Aer's been hearing about the Emerald Re Mājon, a Simoun's ultimate formation, and is wanting to try it herself - especially after she hears that Neviril has already attemped it, with her previous Pair - but soon finds that talking about such things are a line that she shouldn't have crossed...

Off-dutyScheming?

14 - Sacrosanct
The Messis is laid up in dry-dock for a few days, undergoing maintenance, which gives the girls some well-deserved time off. Dominura has other things on her mind, though - the recent discoveries about how the Simoun respond to human emotions have piqued her curiosity, and she wants to know more about the machines. As sacred objects, there's never been any real research done into how they work beyond what's necessary to keep them flying, but she wants to change that and orders Waporif to dismantle a Simoun. By Kyuukaku's religion, that's a sacreligious act, and Waporif quickly refuses - but her curiosity eventually gets the better of her. Meanwhile, the Messis' captain has been looking into Dominura's past, and doesn't like what she's found...

Planning sacrilegePanic

15 - One, And Then Another
Whatever she saw in the dismantled Simoun has caused Dominura to suffer a complete mental breakdown - her anguish was enough that Aer was able to sense it while she was out on patrol with Neviril. Waporif feels responsible - it was her teardown of the sacred machine that led to Dominura's 'encounter' - but neither she nor the other sybillae are given much chance to think over what's happened, as the Messis comes under attack. Later, a recovering Dominura decides that she needs to take another shot at the Emerald Re Mājon...

Unwanted companyGiving comfort

16 - The Emerald Re Mājon
There's been a surge in enemy attacks - probably related to the appearance of the aerial base, but with the base having disappeared without trace it's hard to say. The Simoun are running recon missions constantly, trying to locate it, but without luck - and the enemy fleets attacking the Messis are becoming more and more dangerous. The latest one finds the Messis with just two of the Simoun on board, flown by Dominura & Rimone, and Aer & Paraietta. Initially, Dominura settles on some sensible tactics to try and fool the approaching fleet, but with sunrise approaching they can only hide for so long. Left with little choice, Dominura opts to attempt the Emerald Re Mājon with Rimone...

LaunchFinal moments

Much as I like the way that Simoun tries to make sure that all the girls get their time in the spotlight (while keeping Aer and Neviril as the main pair), I have to say I'm disappointed that Floe's relationship with Mastiff doesn't get explored further here - I'm assuming he was killed when Floe use a Re Mājon above his position at the end of the previous volume, but it's not stated here and her emotional state after that is barely brushed over here. It's really not enough to do the incident justice, and makes me wonder how another similar incident towards the end of this volume will be covered. Simoun doesn't have many black marks against it, but that's one of them.

The rest of the disc focusses on another two sets of girls: sisters Kaim and Alty in the first arc, with the aftermath of some incestual advances for them to deal with that has really ruined the sisterly relationship between them and led to the problems they have flying a Simoun together. It's the first real yuri content in the show, but it's handled with very little visuals and a lot of tact and diplomacy - not glorified or revelled in at all, which may disappoint some fanboys but holds true to Simoun's way of doing things.

The second arc focusses on Dominura & Waporif and their desire to truly understand how the Simoun work, with Dominura's breakdown introducing the first real unanswered question of the series: just what did she see that put her over the edge, and was that partly responsible for her eagerness to try the Emerald Re Mājon, with all the consequences of that. We're left with no sure way of knowing what Dominura's motives were, while the tone of the story continues to get darker as the aftermath of the Re Mājon plays out. There's a distinct feeling that the war that the girls are being forced to take part in isn't going to get any easier.

This series just keeps getting better as it goes on. At 5 episodes, it's quite a long volume, but you really don't notice the time go by, you're so engaged by what's happening on screen. The subject matter is quite heavy, but the presentation means it never entirely gets on top of you. The only real flaw is that the size of the cast means you never really get to know any of the characters in depth, past Aer and Neviril - you learn enough about them to get a feel for the character and whether you like them or not, but very little past that. That's not enough of a failing to put me off the series, though - its combination of style and subtance makes it unique amongst shows that I'm currently following, and that in turns means that it comes well recommended.

Rating - ****

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