Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova, has seen the mental models steadily progress and develop human nature into their personalities as they diverge from the Admiralty Code and drift away from Kongo and the Fleet of Fog. The show has done an excellent job of showing the steady changes of these AI weapons as they turn towards Captain Gunzo and Iona to discover a meaning to their existence beyond that of being a pawn of the Admiralty Code.
Episode 10 serves as the pinnacle of character progression for Takao and Iona, as they begin to understand their feelings and take action based how they feel rather than logical courses of action.
After being attacked by Iona's twin sibling submarines I-402 and I-400, they slowly drift towards the bottom of the ocean with no means of recovery as their oxygen supply and temperatures continue to drop. The conversation between Gunzo and Iona show just how much Iona has changed since Gunzo first met her. Her speech and body language is less stoic as she becomes more human after her emotions conflict with her program instincts telling her to abandon Gunzo, she expresses worry, sadness, and desperation as she looks for a way to save the young captain despite his orders to give up on him.
Everything about this episode was saddening and emotional as the mental models awaken to their newly established sense of humanity. Iona shows that she is not bound to her own Admiralty Code of obeying Gunzo, and while she was ordered to abandon the captain, she could not bear the thought of forsaking him, her decision to keep him safe is own not only of loyalty, but shows her desire to be with Gunzo.
Takao's connection with Gunzo was unrequited, and unfortunately they never had any moments together aside from some humourous encounters where Takao is too shy to approach Gunzo head on. Takao's scene was almost too sad to bear, the music playing in the background as Takao dives to find the I-401 was just heart wrenching as she finds Gunzo barely alive thanks to Iona's effort. Seeing Gunzo and Iona's core together in the pod saddens Takao as she realizes she probably doesn't have a place by his side, and in turn she sacrifices her nano-materials that make up her physical form for Iona to recover in what is one of the best scenes of the show.
The result was a super bad-ass combination of Takao and Iona to create a new battleship. Takao will be missed, she was my favourite character, but alas, the new I-401 submarine will serve as a reminder to her. One of Takao's better moments was in episode 9 where she changes her colours from red to blue in defiance of Kongo but also as a statement that she belongs to Gunzo's fleet.
Before the episode ended, Kongo shows her own progression as her deep desire to fight Iona and kill Gunzo comes crashing down on her as she is betrayed by own kind, with Maya being revealed as an empty surveillance unit meant to keep tabs on Kongo. I-400 and I-402 submarines are shown as Iona's twin sisters who are fully under command of the Admiralty Act and seal Kongo away as she is seen as defected, how ironic.
I was rather surprised by Kongo's expression towards Maya's sudden exposure as a fake. It seems pretty obvious that Kongo was about to call Maya her friend before being sealed up by the submarine twins. I do hope Maya comes back, as her cheerfulness and happy personality will be missed, especially whenever she would shout " it's a Carnival!" I wonder if Kongo will end up joining Gunzo's side, as the real enemy is yet to be revealed, but all I can say is I hope Haruna, Kirishima and Hyuga reclaim their battleships and duke it out with the submarine twins I-400 and I402.