Nothin’ to see here, just one robot straddling another while stabbing it. Move along, move along.
This is basically another opening episode after the context-setting pair of episodes that actually started the series. It definitely gives a bit more weight to things — we’ve seen the threat that spurs the major nations of the world to create a shared space where they pool technology and their most talented pilots. It’s a convenient place to gather all our hypercompetitive friends, though the situation does create a bit of an oddity.
Ghostlightning does a good job of pointing out how counterproductive this scenario is. Watching the pilots battle it out on the practice field is definitely fun. The sniping (both verbally and through gunplay), the evasive action, the tricks, the process of feeling everyone out, etc. is quite entertaining. I came out of that combat sequence caring a little more about each character than I did going in. That’s one of the goals, correct? It certainly does not feel like a waste of time from an entertainment standpoint.
That said, it does feel strange to indulge so heavily in competition and risk bruised egos and whatnot. I’m guessing the higher-ups believe cooler heads will prevail in the heat of battle, and that these pilots will work together when absolutely necessary, which will be all the time against the BETA since, from what we’ve seen, it’s impractical at best and insane at worst to expect a single pilot to take on hordes of these aliens. (This is, of course, an assessment based upon little knowledge of the capabilities of each pilot. The pilot is turning on the “NO SPOILERS” sign right now!)
The advantages of testing out the new machines and pushing the pilots to unleash their greatest skills must seem much greater than the risks of fracturing the team when it comes time to fight the BETA. To be fair, most of the pilots seem fairly chill and not liable to let personal dramas get in the way of shit. Even with Tarisa putting on the extreme tsuntsun act around Yuuya, it at least doesn’t seem totally personal. Who knows about Yui, though. I guess she just has high standards, or doesn’t like Americans.
And then we have this pair here. The younger (?) of the two is heavily hinted at to have some sort of power (the color comment to Yui), and I’d wager the older (?) has the same or similar abilities. There’s obviously a strong mental connection between the two: during their mock battle with Tarisa, they’re locked in on the same wavelength and saying all the same shit and whatnot. I’m somewhat wary of powers entering the picture. It’s not unusual in mecha, of course, but it does open for the BETA to be defeated in some lame, bullshit fashion.
That said, I don’t want to be too negative too early. I don’t even know if these powers exist, much less what they are, the extent of the abilities, whether they’re even practical to use on the battlefield, and so on and so forth. If there is some mental connection between these two, though, I wonder why they don’t pilot different machines rather than the same one. Maybe their shit works better when they’re in close proximity?