Infinite Ryvius: 5 – 8
Another week, another four episodes of Ryvius. At this stage we’re still very much in setup territory, with lots of attention being paid to the characters and their surroundings – Ryvius is really doing a fantastic job at laying its all important groundwork.
These four episodes take place over the space of a few weeks, and it’s pretty amazing how much things can change in that short space of time. Episode five takes place only 72 hours after the original disaster and things are still frantic as the students attempt to establish some sort of order and routine. The students are lucky that the Ryvius is a fantastically well equipped ship – it’s got enough stores to feed over 1000 people for a few months, more than enough for the 487 survivors to live on comfortably while they await rescue. The ship also has a very powerful gravity field, providing a stable 1G environment inside (which means the girls can get their skirts out apparently), and an effective shield when deployed outside the ship.
The ship is also equipped with a mecha referred to as the ‘Vital Guarder’, whose impractical bipedal design causes Kouji & Izumi to collapse into hysterical laughter when they first see it. The Vital Guarder requires 5 people to pilot it, so one of the Zwei team decided to take the top 4 pilots from among the trainees (which includes Izumi & Yuki) to learn the ins & outs of the system. The Vital Guarder is launched at the end of episode 8, so I won’t get to see it in action till next week, but if Kouji’s voice-over at the end of the episode is any indication, it should be an interesting sight.
Much of these four episodes were given over to the conflict between the Aiba siblings. Yuki seems to be extremely volatile. When he finds out what he’s been placed on Kouji’s team (without Kouji’s knowledge), Yuki assumes that Kouji has been meddling and promptly attempts to beat the crap out of his elder brother. We still don’t have the full story on these brothers, but we do learn that their parents are divorced and Kouji apparently took his role as the eldest son very seriously always trying to look out for Yuki. Through their shouting matches it seems that Yuki’s major issue is with Kouji’s doormat personality – the boy doesn’t seem to really try to do anything solely for himself……although I don’t think trying to batter him into a pulp is going to be an effective way to make Kouji change much.
Yuki just seems to be horrible with people. His primary method of communication seems to be via his fists or in snarled one-liners – in these four episodes alone he fights with Kouji, Izumi and Blue (with various degrees of success). By contrast Aoi notes that Kouji has a way of gradually making friends with everyone. This is seen in action as Kouji ends up on the Bridge in charge of relaying the state of affairs to the student body. Kouji also seems to be a natural peacemaker (even if he doesn’t like that role), looking for the third option when neither party on the Bridge can agree – even if that third option is something he himself doesn’t want to do.
The two brothers are radically different, and each proclaim to hate the other, but it’s abundantly clear that they care for each other. Kouji elects to stay on the Bridge because Yuki is being held as a hostage, and he also can’t help but attempt to look after Yuki when he’s been beat up by Blue. Yuki also seems to be tormented by guilt over the scarring on Kouji’s back, probably caused by the time Yuki beat Kouji so badly he had to be hospitalised. Yuki also remains on the Vital Guarder team, and is (mostly) obedient as Kouji is effectively hostage on the Bridge – they have round-a-bout ways of showing it, but they do care.
The gradual degradation of order on the Ryvius is unsurprising, but still interesting to watch. Once Blue’s group learns exactly what’s been going on (after ‘Charlie’ spills all to them) and how the Zwei group have been keeping quiet about a lot of things, they effectively hijack the Bridge. While they are right to take power away from the pompous ‘Captain’ Lucson and give control the more level-headed Juli, and the rest of the students really did need to know just what kind of situation they were really in. Still it was handled poorly, resulting in Zwei having to endure an unfair backlash, reaching a point where its unsafe for them to wear their uniforms out in the general ship. After all they’d all be dead already if it wasn’t for Zwei making some tough decisions in order to ensure survival.
The few weeks that it takes the Ryvius to travel through the Geduld to Mars orbit sees the teenage population of the ship start to get lazy and discontent. The state of the ship’s interior turns from gleaming hi-tech to grubby shanty-town remarkably quickly, and where once the majority of the students tried to pull their weight to keep the ship running, by the end of the few weeks voyage & following Blue’s group taking over, only a handful of dedicated students are doing any work at all. Tension within the Ryvius is reaching a fever pitch and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be diffused any time soon.
What Ryvius does extremely well is giving a sense of this being a ship filled with real people, not faceless masses. In background shots and montages, you see the same characters in different situations repeatedly. Even without them being named, these background characters are being gradually fleshed out by the actions and interactions with the ship & named cast – it’s extremely well done.
In the larger world outside the Ryvius, we are given a few more glimpses of the authorities attempting to gain control of the Ryvius. These are official, powerful agencies with lots of resources, enough to cover-up exactly what happened to all those students on Liebe Delta. Our cast are effectively in a no-mans land now, as far as the world is concerned they all died in a tragic accident. Why the authorities feel the need to constantly attack the Ryvius is a mystery. The ship is clearly very powerful, but the students have no idea how to really work it properly. Every time the ship does something remarkable, it’s been down to that pink avatar girl acting on her own.
In episode 8 when Juli & Kouji are desperately trying to hail the attacking ships pleading for rescue, they are completely ignored. Why can’t the authorities just talk to the students? They’d be more than willing to hand the ship over, all they want is to go home! Of course that option is no longer open to the students – once Blue fired that shot & sent out the Vital Guarder it sealed their fate; the Ryvius is going to have to continue fighting and running just to survive. It will be interesting to see if they can do it without completely falling apart on the inside.
Looking forward to next week when we see the Vital Guarder in action and see just how the students react when they learn rescue is no longer on the cards!