This episode picks up with Aisha being shot but not killed in front of Noel, and Filicia pulling a gun on Hopkins and saying she’ll shot if he doesn’t escort his men from the fortress. Well, Hopkins’ men have left the fortress, and he’s now tied up while Yumina treats Aisha. Filicia demands to know what’s going on, and Hopkins says that they detected the movement of the Roman army over a month ago and have been following in from the rear, so far, the Archduke has ordered them to do nothing.
Hopkins says the peace talks are a farce, and if they execute a POW in front of the Roman’s they’ll attack, he wants to restart the war because he says that Rome needs to be destroyed. Hopkins asks Noel if she agrees, and he calls her his Witch of Helvetia. Filicia gets mad at Hopkins saying he used Noel, and Yumina asks if Noel had something to do with the invisible reaper. Hopkins tells Yumina that Noel is one of the greatest scientists and helped revive the old weapons, Filicia orders Kureha to toss Hopkins in the cellar, but he says his men are already moving to attack the Romans.
After Kureha returns from locking up Hopkins, she says it’s messed up because the Flame Maidens are supposed to protect the city not cause a conflict. Yumina chimes in with what Aisha told her of the Roman version of the legend and it’s different from our version. The scene then switches and we see Hopkins preparing to escape, and we see Kanata reliving Kureha from her guard duty, Kureha asks Kanata if she could shoot someone, and Kanata says if she felt it was right then she thinks she could. As Kureha and Kanata discuss the legend of the Flame Maidens, Kanata hushes Kureha and says she hears something, and the scene switches to Claus telling someone he doesn’t know how good her ears are.
Kanata rushes in and tells Filicia that she heard the signal to stop fighting, Kureha says she heard nothing and Kanata could be wrong. When it’s suggested that they inform Hopkins about the signal, Yumina discovers that he’s escaped. Well, it’s decided that they still have to be informed but Noel says he won’t listen, when Hopkins saw the reaper kill all those people all he did was laugh, she says he’ll fight and kill until no ones left, and it’s her fault for helping him. Yumina tells Noel that if she really feels that way than she should save more lives than she took.
Naomi informs Hopkins about the ceasefire order and he says no way and orders the arrest of the civilians, and when questioned about his love of war he says “war advances civilization and science”. Then the girls find out that the Romans or Helvetians (?)Are going to attack the next morning, and they find out about Naomi’s arrest, Kureha thinks war can’t be avoided. Kanata says she still wants to go and deliver the sound she’s been given, Kureha says it’s a selfish request, Yumina asks for them to stop the war and Aisha tells Noel that like her ,she’s killed, and if no one else does, she forgives her.
Kureha says if they do this there’s no going back, Filicia says OK, Kanata says OK, Kureha says do what you want, and she says she doesn’t want a girl her age to be tortured either and Kureha breaks down in tears. Noel says it’s time to go, and Yumina asks for god’s blessing to be upon the Flame Maidens.
Well, the girls power up tank-kun, and they have also brought along the wounded Aisha. After Filicia orders Kanata to signal attack with the trumpet, they fire the main cannon blasting a hole in the fortress. When Hopkins sees the fully operational spider tank exiting the fortress he orders his forces to stop it but the civilians and Naomi say they’ll stand in his way, they don’t want more war. After Hopkins backs down and heads off to use another route, we hear the retelling of the Roman version of the legend. Long ago, god sent an angel to punish the world, but the angel was wounded so it landed to rest near a western town, and the maidens that lived in the fortress saved the angel. Even though he was sent to destroy them they took pity on him, and using the help of a giant spider they gave refuge to him in a nearby valley. They each took turns embracing the angel’s neck to staunch the blood flow, and in return he gave the maidens a golden horn but the townspeople found out and set fire to the valley. They burned the maidens, and took the angel’s head. Then a army of angels appeared and covered the sky, but a glorious sound filled the air and the angels left, the last maiden using her last breath had sounded the golden horn. While this retelling is going on; the girls use tank-kun to fight their way through (disabling but not killing) Hopkins’ forces.
Just as dawn is beginning to break, the order is given to charge, as both sides charge towards battle tank-kun basically flies through the air to land near the Helvetia forces. Tank-kun climbs atop a ruined building and Kanata gives the ceasefire signal but the Helvetia forces refuse to stop. Kanata exits the tank and plays amazing grace as the sun rises across the plain. The forces come to a stop and they listen to Kanata’s song. Some of the soldiers from the first episode remember Kanata from the train. A Helvetia officer starts yelling at the men for stopping the attack, but he’s soon interrupted.
Rio appears with the royal guard, and declares as second in line for the Helvetia throne and the finance of the Roman emperor that the peace talks are concluded and both sides are to disband. Rio holds out a peace treaty signed by both royal leaders, and she goes on to say that anyone disobeying this order will be punished by the royal guard in the name of both royal rulers. After this news sinks in both sides begin to celebrate the end of the war with Kanata getting a shout out from those guys from the first episode.
Well, spring has sprung and the cherry blossoms are falling at the Time Keeping Fortress, and the girls are talking about a letter Noel received from Aisha but they haven’t heard from Rio. Just then, Kanata hears Claus’s bike approaching, a new girl is arriving, no, Rio has returned. Rio is now a lieutenant who asks Captain Filicia for permission to enter, make it so. Well, Rio says the emperor isn’t really a bad guy, he’s a pretty decent guy, and he told Rio that he’d grant any wish for stopping the war, so she chose this. Rio is given a warm welcome home. Well, that’s all for this series until the bonus episodes.
Well, all good things must pass, and on the whole, Sora no Woto was a wonderful but slightly flawed series. Before this series began, I like many others had sort of dubbed this series K-On! goes to war, and one could hardly be blamed for jumping to this conclusion when we saw how close the character designs where to one another. But, as I watched this series progress I became engrossed in the many mysteries the post apocalypse world of Sora no Woto presented me with; I fell in love with the legends, the history, and the characters of Sora no Woto.
Before I continue with the series review I’ll cover the events of the final episode, for me this episode consisted of three parts.
Part one, Hopkins and the girls; in this portion of the episode we discovered a lot of information about Hopkins and Noel, and Hopkins’s true intentions. We and girls learn from Hopkins that the Helvetia army has known about the Roman army’s movement and intentions for a long time, they’ve been following it for about a month. We can also assume that their actions are meant to apply pressure on the Helvetians during the peace negotiations; it also seems that the Archduke has made the same conclusion due to the fact that he ordered Hopkins to take no actions. We also learn that Hopkins is off his rocker, while he might have been a good and efficient soldier in the past he’s decided to take matters into his own hands and restart the war with the Romans. I support Filicia’s decision about taking Hopkins into custody when he pretty much admitted that he doesn’t care what the Archduke’s orders where, and he’s going to do what he wants to do. Also, I thought that Aisha’s act of granting forgiveness to Noel was very well done and pretty realistic, only a person who’s killed in war can truly understand the burden that taking another’s life places upon one’s self. When Kanata heard the ceasefire signal in the distance it left Filicia with a pretty important decision, if Kanata is right and they do nothing the war will restart, if Kanata is right and they take action they could still be killed and the war could restart anyways, if Kanata was wrong and they take action they could be viewed as traitors and executed, if Kanata is wrong and they don’t action the war could restart and they be killed anyways, or they could take action and they could stop the war, well, that’s 4-1 for a bad outcome, but they decide to act.
Part two, the charge of the light brigade the Flame Maidens. Well, it was pretty sweet seeing the fully operational tank-kun in action and it was even more advanced that than I thought it would be. While tank-kun didn’t cut through Hopkins’s forces like a hot knife through butter, the girls’ intentions were to disable and not kill, plus speed was of the essence, if the girls were out to kill they could have stood off at a distance and put the tank into stealth & sniper mode and just picked off the enemy one by one with center mass kill shots. I didn’t think that the ending was as good as it could have been but I wasn’t totally bummed out about how it finished. So, the girls and tank-kun appear on the scene, and once Kanata figures out that playing ceasefire won’t work she goes and plays amazing grace which has a universal appeal for both sides buying enough time for Rio to appear on the scene with the signed peace treaty, while this ending does stretch the bounds of reality it wasn’t totally impossible. I had wondered as the series progressed how the writers where going to incorporate the legend of the flame maidens without sending the series into BS mode , so I was quite delighted when Aisha played the role of the demon/angel, with the girls protecting her instead of killing her. It was also very interesting seeing how different the Helvetia and Roman versions of the legend where. While I had hoped that the girls and Rio would have kicked some ass and made the Romans back off, I guess Rio trading herself as a royal wife was probably the better outcome for the two war weary countries. I also think that while both countries and their leaders where tired of war, Rio had to pay her pound of flesh if the Roman side had someone like Hopkins demanding something more than just a signed peace treaty with a return to status quo prewar relations, now the emperor can tell his hardliners, see we got our war reparations and our honor is restored, now STFU.
Part three, the ending, and the return of Rio. OK, this was probably the hardest part of the episode for me to accept, I could actually see the emperor giving his future wife a very long leash especially if my above conjecture is correct, but I can’t picture the Roman emperors future wife and the second in line for the Helvetia throne being allowed to return to an isolated and understaffed fortress, it would present to many opportunities for peace haters like Hopkins a shot at killed Rio and undermining the peace.
Now, for the series review; like I said earlier, I found Sora no Woto to be a wonderful but slightly flawed creation. I loved the mysteries of the past wars, the lost technology, the mixed cultures, the conflicting legends, and the political intrigue, but what I didn’t like was the many unresolved plot threads and unanswered questions. I’ll forgive Sora no Woto these faults because it was probably impossible to cover all the issues and ideas raised in the series due to the nature of it being only twelve episodes long. I think Sora no Woto would have been better served as a 24 episode series, but that’s water under the bridge. I think Sora no Woto did a great job at portraying the laid back nature of secluded military garrison life, and showing the interesting things that make up a soldiers life when not at war. I think that Sora no Woto did a believable job in portraying how a military unit might function where the age of adulthood has dropped to as low as 13-14 (Kureha is 14 at the start of the series, so she probably was 13 in basic training), so I wasn’t very bothered by how Filicia and Rio sometimes acted more like mothers and fathers to the girls rather than hard assed leaders. Overall, Sora no Woto managed to provided me with an entertaining and enjoyable viewing experience that included just the right balance of Moe, Mono no Aware, drama, and lighthearted comedy.