Episode 23, "Farewell to the Days of Old"
Synopsis: Reinhard is presented with the war prisoners at Geiersburg. Farenheit is brought into his fold. Ansbach makes an attempt on Reinhard's life, but misses, and fatally injures Kircheis in the struggle, then commits suicide. Reinhard is devestated by the loss of his dear friend, seeing and talking to nobody for several days. Oberstein contacts Annerose in an attempt to stir his superior from his seclusion, which works. Meanwhile, Minister of State, Lichtenlade, is taken into custody to prevent his schemes into stopping Reinhard's rise to power.
Huh. I guess this isn't the season finale after all. So each season will be 12 episodes? Well, they really could have wrapped it up here, to be honest. It's more of a natural conclusion than some of the cruft at the end of the second novel.
But speaking of the second novel, this is a pretty straightforward, no frills, conventional adaptation of the first, I'd say, half, of Chapter 9. It's amazing, actually, how much happens in the span of just a few pages of the book. We have Kircheis' weapon taken from him, the meeting with Farenheit, Ansbach appears with Braunschweig, takes out the weapon, misses Reinhard, Kircheis is wounded by Ansbach's ring laser (insert clip of Super Saiyan Blue Goku in Resurrection F), Ansbach kills himself with the poisoned molar in his mouth (imagine you accidentally popped that thing while eating vigorously!), Kircheis breaths his last, all within five pages (in the edition I have, anyway). If that's not an economy of storytelling, I don't know what is!
In the original OVA, things are spaced slightly differently. The beginning of the assassination attempt is in the same episode where Braunschweig is forced to commit suicide by poison. In that version, the episode ends when Ansbach fires his cannon. The next episode picks up where that leaves off, with the blast missing Reinhard (interesting detail in the OVA that wasn't in the book or DNT: Oberstein shielding Reinhard). Now, this has the added benefit of having Kircheis' death in the final episode of "season 1" of the OVA, making a more dramatic conclusion to the story arc. If the next episode is the remaining part of Chapter 9, not as much is going to happen, it's pretty much just winding down and hints as to what's to come.
An advantage this episode has over the OVA version, though, is that it dedicates nearly an entire episode to Kircheis' death and the immediate fallout, Reinhard's near catatonia, and Oberstein's plan to blame the loss on the remaining vestiges of the old nobility in the Empire (that is, the Minister of State and his flunkies) unfolding. Though that means there's less to actually say about it, ironically, because it's all part of the same one event.
Reinhard was able to, with his brilliance, crafty subordinates, and the arrogance of the Lipstaddt Alliance, coast through the Imperial Civil War pretty much untouched throughout until now. More than that, he allowed the Westerland Incident occur with no real backlash by his men or the civilians- on the contrary, he was made to be all the more heroic in comparison to the boyars. In comparison, Yang's faction lost more in their fight against the National Salvation Council, with Jessica Edwards' death and that of Admiral Greenhill (though, in fairness, he was leading the coup faction). Reinhard finally loses something substantial here, in many ways his other half, his dearest friend and colleague, and it's a cut that wounds Reinhard's heart deeply.
It's easy to write off Oberstein's intense pragmatism as a cruel coldness, because, let's face it, he's an unsentimental man with his artificial eyes fixed on only practical gains. There's not a trace of romanticism in him, despite an underlying ideal for a greater and more just Empire. But I have to say, the man is by far the MVP of this episode, doing more to help Reinhard than his other, dumbfounded subordinates, and it was my favorite part outside of Kircheis' brave sacrifice. Showing his hyper competence, he managed to frame the problem in a way that not only benefited Reinhard, but the Empire at large, by removing Litchenlade and paving the way for Reinhard, all the while coaxing the latter out of his funk via his sister, Annerose. Now, I'm not sure I would go as far as labeling Oberstein one of my favorite characters (of Reinhard's closest allies, I prefer Mittermeyer and Reuenthal), but it's impossible to ignore his significance here.
Anyway, NEXT WEEK is the season finale of DNT, where Yang has to shake hands with that snake Trunicht and more schemes from various factions are underway.
4 out of 5