I really like the latest arc. Why? Yuuya grows up considerably. I’ve complained about his childishness in the past, and his first “experience” in real combat has really opened his eyes to the less than pleasant ways the world works. It’s true, he has been maturing slowly in the past few episodes as well, but I think the last stand at the base has done more to improve his character than anything else in the show so far. The fact that he’s now able to show humility is a huge leap forward in my mind. The old Yuuya would have probably mouthed off at Zhar battalion even though they came to his rescue.
I suppose we have the Russian commander to thank for this. She’s been there throughout the entire battle to “teach” Yuuya about the ugly truths of war and politics, and I’d say that learning about the harsh reality is what “mellowed” out Yuuya. It really is unfortunate that she had to go (and at the hands of the crimson twins, nonetheless). I’d also sympathize with the rest of Zhar battalion, but the rape context of their introduction really turns me away. Their talk of being family just seems so contrived when you know that there are attempted rapists among them. Granted, the would-be culprit was already killed off, but as the commander’s right-hand-girl Tasha said, it only takes one to ruin the reputation of the entire battalion.
I still maintain that dere Yui is extremely jarring. She’s fallen so obviously deeply in love with Yuuya in such a short amount of time that it’s quite unconvincing. It’s nice to see her recollections of her past, and of how helpless she feels about the deaths of those she cares about or looks up to, but none of this really helps smooth over her falling head-over-heels for Yuuya. As a matter of fact, the whole first-name-basis scene (complete with Yui blushing madly) felt completely out of place both in the course of battle and in the progression of events. I’m sure it’s just another example of cultural differences at work, but regardless I felt their sudden urge to “exchange” first names was quite random.