(I’m not sure how long I can keep up with these single-episode posts, but as long as I feel inspired I might as well write, right?)
There were quite a few interesting things established due to this time skip. Seeing the newer recruits (who came in during relative peace times) contrasting with the already existing members gave us a preview of how these new characters’ dynamics and possible conflicts that may arise from them. The returning cast has had an impact on the world now, and the public has formed opinions of them because of that. In particular, the scene with Cookie and Cracker was of interest for that idea due to the perceptions of the kids and reactions of the twins.
Kudelia still holding a lot of relevance was a surprise to me, I had originally thought she was only going to be present for that first season. However, it would appear that at the time of the new season, she and Tekkadan have close ties in both friend and business capacities. She, along with Orga and McGillis, are with new roles. Hopefully, these new roles will allow them a more dynamic range of leadership skills and character quirks. The theme of “maturing into adulthood” (or just higher expectations) may very well be present in their character arcs as well, since it seems they’ve gotten used to their new jobs but still might miss the days of their old jobs.
The animation has held up, and the scene with Barbatos Lupus felt especially refined with better shading than the other parts of the episode. It seems like they also emphasized the muscles on characters more, following a theme with other anime series as a whole to increase the fanservice. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (since it didn’t interfere with the viewing experience the same way Hajime’s boobs did with the Gatchaman second season), but it is starting to look a little awkward in a ‘too-much-muscle-looks-weird’ kind of way.
The bad exposition was back, and at this time I’ve given up hoping it will get any better (there’s no way this sort of series will deliver a “show don’t tell”). While voice-over narration isn’t the best way to give exposition, it was justified more in part to the time skip and was still better than the first season because it wasn’t completely delivered through dialogue.
The fighting at the end felt a bit forced in. Like, in the “alright this is a Gundam series and we can’t go an episode without actual mecha battles” sense. But despite that, it still was an enjoyable taste of what’s to come. Part of that was due to the music. I really enjoyed the soundtrack in the first season and I’m liking the new additions (when I can spot them). The ending wasn’t RAISE YOUR FLAG, but it fits well enough, I suppose. Time will tell if it grows on me or not. This episode, all in all, was very safe. It wasn’t incredible but it also wasn’t bad. Hopefully, the rest of this season will keep up the quality we got in the first season.