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Episode 16: The Division Crosses the Sea

 

Review by Chris Guanche

August 3, 2011

 

Summary

 

Division 2 is on duty at the Sapporo Winter Festival in the northern island of Hokkaido, where multiple construction labors are constructing buildings out of ice blocks. Kanuka wants to warm up the Ingrams, and Asuma comments that Shige was worried about the cold affecting the Ingrams, but Goto points out that the other labors are doing fine. Asuma tells Noa that their presence is a publicity stunt designed to help improve their public image. Kanuka doesn't think this makes any sense, because Division 1 is left to cover Tokyo by itself, and Hiromi wonders if there's something more to it. A Bulldog pilot asks them for help, and Ota begins stacking ice blocks, which strangely enough he enjoys. A boy runs away when Noa spots him, and he tosses out several sheets onto the ground to make Ota lose balance when he slips on them. Noa tries to catch Ota, but they both slide into a Greek ice temple and destroy it. Shinobu calls Goto to ask how things are going, and he tells it's boring. He asks if she's learned why they were really sent to Hokkaido, and she tells him that the Earth Defense Army hates the Babylon Project. Those eco-terrorists have issued a threat against the Winter Festival, but the public is being kept in the dark. Furthermore, two Hishii labors were stolen from a repair shop, with the message "Beware of L." Goto comments that the eco-terrorists specialize in labor crime, so he wonders if the "L" is for labor. He wonders if the threat against Sapporo is fake and the real target is Tokyo, but Shinobu tells him that's why Division 1 stayed behind. Division 2 stands around with nothing to do now, and Ota blames Noa for butting in and not catching the kid tossing the sheets. A couple of kids gather around to look at the Ingrams, and the sheet-tossing boy Satoru begins reciting the Ingram's specs. A teacher named Kiyama recalls that Satoru recently moved from Tokyo, and one of the kids comments that Satoru said he hates labors, so he shouldn't come to see them. Hiromi and Noa look at the ice Babylon Castle, which is being built by the Babylon Construction Corporation. Satoru chases the other children around and angrily throws a snowball at Unit 1. Noa quickly turns and causes Hiromi to fall from Unit 1's shoulders, but she manages to catch him before he hits the ground. Kiyama recognizes Noa and sits down to eat corn on the cob with her, Asuma and Hiromi. Kiyama and Noa went to high school together, and Kiyama is now working as a teacher. Kiyama says she's surprised that Noa is part of the infamous Division 2 and adds that even in Hokkaido they've heard about Division 2's disasters. Kiyama mentions that Satoru recently had to move to Hokkaido because his house in Tokyo was destroyed by a labor, so now he hates all labors. Kiyama thinks that Satoru probably used to love labors, and Noa says that what happened was probably an accident. An explosion goes off nearby, and it's determined that the terrorists placed one of the stolen labors on site and planted a time bomb in it. Shinshi reports to Goto that the terrorists have issued another threat stating that they'll smash the Babylon Project with an iron hammer. Shinshi wonders if the terrorists will target the festival again, and Goto answers that it's possible since they still have one labor. Ota thinks the sheets were the work of terrorists, and when Noa fails to convince him otherwise, she asks Hiromi to get Ota in a bear hug so she and Kiyama can run off. Noa tells Kiyama about Satoru and the sheets, and Asuma overhears and steps in. Kiyama wants Noa to keep quiet while she tries to find Satoru and talk to him.

 

Noa wakes up during the night and goes over to the hangar where the Ingrams are being stored. She says she won't let anyone blame Alphonse, and Asuma overhears and leaves a can of coffee for Noa. He then goes back to his room and hears a noise, so he looks outside and sees a Rex 2500 labor planting a bomb inside the ice Babylon Castle. He then runs to the hangar with the system disk and tells Noa to investigate. Noa confronts the Rex 2500 and asks it to stop, so the pilot responds by throwing ice sculptures at her. The Rex 2500 then slams into Noa and knocks her down. Asuma tells her to fight back, and she says that she doesn't want to destroy the sculptures. Ota shows up and blows off the Rex 2500's left arm, and Unit 2's continued shots damage the sculptures. Noa grapples him from behind and tells him to stop, and the terrorists shine a bright light to blind everyone and cover their escape in a waiting van. However, Kanuka is in the driver's seat and the police surround the van. In the morning, Goto tells everyone that the terrorists planted a bomb that's set to explode at noon, so he wants Noa and Ota to search the sculptures. Asuma suggests searching for labor footprints, but Kanuka points out that the scene is a mess from the chase last night. With only two hours left, the search begins. With no progress, Asuma asks Noa to think like a criminal and where she would plant a bomb. She says sculptures are too heavy to lift and would probably break, so she'd remove a block and stash it behind there, which would leave marks. Kiyama tells Goto that she needs to talk to Noa about Satoru, but Goto tells her that Noa is busy searching for a bomb. Ota thinks it would be easier to find the bomb if they just smashed the sculptures, but Kanuka tells him that would only make things harder. Goto looks at TV news footage of the Babylon Castle and makes the connection with the Babylon Project and the threat. He announces that the bomb is in the castle and tells everyone to search the blocks that form the letter L. Satoru runs toward the castle and spots the block with marks. Noa carefully pulls out the block and finds the bomb. She switches to the feedback gloves to handle the bomb because it's so small. She pulls out the bomb and tosses it high in the air, allowing Ota to shoot it. Shinobu calls Goto and tells him he's lucky that the terrorists only planted one bomb, which causes him to panic. Noa gives Satoru a hug, and they laugh together.

 

Commentary

 

This episode takes Division 2 far away from Tokyo to Hokkaido, where Noa is from. Ostensibly, they're there to help out with the Sapporo Winter Festival, but the real goal is to deal with an unpublished terrorist threat. As the series goes on, we're starting to see more references to the Babylon Project, which played a big role in the original OVA series and the first movie. But given that the Babylon Project is based in Tokyo, I don't see how it would serve terrorists to blow up ice sculptures all the way up in Hokkaido. That doesn't make much sense. But given that most of the terrorists in the TV series are depicted as blundering fools, I guess that's not surprising.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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