After Rory decimated the US, Russian, and Chinese forces at the onsen, Itami and crew headed for the Gate to return to the Special Region. After some clever use of the girls’ internet popularity, the group had better protection from the foreign agents attacking in the form of throngs of people crowding the Ginza area. Once they made it through the Gate, Piña resolved to put an end to any hostilities between the Empire and Japan.

It seems that the translation team has changed their initial reading of ‘Arnus’ to ‘Alnus’.

Just look at how beautiful that is. I’d want to live in that city (under different management, of course).

In both the anime and the manga Piña says this to Hamilton and it reminds the viewer just how much she is working and how tired she must be. Carrying the weight of the future of the Empire is quite the burden - if she does not succeed in her quest for peace, the Empire will be annihilated in war.

The dramatic introduction is the same in both manga and anime, and I predict that Yao will become somewhat of a main character or at least important in the next adventure Itami and Friends™ have.

Each little glimpse we get at how the Empire works is a major plus in my eyes.

‘Growing and training’ has slightly different connotations than ‘emergency recruitment’, which implies that they are scrambling to put together a fighting force in a hurry to attack the JSDF once again. Because it went so well for them the last time they attacked Alnus Hill. And the time they invaded Ginza. I predict that there will be at least one more major conflict between the Imperial army and the JSDF, most likely when the doves seem to be gaining the upper hand in the Senate and the hawks rashly decide that they have to act immediately to maintain their power.

More great facial expressions as Cicero realizes that this ‘Japan’ is a nation ‘with talented craftsman’, to say the least. Now if he could just realize that it is also a nation of unimaginably (for him) advanced military technology...

Fighting Rory is never a good choice. Also, is it just me, or are the ear-shaped bits of Rory’s headband getting larger? I much prefer the manga’s design for it.

Showing Tuka’s denial of her father’s death adds to the rather short list of character development she gets in the anime. A step in the right direction, but the manga definitely handled this topic better.

Kurokawa means well, but Itami correctly points out that because they have no guarantee of being able to see things through to the end, they should just leave it be and let her sort it out on her own. Even if they could guarantee that they would be there to see it through, letting Tuka figure out how to accept and deal with the death of her father is for the best. If she wants help, then they should give it, but they shouldn’t force their help upon her because they believe it to be for the best. Tuka is the master of her own fate and that should be respected.

I may have added the text.

Itami is a nice guy, but sometimes it’s best and often easier to “be so cold” in situations. He gets the results and doesn’t do anything immoral or wrong to do it, and gets them faster than if he did it in a ‘warmer’ way. I thought of his speech as more candid than cold.

Look, it’s dark Sheik. Like dark Link, but more change-y identity-y. Yao ruins Rory’s “plans for the evening” which is for the best for everyone’s sake (and makes it blatantly obvious that Rory likes Itami if you didn’t catch that from the end of episode 9).

Once again, a reminder that a fire dragon attack is basically a death sentence. Now that the JSDF has air cavalry and fighters, I would like to see them hunt down the dragon using tanks and armored vehicles to chase it into the air and then hitting it with rockets and missiles.

Yao’s elf nature shows through when she seeks out a nice place in the forest to sleep with “untainted air, clean water,” etc.

The flashback to the dragon attack is moved and doesn’t involve backstory about the dark elf survivors and Yao, but just look at that dragon. It’s awesome. Now let’s see some awesome action and have the JSDF fight it.

The manga had an added intro to this display of dogfighting tactics. Keeping with the comment made early on in the series about the JSDF in the Special Region being issued Vietnam-era weapons, they are using F-4 Phantom II’s.

This conversation between Piña and Sugawara is a bit different in order to shorten it. Basically, Piña earlier remarked that it would take two stomachs to eat all the food at Cicero’s and at Ducie’s and that her stomach “isn’t going to survive that.” Then Sugawara says “I can see see why this might upset your stomach” and offers to bring some stomach medicine. It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still different. And that headband thing. Just no.

I like this shot’s lighting, but that metal headband thing...

The chapter starts very differently than the anime episode with Tuka dreaming about the dragon attack and her father. The manga is definitely doing better with Tuka’s character overall than the anime, and especially with her denial of her father’s death. I still think he isn’t actually dead, but that’s not really important.

Huzzah! A map! Alnus and the Gate are easy to spot, and to the southwest is what I believe is Italica, since there is a walled city/building like symbol at the intersection of two roads. The dragon to the east of Alnus may be where the fire dragon attacked, but I doubt they’d mark that on their map. Maybe it is where the Empire keeps the dragons for when they want to resort to scorched-earth tactics? Directly north of the Gate on the other side of the mountains is what I assume is the capital of the Empire, since there is what looks like a Senate building drawn there (I could be making something out of nothing, the drawing isn’t very clear as to what that symbol is).

Did she...drool on that paper?

Piña’s formal attire is different than in the anime, but the same formal attire she was wearing when she was first introduced in the manga. I feel that this dress better fits the Empire’s style (vaguely Roman or Greek) of formal-wear better than the anime’s strange metal hairband thing. (Also, I find it amusing that Sugawara is wearing a watch with his toga.

Piña’s thought on the first page make Sugawara look more like he is in control of the situation with his cunning. Making Cicero think that Japan is some nothing, backwater country and then showing him just how much more advanced it is than the Empire is a great way to throw Cicero off balance in order to gain the edge in the conversation - subtle diplomatic maneuverings to take the enemy by surprise. Cicero’s facial expression when he finds out that this ‘Japan’ is the nation on the other side of the Gate is priceless.

Cicero openly threatens Japan with a “hundred thousand soldiers of the Imperial army” that will “march through the Gate once again and destroy [Japan]” instead of just saying that Sugawara would not escape. It went so well for them last time that he wants to do it again, I guess. We also get to see more into his thoughts, specifically his realization that if he disrupts the Princess’s negotiations, he could lose his nephew. These two details show just how arrogant the Empire’s higher-ups are and how deeply ingrained the aristocratic culture of medieval times is ingrained in their society. Basically, the Empire isn’t the biggest kid on the block anymore, but they still think they are.

The manga details more about the development of the town and the endless cycle of success, labor shortage, and maids from House Formal (I still like ‘Formar’ better) coming to work at Alnus.

Itami and the ‘men in green’ are shown to be more respected in general.

Rory’s angry face is much better than in the anime. Instead of annoyed or angry, she looks absolutely furious.

In the manga, we get an entire flashback to tell the story of Yao and the dark elves being attacked by the fire dragon (which is the same fire dragon that attacked Tuka’s village and the 3rd Recon team, as shown by it being said that it has an arrow in its eye and is missing an arm). Also, the dark elves live underground and have an economic focus on mining, as they talk about being Hardy’s people. There’s a funny little bit at the end describing Yao’s bad luck with men.

The conversation between Yanagida and Toudou (not named in the manga), the man overseeing the supplies to be used to bribe/win over the Senators, is longer and explains the political reasoning more explicitly. “We can get those unhappy with the current ruling body on our side with the power of money ... I think bribes and intimidation are the best tactics in diplomacy.”

“Itarica” was used repeatedly throughout the manga. Usually, if it’s just a one-time grammatical error or misspelling, I let it slide since this isn’t an official translation, but changing the name of a location that you already established as “Italica” is too large an error to overlook. Consistency is important.

In the manga, Yao refers to the reward as a diamond, which is significantly less fantasy-esque than calling it “adamantite” in the anime.

This episode/these chapters have set up many great events. It looks like we will be getting more politics and more action with the diplomacy and Piña’s mission to reconcile the Empire and Japan peacefully as well as Yao’s search for the ‘men in green’ to ask them to eliminate the fire dragon. There was lots of interesting character development and foreshadowing, as well as a good amount of funny moments in both manga and anime. As always, the manga edges ahead of the anime because of the greater amount of detail, with the only major section to be completely dropped by the anime was the bit about the dark elves in Yao’s flashback story. I suspect that will come up when Yao explains her situation and request to the JSDF though.

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