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Episode 1: Zero Hour

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

January 3, 2019

 

Summary

 

At a cemetery on the east coast of the US, Tessa visits her parents' graves. Leonard comes up behind her and she says that she's surprised he even remembers their parents. Leonard says that he's also here to persuade Tessa to stop fighting him but the latter tells him to save his breath as the Arbalest deactivates its ECS and points its shot cannon forward. A purple Codarl similarly uncloaks and does the same. Leonard bids Tessa goodbye and has the Codarl pilot Lee Fowler pick him up and escape using ECS. Tessa orders a withdrawal and apologizes to Sousuke for making him late to school just as Gebo 9's MH-67 helicopter uncloaks. At a nearby airbase, Leonard meets with Amalgam operative Kurama. Kurama asks why Leonard didn't take out the Arbalest at the cemetery, and the latter replies that the fight would have ended in a draw because Mithril was probably prepared for them. He also adds that his personal arm slave Belial was still being fine-tuned and wasn't ready. Kurama questions Leonard's loyalty and the latter says he will do everything he can to take down Mithril. Kurama says that he won't play around like Gaulon and Gates did and will follow the plan for the Zero Hour operation. At Jindai High, the student council finishes counting the ballots for electing the next student council president to replace Hayashimizu who will be graduating from high school. Chidori thanks Kyoko for being on the election committee and reminds her not to be late for her part-time job. Hayashimizu thanks Chidori and Sousuke for their help with the student council and they begin discussing their college entrance exams. Chidori isn't confident that she'll do well on her test but Hayashimizu remarks that she gets nearly perfect grades in science and math. Hayashimizu asks to speak to Sousuke privately on the roof and tells him that a lot of things happened in the nine months since he transferred to the school. He remarks that Sousuke can no longer keep up the life he's leading now because whenever something happens Chidori is always at the center of it and eventually people will notice. With Hayashimizu graduating he will no longer be around to cover up for Sousuke. Sousuke says that he likes it here but Hayashimizu reminds him that the students will turn on him if something dangerous happens because they'll get frightened. Sousuke asks if Hayashimizu is implying that he needs to leave but the latter retorts that he should at least discuss it with Chidori. On the way home, Sousuke holds hands with Chidori. Chidori invites him up to her place for some food, but when she opens the door Sousuke senses someone and bolts inside with his gun drawn. They find Leonard waiting for them with a pair of Alastors.

 

Sousuke fires at Leonard but the latter's coat moves on its own and blocks the bullet. Leonard tells them that Amalgam has lost too many times to Mithril and has decided to get serious. He offers Chidori to come peacefully with him now rather than by force later. Chidori retorts that she will never go with Leonard because she hates his guts. Leonard reminds her that she's superior to all the people around her and leaves while remarking that an investigation into Sousuke revealed that he's killed more than a hundred people. Sousuke tries to comfort Chidori but she momentarily reels away from him before saying that they shouldn't worry about what Leonard says. Sousuke informs Kalinin of the situation and the latter tells him to hold out until a helicopter arrives the next morning to pick them up. Tessa remarks that she suspected this day would arrive and orders the Arbalest to be sent with the helicopter. Tessa contacts tactical headquarters in Sydney and informs Admiral Borda of the situation. Borda says that something strange has been happening with the intelligence division and he hasn't been able to reach Lord Mallory since yesterday. Tessa urges Borda to evacuate to a safe location just as the video connection becomes unstable and disconnects. In Sydney, Mithril's tactical headquarters building is bombed as Amalgam commences the Zero Hour operation. The Merida island operators report that all communication lines, radars and sensors are down. Tessa asks if the cause was an EMP attack but the operator replies that the scale is too large to be man-made. Tessa orders the entire base to be put on yellow one alert. Mao meets up with Weber on the way to the hangar and elbows him when he remarks that she looks hot in her new officer uniform. Back in Tokyo, Sousuke and Chidori wait in a car at the designated pickup location while the former tries to contact Merida island. Chidori wakes up and asks when the helicopter will arrive but Sousuke doesn't know because he hasn't been able to reach anyone at headquarters or Wraith since last night as all phone and satellite communication is down. Sousuke says that they need to take refuge at Merida island and Chidori asks if they'll be able to come back. Sousuke dodges the question and says that Amalgam is fixated on Chidori's Whispered abilities. Chidori retorts that her ability is unreliable but Sousuke reminds her of what Hayashimizu said about her test scores. Chidori says that she will hide her abilities but Sousuke says that it's no use because Amalgam already knows. Gebo 9 finally gets within radio communications range and informs Sousuke of what happened. Sousuke then notices that they are surrounded by soldiers and Alastors and tells Gebo 9 that he will try to escape them. Gebo 9 tells him to hold out for another five minutes.

 

Commentary

 

After thirteen years of waiting, Invisible Victory picks up after The Second Raid. I hope you're caught up on the previous seasons (or at least the compilation movie trilogy) because this episode hits the ground running with several new developments and introductions. First off is Amalgam operative Kurama, who looks suspiciously like French actor Jean Reno and in particular his character Leon from The Professional. Hayashimizu makes his first appearance outside of Fumoffu and reminds us that he always knows more than he lets on by implying knowledge of Chidori's Whispered ability and the existence of Mithril. Leonard popping up again in front of Chidori stirred up the unpleasant memory of him stealing her first kiss, which isn't helping when she and Sousuke are finally starting to step up their relationship a bit. The rest of the episode deals with Amalgam starting a very aggressive push to eliminate Mithril and grab Chidori, but ends before any real action starts. Speaking of action, it's time to talk about the elephant in the room. The mecha in this season are rendered with CG, but what little of it shown so far was fine and hopefully won't have a negative impact.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory Episode 1 Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory Episode 1

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Buy the collection (eps 1-12) on Blu-ray from Amazon

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