Things are certainly moving along at a fast pace, although it really doesn’t seem like it in the series. There’s a lot of plot to go through (Tales games are epically long, and take quite a few replays to get everything), and only 24 episodes to do it with, so it’s only natural that everthing undergoes a time compression. That said, it’d be nice to get back to some action soon. This is an “adventure” anime after all, and it’s currently lacking a sense of…well, adventure.
The group makes a return to Belkend with the proper measurements, where Noelle introduces the rest of her genius family and their counterparts in Class I, Iemon and Aston. After a short analysis of the data from the Sephiroth tree, they can only conclude that all of the Sephiroth trees are being weakened, and it is only a matter of time before the entire world falls into the Qliphoth. Jade quickly orders the scientists to construct a device to stop the world from descending into the miasma, and decides to use the Tartarus, which had already survived one fall into Qliphoth, as the means of delivery. In essence, the idea is to shrink the Outer Lands onto the top of the miasma slowly such that the miasma is hidden behind a ‘lid’.
With a plan in motion the group is in high spirits, except for Luke. Still ridden over his actions at Akzeriuth, he wonders aloud if their group alone should be the ones to be responsible for lowering the world. After all, living conditions could drastically change. Luke eventually proposes that they approach both Malkuth and Kimlasca leadership and persuade them to put an end to their war and agree to the group’s actions, an idea that surprises Tear and Anise.
Natalia, still at a loss over her mistaken heritage, has no issue with Luke’s idea, but wants some time away to think about things before returning to face her father. At night, with the group sound asleep, Natalia goes out on her own, and Asch finds her staring off into the distance. Asch comments that it isn’t like her to be fearful, especially when the citizens are her allies. Asch’s words reminds her of the promise they made so long ago – to change the world for the better. Luke, who had been tailing Natalia, walks slowly away, but Tear finds out that he has been eavesdropping. Luke is remorseful for tearing Natalia and Asch apart, but Tear simply reminds him that Luke is Luke and the memories he has are his alone, regardless of being a replica or not. In the morning, Natalia has made peace with herself and prepares to go to Kimlasca with the others.
Back in Baticul, a top aide and Mohs are consulting with King Ingobert when Natalia and the others storm in (Ion had used his diplomatic powers as a Daath envoy to get them past the guards). Luke tries to convince the king that regardless of blood, Natalia is still a daughter to him. Ingobert is clearly at a loss for what to do, but Natalia pleads with him as a citizen to put an end to the war. Her heartful plea awakens the king to his senses, and he agrees to sign a peace treaty and support them in lowering the Outer Lands. He also accepts Natalia as his daughter in spite of their blood difference, and Natalia can breathe a little easier again. Together with the quick acceptance of Emperor Peony, the group leads the leadership from both sides to Yulia City, a neutral area where the peace treaty is to be signed.
Peony and Ingobert sign their respective copies with witnesses in tow, but Guy stands up to confront both of them. Years ago, when Hod was destroyed, the two countries signed a similar treaty, and Guy has reservations about how they’d do going forward. With his sword ready to kill Ingobert, Peony drops a bomb by telling Guy that it was Malkuth forces that destroyed Hod. Ion sarcastically notes that Guy should put his sword down, since revenge would end up with him killing nearly everybody in the room.
Later on, Luke confronts Guy, who has lost the will to exact revenge a long time ago. Tear, however, is clearly troubled by the information Peony put forth, and remains silent. Jade returns and announces that both countries agree to their plan, and joint research will be conducted following their dropping of Tartarus to the core. They take the airship back to the surface to continue their research efforts.
- Diplomacy is just as important as any other type of action, but it really makes for some slow TV. In fact, the last couple of episodes have been more drama than anything else, so those looking for those epic fights can look elsewhere for their fun. But these are important episodes that drive the story on (albeit at a deceptively frenetic pace). It opens the door to finish the series strong, and I can only hope that they do so.
- What the heck, are the eyebrows growing from his eyeballs or something? Good lord, I never thought eyebrows grew that long…
- Raise your hand if you saw Natalia and Ingobert getting all teary-eyed before this episode. Come on, I should expect all of you. Also, producers have now broken out the sledgehammer for the Luke / Tear pairing. Even an idiot can’t miss it now.
- Ion grew a pair!
I like ‘Karma’ and all, but the two minute long OP is really starting to get to me -_-;