Episode 31, "Lost Things"
Synopsis: Ernest Mecklinger, the "Artist Admiral" visits Hildegard von Mariendorf's ill cousin, Heinrich von Kümmel. Meanwhile, the plan to warp Geiersburg Fortress to the Iserlohn Corridor proceeds. Admiral Kempf, in charge of the operation, says his goodbyes to his family. After a warp test is successful, Reinhard visits the place where Kircheis died to remind himself to keep his ambitions going.
It's great when an episode has a perfectly enclosed theme that applies to basically everything in the episode, even if it also adapts a chapter of a book. Maybe Tanaka was thinking specifically of the theme of "lost things" when he wrote the chapter (and thus the name of it, and this episode). But while little actually happens in this episode, we get quite a bit of thematic meat.
Episode 31 is a pretty faithful adaptation of Chapter 4 of the second LoGH book. It covers Mecklinger's visit to Kümmel, Hilda's coversation with Reinhard about the Empire's enemy, Mittermeyer and Reunthal's conversation about the death of Kircheis and its effects, and the warp test. It even includes the thought of Reunthal that a bomb thrown into the mess of people watching the warp test would change the future of the whole universe. In the novel, however, he merely thinks this, while here in DNT, it's a joke he makes in very poor taste, which is a nice touch for the somewhat fatalistic admiral.
All of the episode revolves around the theme of things that have been lost. Specifically Reinhard's psyche following the death of Seigfried Kircheis at the end of the previous season, robbing Reinhard of his good friend and that friend's calming influence, but also, in a way, the things lost to Kümmel because of his lifelong sickness. A loss of vibrancy and activity, a limitation that affects him physically and Reinhard spiritually. Reinhard needs an enemy to keep going, to keep active and temporarily put aside his grief.
It also may apply to Kempf and his family, who lose him to this operation. And we can see all the basic death flags when he's with his family. They're not exactly subtle in how they telegraph his ultimate fate. I don't even feel like I'm spoiling anything here, it's so brazen. I mean, the little kids making a medal for their father? Come on. But you still can't help feel a little bad for all of them, even if the strings can be seen.
The test warp for Geiersburg is very impressive, visual-wise, and I expect the fortress-versus-fortress combat we'll see in the future will be just as, if not more. Die Neue These hasn't skimped on visuals in this season thus far and I hope they don't suddenly cheapen out when the real action begins.
Another great scene is Reinhard at the end, taking some time to go to the room where Kircheis died to reflect on his loss and energize his ambitions. I don't believe we got that scene in the original OVA (correct me if I'm wrong). It's an excellent capper to the episode.
Anyway, we're about to get a dose of Yang Wenli, because up next is the court of inquiry that tests our brandy tea-swilling hero's patience.
4 out of 5