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Anime: Shirogane No Ishi Argevollen

The members of the 8th Independent Mechanized Corps

The Kingdom of Arandas Alliance and the Countries Unification of Ingelmia have been at war for many years. The situation has been at a stalemate across the fortress of the Great Wall, which has never been penetrated since the foundation of Arandas—until now that is. Enter Tokimune Susumu, a rookie mecha pilot forced to fall back along with the rest of his squadron until Arandas' reinforcements arrive at the border. Tokimune finds himself plunged into the center of the war when he decides to dive in and save a civilian transport from the attacking Ingelmians. His actions force him to pilot the titular Argevollen, a powerful new Super Prototype mecha.

A 24-episode anime-first production by Studio XEBEC, Shirogane Ishi no Argevollen (literally Silver-Will Argevollen) aired during the Summer 2014 Anime season.

This work contains examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Richtofen's Trail Krieger, which has noticeably more thrusters attached to it, but is otherwise identical to a normal Ingelmian mass produced unit.
  • Ace Pilot: Richthofen is clearly better than all the other pilots seen in the first 5 episodes. His superiors trust him enough to let him fight the Argevollen on his own.
  • Animation Bump: The show's second opening is noticeably more fluid and detailed. Shame the rest of the series wasn't like it.
  • Asshole Victim: Director Suguro of Kybernes is shot dead by Quasimodo in the ending, right after he was revealed to be planning to start another weapons company since Kybernes had gone bankrupt and move to another conflict zone.
  • Attack Drone: As revealed by episode 12, at its inception, the Argevollen project aimed to produce these, with the test-type remotely controlling unmanned Trail Kriegers to fight for it. Indeed, they're similar to the G-Bits from Gundam-X, given how they're controlled by the brainwaves of the pilot of the main unit. The project ended up seeing results in the form of the "Perfevollen" unmanned mechs. The same system can also remotely control the Argevollen and the Sturm Alpha/Beta units.
  • Back from the Brink: General Cayenne wants to pull this off using the Perfevollen company-sized unit, and Arandas actually starts retaking some of their territory from Ingelmia in episode 20. However, the rest of the Arandas top brass is not happy with this since preliminary negotiations for a truce are underway, and Cayenne's string of victories threatens to throw this off.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: In the finale, the gunshot that rings out is Suzushiro killing Cayenne. Samonji, who was prepared to Go Out with a Smile, looks absolutely devastated to be still alive.
  • Beauty Mark: Suzushiro has one under her left eye.
  • The Berserker: A pilot who has gone beyond 75% Linkage Depth essentially becomes this, suffering the full effects of the N.R. Syndrome note  caused by the Link system. Comes to NO surprise, as the "N.R." means Nanjou Reika, Tokimune's sister, the first pilot who experienced this.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the dozens of soldiers who get blown up and sent flying and the numerous tanks and mechs being destroyed, there has yet to be a drop of blood seen in the show. Averted in episode 18 when Ingelmian Intelligence agent Lontar murders Brigadier General Zarl and his assistant, who are shown as bloody corpses.
  • Black Box: Invoked Trope in episode 20, after Kybernes discontinues official support for the Argevollen, its operating manual is declassified and Jamie is able to download the whole thing to her tablet. One of the female mechanics eagerly chants "Black box! Black box!" as they can now finally understand how the Argevollen works down to its nuts and bolts.
  • Blue Blood: General Zarl of Ingelmia comes from an old and distinguished aristocratic family and has personally known the ruler of Ingelmia, Junios, since childhood.
  • Breather Episode: After all the fighting in the first three episodes everyone gets a break in episode 4. The next episode slowly gets back to the action and fighting.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Trail Krieger pilot Lorenz Giuliano, who apparently hits on a different girl in the 8th Independent Corps before each mission.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Argevollen is controlled by thought, and locks onto the brainwave patterns and vital signatures of the first person to pilot it. This means that Tokimune can't leave the extremely physically and mentally taxing task of piloting it to a more experienced member of his squadron.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Arandas military uses green uniforms while Ingelmian troops wear dark blue.
  • Communications Officer: The cute-as-a-button Corporal Akino Terai from the 8th Unit, whose role on the battlefield is to coordinate comms between the command vehicle and the troops in the field.
  • Constructed World: This is clearly a fictional world, as Humongous Mecha exist but aircraft were never developed.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In episode 3 Richthofen effortlessly destroys all of the regular enemy units that get in his way, and even the titular manages to only slow him down. Fortunately for Susumu the battle gets interrupted.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Tokimune joined the army mainly to find a way to learn the truth about his sister's death.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ukyou's impressive strategic skills are implied to have come from being forced to make a lot of tough decisions in the past.
    • Episode 12 reveals why: It turns out he was once the head of a guard detail for the test pilot of the initial research project that would eventually result in the Argevollen. Said tests ended disastrously, and ended up getting the woman he loved, Reika, who's also Tokimune's older sister, killed.
  • Death Seeker: We find out by the end that Samonji's goal in taking control of the Perfevollen squad was to get himself killed and be Together in Death with Reika. He doesn't get the chance.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: And combined with Dying Declaration of Love too! Reika dies almost immediately after Samonji pulls her out of the test-type's cockpit, but not before she could whisper her feelings to him.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Ingelmian leadership justifies their invasion as a war for liberation.
  • Doomed Hometown: The 8th Independent Corps is forced to abandon Okui's hometown of Whispe when a large force of Ingelmian trail kriegers advance on it.
  • The Dreaded: The Arandas soldiers on the desert frontline refer to the Trail Krieger that's been massacring them as "the Ghost" due to the fact that it always kills everyone that encounters it.
  • Driven to Suicide: Reika turns the remote-controlled Trail Kriegers on her command unit, before they could do further damage to the Argent Point base and kill all her friends in the process.
  • During the War: The series opens in the middle of the Ingelmian invasion of Arandas, with Arandas very much on the losing side.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first thing Reika Nanjou does is use her mech to interrupt a military briefing solely so she can run up to Saori Suzushiro and say hi, because she was just that glad to see another female soldier.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The chief mechanic is simply called "Hanchou", which is literally just "Chief" in Japanese.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Jamie was on her way to the brig to give Susumu a piece of her mind after his actions at the restaurant party. She arrives just in time to hear Suzushiro telling Susumu the true story of his sister's death.
  • Expy: Lorenz Guiliano, of Kurz Weber.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: The sequence is played pretty straight, except Susumu is already a trained soldier and pilot. We find out later that the actual pilot of the Argevollen was supposed to be Brigadier General Cayenne.
  • Friendly Sniper: Though his Krieger is more of a walking artillery piece than a sniper, Lorenz fits the bill, as does the 8th Independant Unit's Big Fun, a foot soldier and sniper who uses an anti-armor rifle to fight against mechs and vehicles.
  • General Ripper: A good deal of Arandas' generals simply don't care about what happens to the troops on the ground, and have even tried, on different occasions, to sacrifice Tokimune's unit to seize a (temporary) tactical advantage.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The proto-Argevollen research project ended up causing severe brain damage and loss of identity to its test pilot, who then went insane and caused the drones to destroy the whole testing grounds before committing suicide.
  • Go Out with a Smile: After he shuts down the Perfevollen and Sturm Beta units, Samonji wanders off into the forest where Cayenne finds him and is about to shoot him. Samonji can only smile as he is about to have his dream fulfilled... but Suzushiro saves him, makes eye contact with him for a moment, and then leaves without a word. He's in complete shock at this.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: Late in the war, Samonji lures in the Ingelmian forces new "Sturm Beta" models as well as Tokimune in the Argevollen, and activates some kind of override program in his Perfevollen unit that allows to take complete control of all the Sturm Betas and the Argevollen.
  • Gratuitous German: Some soldiers have German names and some technological terms are taken from German.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: The Arandas military leadership has an overly familiar relationship with the Kybernes Corporation and thinks nothing of sacrificing troops for short-sighted reasons. The Ingelmian government's justification of their invasion of Arandas sounds suspiciously close to authoritarian propaganda, with constant proclamations of their "glorious mission" and urging citizens to give everything they have to the war effort, including buying war bonds. Apparently, some of the military top brass find the Ingelmian leadership grating, and rumors of a coup are in the air. The coup on Ingelmia never happens because Intelligence Agent Lontar secretly assassinates General Zarl, the man who was plotting one. It is in Arandas that a full-fledged coup occurs when General Cayenne draws a line in the sand between victory or surrender and splits the Arandasian army in two.
    • On the other hand, the individual soldiers of the respective sides are more or less decent people caught up in a bad situation. Schlief Richthofen may be a ruthless Ace Pilot, but he greatly values the lives of the soldiers he fights with, and he is shown to be heavily affected when a friend of his dies in the war. Tokimune meanwhile joined the army because he wanted to find out why his sister, an army officer, died under suspicious circumstances.
  • Handsome Lech: Lorenz, who squad-leader Silfy nicknames "Ero-Otoko", or "Sexy-Boy".
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: None of the Trail Krieger pilots featured seem to wear any helmets, which is odd, when one considers how much they get bounced around in their cockpits. Played straight of course for the common foot soldiers, who get them as part of their standard kit.
  • Hidden Depths: Akino, the 8th Independent's resident communications officer, apparently used to be an idol singer, though she's a little embarrassed at this particular facet of her past.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ingelmian Major Conrad Daniels attempts to take on the Argevollen single-handedly, and very nearly manages to disable it, but is killed when Susumu manages to grab the knife Daniels' Trail Krieger is holding and stabs him with it.
  • Hot Scientist: Jamie Hazaford, the only surviving engineer familiar with the Argevollen's operating system.
  • Information Broker: Quasimodo, a former Arandas soldier who was involved with the proto-Argevollen experiments with Reika and Samonji who is now retired on Bellhas. He tips off Samonji about plenty of things, most importantly the Viltriveld conspiracy that is playing both sides.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Army vs Intelligence Service, and this is a problem on both sides of the conflict.
  • Jerkass: Brigadier General Cayenne of the Arandas military. He suddenly summons Samonji to his office back at headquarters for the sole reason of disclosing to him that Susumu is Reika's brother. This summons is the reason why Samonji and Suzushiro were unavailable to command the defense of Whispe. But when Samonji arrives, he jerks him around and wastes his time with meaningless small talk, even offering him wine to drink when it is clearly in violation of military regulations due to Samonji still being on duty. He only says what he has to say once it's clear Samonji has had enough of his BS and was about to leave. Then he tops everything he just did by having the audacity to ask Samonji "By the way, that woman waiting for you outside... have you fucked her yet?" Wow.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Samonji as of episode 20. With some underhanded emotional blackmail (regarding Samonji's memories of Reika and concern for Tokimune), Cayenne has enlisted him to be the controller of the Perphevollen battalion, removing him from Unit 8.
  • Libation for the Dead: At the end of episode 9, Richthofen orders two glasses of wine, one for himself and the other for his deceased friend Conrad.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Sturm Alpha unit is as fast, if not faster, than the Argevollen and packs even deadlier weaponry.
  • The Lost Lenore: Reika, for Samonji. Her ideals while alive more or less shaped his current attitude towards the unit under his command.
  • Made of Explodium: Downplayed with the Trail Kriegers in the series. They will explode if shot with gunfire, but not if stabbed with an anti-armor knife. Probably justified in that the assault rifles utilized by TKs likely use high-explosive armor-piercing ammunition.
  • Meaningful Name: Seeker, who's the scout of the 8th Independent.
  • Meganekko: Jamie, while on duty, though she leaves the glasses off whenever she's doing something unrelated to Argevollen's maintenance. Also one of the mechanics of the 8th Independent is this.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: As of episode 13, the 8th Independent Unit's pilots (minus Tokimune and the Argevollen) have upgraded to the new "Seiran" Trail Krieger. The Seiran boasts lightweight carbon nanomembrane armor, which allows it to move faster than their old Trail Kriegers while being able to take the same amount of punishment.
    • Richthofen has moved up to the Sturm Alpha prototype as of episode 14.
    • The Ingelmian military as a whole begins deploying the Sturm Beta model as of episode 20, a mass-produced Sturm Alpha.
  • Military Coup: In episode 21, the Arandas top brass have committed to seeking a negotiated truce with Ingelmia. This outrages General Cayenne, and he storms out of the meeting room, taking almost half of Arandas's officers with him. Later that day, he calls on the Arandas military to rise up and follow his lead to victory, while the top brass issue an arrest order for Cayenne. The majority of the army opts to follow Cayenne, and in the next episode, the top three generals are arrested. Even more unsettlingly, Captain Samonji is one of the officers who backs Cayenne.
  • Mood Whiplash: In episode 11, the squad is relaxing at a restaurant to celebrate Okui's successful command of the Whispe evacuation. It's all fun and games, with even Captain Samonji showing up to join in. Then he goes to speak to Tokimune in private and tells him how his sister died, and that he could have prevented her death but didn't. Tokimune flips out and delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the captain until his squadmates pull him away. The episode ends with Tokimune locked up in the brig.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Downplayed with Silfy, who's skintight piloting suit is nearly identical to Tokimune's male one. That doesn't change the fact that it leaves little to the imagination, however.
  • My Greatest Failure: For Commander Samonji, not stopping the weapon tests that eventually got Reika killed, despite having the power to do so.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Viltriveld. They're still totally nebulous as of the ending.
  • The Neutral Zone: Bellhas, an resort island part of the country of Wild Reveld (first part pronounced "willed"). It is actually not formally part of the country but is on lease to Wild Reveld from Arandas. The island's businesses are willing to service soldiers from both Arandas and Ingelmia so long as they are not in uniform.
  • New Meat: Namie Portman joins the 8th Independent Unit halfway through. She was also one of Tokimune's comrades when they were still in training. She's quite inexperienced, necessitating a training exercise to both test the new Seiran mech and to accustom her to working with the squad.
  • Nom de Mom: Tokimune's family name is from his mother's side, which is why Samonji did not realize that he was Reika Nanjou's brother.
  • Number Two: Suzushiro, who makes sure that the unit is running smoothly when Samonji isn't around.
  • Off Model: It's obvious that the production doesn't have much of a budget, but when the QUALITY appears, it's pretty cringe-worthy. See the entirety of Episode 13.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Happens in Episode 13 with Jamie and Tokimune. The former was talking about how much better his synch ratio with Argevollen was, and wanted to give the latter an indirect compliment. The latter was talking about his new position as a squad leader, and how he needs to communicate better with his new subordinate Namie. Confusion obviously ensues.
  • One-Man Army: The title of episode 3, and with good reason: It introduces Richthofen, who effortlessly destroys all of the regular enemy units that get in his way and likely would have won against the Argevollen too if the battle had not been interrupted.
    • Taken Up to Eleven when he single-handedly uses the Sturm Alpha in episode 14 to destroy every Arandas recon squad operating in the desert, and does so over the course of a week with a 100% kill ratio.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In episode 16, Richthofen suddenly flips out when a mechanic accidentally drops a wrench on the ground while Richthofen was staring at the Sturm Alpha. He grabs the wrench and beats the crap out of the mechanic, which is a huge out of character moment for a pilot as professional as him. This scene happens right after we find out that NR Syndrome causes brain damage and massively increased aggression.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: Part of Jamie's work clothes.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: What the 8th Independent Mechanized Corps is, compared to the rest of the Arandas armed forces. Apparently it's where soldiers with authority issues eventually end up, and in episode 11 it is even noted that a high number of its members have had records of decking their superiors.
  • Rank Up: By the end, Samonji is a Major as a liaison officer between Ingelmia and Arandas.
  • Reality Ensues: The Argevollen requires lots of maintenance to keep working. It spends more time in the machine shop than it does on the battlefield (which is consistent with high-tech Real Life war vehicles like fighter jets). It's also difficult to obtain spare parts because so few suppliers carry the kind of equipment compatible with it, and the military procurement supply chain messes up the order anyway.
    • The operational documentation for the new Trail Krieger model "Seiran" is so voluminous it has to be split up and organized across three cardboard boxes. Very much Truth in Television for military field manuals of advanced weapons and vehicles.
    • Once the Perfevollen units are deployed, the Kybernes Corporation discontinues software support for the Argevollen. Anybody who still uses older operating systems knows how Jamie and Tokimune feel...
  • Real Robot Genre: The Trail Kriegers, the most widespread war machine used by the two armies showcased in the series, are more or less walking tanks, and are treated as such. They also rely on heavy support from infantry, armored vehicles (including actual tanks), and artillery.
    • The Argevollen itself, despite its initial look and performance of a Super Robot, is actually one of these. It requires a lot of maintenance to stay in fighting shape, such as in Episode 7 when it needed to get an emergency firmware update. The Arandas military also does not really consider it of vital importance to the war effort, as they are more than willing to sacrifice it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Colonel Izumi, Samonji's old academy buddy, seems to be the only Arandas army official with a clear head on his shoulders.
  • Sanity Slippage: Extended use of the Sturm Alpha has left Richthofen's mind a total wreck by the final episode.
  • Schizo Tech: We have Humongous Mecha but no aircraft. Cannons and mortars are used frequently, but the only rockets we've seen are some very basic launchers that resemble World War II era Panzerschrecks.
  • Sequel Hook: The show ends with Samonji being assigned as a liaison officer between Arandas and Ingelmia, with Lt. Col. Holmes of Ingelmia planning something. It's rather unlikely a sequel is going to be made concerning the low ratings the show got.
  • Small Town Boredom: One of the reasons Okui gives for not visiting Whispe, though it's obvious that it's more because he no longer has any family left to visit there, his parents having passed away years before.
  • The Stoic: Ukyou hardly ever emotes.
  • Stunned Silence: In episode 5, as he's about to head out to the battlefield, Susumu asks Jamie if she's in love with him. Cue everyone that heard him just standing there doing nothing for a few seconds, unable to believe he just did that.
    • Happens again in episode 11, when Samonji shows up at the restaurant party in casual clothes. This is such an out of character moment for him that everyone immediately ceases what they were doing and is rendered speechless.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Suzushiro is very devoted to Samonji and accompanies him everywhere; unless he's on the frontline, it's quite rare to see the two of them apart from each other. This trope is actually brought up in episode 11 when General Cayenne outright asks Samonji if he's sleeping with her. He doesn't even bother to dignify such a Jerkass question with an answer. Episode 19 confirms their relationship is indeed physical.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: By episode 19, the leadership of Ingelmia is dropping hints that they may be open to negotiations to bring an end to the war. But many Arandas officers, including Cayenne and Samonji, aren't even willing to entertain the idea since Arandas has lost so much territory and manpower to the war, and feel that a truce will leave them worse off. General Izumi seems to be the only officer in Arandas who is open to peace talks from the start.
  • Super Prototype: The Argevollen, which while not singlehandedly turning the tide for the Arandas forces in general, still gives the 8th Independent Mechanized Corps an edge in their engagements with the Ingelmian military forces. Subverted a bit however in the fact that, because its a prototype, getting compatible parts for it is a major issue, something that comes up during episode 10.
    • The Sturm Alpha plays this a lot straighter in its introduction, operating alone and wiping out vastly superior numbers.
    • And it also fucks with the brains of it's pilots, driving them insane.
  • The Unreveal: By the time of the finale, we have learned absolutely nothing about Viltriveld's ultimate goal or what Ingelmian Lieutenant Colonel Holmes is scheming in his home country.
  • Those Two Guys: What the rest of the male soldiers in the 8th Independent end up as, since what they do ultimately get secondary focus compared to Tokimune and the Argevollen.
  • Title Drop: The Kybernes official name of the Argevollen's U-Link system is "Silver Will."
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Bellhas is a beautiful island city renowned for its resorts and gorgeous beachfront property. Years ago, it was the testing ground for the proto-Argevollen that resulted in the death of Reika Nanjou and the destruction of the entire testing facility. In the present day, the entire incident has been covered up by the Arandas military, and the former site is nothing more than an empty field.
  • Unusual User Interface: While the Argevollen still features the expected foot pedals and control sticks of a trail krieger, what really gets it to run is a system that scans the brainwave patterns of its pilot. When a pilot is under too much mental stress, the system literally shuts down, and locks the Argevollen into place.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Samonji and Reika before her death. In the present, Suzushiro even notes that the only times she had ever seen Samonji relax was when he was around Reika.
  • War for Fun and Profit: It turns out that many of the current conflicts affecting the world were started by Kybernes with the express purpose of profiting from the arms sales that would result. So far, we've seen they are interfering in two different wars and supplying four countries on opposing sides with arms.
    • Then it turns out Kybernes, along with another arms company called Fordergrunt, are merely puppets of a larger conspiracy called Viltriveld that transcends national borders.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's somewhat implied that Richthofen dies from brain overload after Samonji activates the Fascinator override mechanism again in the finale, but it isn't made explicitly clear other than some very vague dialogue from Liz Roderick.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The entirety of episode 12 is this, revealing what really happened years before during the incident at Argent Point, and how it eventually shaped Samonji's outlook to how it is currently.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Reika dreams of creating an army that will never suffer any deaths. Samonji immediately calls her out on how blatantly unrealistic this is. What she actually means is that she hopes her role as a test pilot will eventually produce results in the form of a drone army for Arandas.
  • Wrench Wench: The 8th Independent's maintenance corps, barring the chief mechanic, is made up of women.
  • You Are in Command Now: Due to the 8th Independent Corps' officers either unavailable or otherwise out of commission (in this case, due to food poisoning), Okui is put in command. He tries his best in the situation, but it's clear that he's way out of his depth.
    • After Samonji is put in charge of the Perfevollen unit, Suzushiro receives a promotion to Captain to lead the 8th Unit.