With rain pouring down under ominous dark clouds, it is a depressing morning at the 1121st platoon base for some of the girls. Kanata laments being unable to do better at playing her bugle and Noel is unsuccessful at installing a new lens in their tank Takemikazuchi’s targeting system.
After the rain clears, Noel and Kanata are sent into town for supplies. Seeing them off, Rio fusses over Kanata to make sure she has packed everything she needs even though they’re just going into town, prompting Felicia to tease Rio she’s acting like a worried parent. When Felicia waves the two girls off, shouting for they should return on time for dinner, Rio retorts Felicia herself acts like a concerned mother.
Enthusiastic about this first visit into town since she arrived, Kanata feasts her eyes on everything with her typical enthusiasm, observing the town is much quieter compared to the day of the festival.
Suddenly hitting the brakes, Noel propels an unprepared Kanata into the windshield. As the bugle player rubs her painful forehead, she still warmly thanks Noel when the mechanic explains all the typical sights they saw on their way there. Unsure how to react to Kanata’s kinship, Noel looks confused.
Meeting Naomi at her store, Kanata is looking in awe at the different glass sculptures, especially the sculpture of a dolphin intrigues her. Asking about it, Kanata is surprised when Noel explains it is a dolphin, a mammal that used to live in the seas when those still contained life.
Wondering about the person who made the sculptures, Kanata is excited when Noel reveals they’ll be heading to the glass factory next after getting the other supplies.
Buying the required items from different shops, Kanata is taken aback during some small talk where she complimented Noel on her impressive skills with machinery when the mechanic responds that at least machines won’t betray you.
Just as Noel is about to approach Kanata who’s visibly depressed about not being able to improve her bugle skills, a young buy playing on the street runs into her. Seeing the commotion, Yumina appears with Mishio, who recognizes Kanata from the festival.
As Noel offers her hand to the young boy to help him up, the cheeky lad slaps her hand aside and shouts he despises soldiers before storming off. Apologizing for the boy’s behavior, Yumina explains he lost his parents in the war but even though Noel seems to brush it off, the young girl nonetheless looks downcast.
In the glass factory, Kanata is unable to believe her own eyes at all the wondrous things she’s seeing, especially how the glass is created.
Overhearing the discussion between Noel and the master glass blower Karl about the failed test using the lens glass he created for Takemikazuchi, Kanata is even more awed when they explain how the original lens of the tank was made using the past era’s technology which is far beyond what they can achieve now.
Getting some rest, Noel reveals to Kanata she likes to work with machines like their tank Takemikazuchi but the fact it was once no doubt used to kill people frightens her.
When Kanata retorts it isn’t really the machines that are frightening but the people that use them to do evil things, Noel seems to find peace in Kanata’s words and soon falls asleep against her fellow soldier’s shoulder.
Talking to Karl and the other glass blowers, Kanata soon laments how she’s unable to play the same as Rio and wonders if she simply might not be cut out for music. Encouraging her, Karl tells Kanata she must not force herself to create a particular sound but lather let the music come alive, since it is much like the glass which takes the shape it wants to be.
Feeling rejuvenated by his words, Kanata rushes outside as the skies clears and plays her bugle, letting the music come from within she is finally able to create a wonderful sound.
Waking upon hearing Kanata’s bugle, Noel realizes Kanata’s skill at recognizing sounds will aid her in determining which crafted lens is the closest to the original from their tank, something she soon checks with Kanata as they head back to their base.
Installing the lens Kanata picked in the tank’s targeting system, Noel is amazed when finally the part synchronizes correctly and Kanata soon hugs her with glee.
Observing the two girls, Kureha’s surprise couldn’t be greater when she sees Noel smile as Kanata enthusiastically hugs the girl, for it is the very first time she sees the mechanic smile.
Another nice “So-Ra-No-Wo-To” episode, this time we saw more of Noel and how she interacts with Kanata. Fully expect next week’s episode will build more on Felicia and her bond with Kanata and the others.
While each episode has given us additional insight into the various individuals in the 1121st platoon, do feel so far we got the most insight into Rio’s past and character, while we learned more about Kureha and Noel, we weren’t exactly shown much about their past life.
Though subtle hints in Noel’s behavior and reactions do suggest she might have been confronted harshly by the horrors of the war before.
Kanata is definitely fully set as the typical character of a bright, cheery girl who sees something wonderful in everything and whose enthusiasm opens everyone’s eyes, much like Akari in “Aria”.
Those who hoped this episode would show much about the high tech tank Takemikazuchi may be left with some disappointment as it featured only briefly, but it was interesting to see it referred to by the glass blower as being of such an advanced, near alien technology for them, a technology their current era no longer masters.
Still very intrigued where the plot will end up going with that angle of the past high tech era. Wonder if it’ll all be explained someday though do hope it won’t feel as forced as the ending revelations in say “Utawarerumono”.