Freezing – 5

Interpersonal relationships in Freezing have been virtually nonexistent.  Aside from the few Pandora-Limiter duos dotting the series, the Genetics academy is full of schoolgirls who see each other as nothing more than practice targets.

I’m going to guess the uninteresting background characters actually have friendships with other students in Genetics but in this Satellizer centered story, the main characters fail to bond with each other.  Most choose to stay individualized in their academy, training solely with their Limiter, such as Ganessa and Ingrid, or working together in a small team, like the three girls in episode 5.  In fact, Aoi wonders this time and time again whenever he sees two Pandoras fighting each other.  You’d think this is a recipe for disaster, considering the necessary coordination and cooperation required between Pandora-Limiter pairs during a full-scale Nova battle.  But not all relationships in Freezing are discouraging.

With so few genuine relationships in Genetics, I turn my focus onto the three freshmen.  The trio of newcomers, Aoi, Arthur, and Hiiragi, are such a remarkable group of kids compared to their student body.  Their caring and thoughtful friendship stands out as the only real camaraderie in their military academy.  And this companionship isn’t paper-thin either.  When Aoi was being bullied by the likes of Audrey, Aika, and Theresa, Hiiragi stepped in and risked her own safety for the lease of her friend.  She even deployed her volt weapon and engaged a much superior Pandora, all for Aoi’s sake.  In the end, her presence only made things worse, being slashed and subject to bullying herself.  At least her actions provided some bloodshed, which seemed to have been missing in the past few episodes.  Nevertheless, Hiiragi’s selfless action proved that her friendship is true and that she has more to her than any of the other timid characters in the series.  Aoi’s subsequence reaction to seeing his friends being bullied mirrored Hiiragi’s, except that Aoi has useful abilities whereas Hiiragi’s underdeveloped skills are not.  Unfortunately, Aoi is largely inexperienced and left himself exposed to a potential beatdown, had it not been for Rana, the new transfer student who saved his body.  But I’ll wait to talk about Rana until later; this is about the trio of freshmen.

The scenes between Aoi, Arthur, and Hiiragi are not only different from the rest of Genetics but even the rest of the anime, altogether.  Aside from the brief clash in episode 5, scenes containing these three tend to lack the two of the staples of this anime: ecchi and violence.  It’s nice to see a female character like Hiiragi be more than some simple fanservice character like I was expecting, although this brawl did show off her breasts and panties in typical Freezing style.  Hopefully from here on out, Hiiragi can be a substantial character and help provide information and more, leaving all the ecchi and bloody scenes to Satellizer and the other battling beauties.

Regardless, the trio’s screen time is spent doing things that are otherwise difficult in this, or any ecchi anime.  By spending time developing Aoi’s character, explaining story details, commentary or explanations, and providing transitions from scene to scene, these characters are essentially the glue that holds this shaky story up.  And it’s their friendship that’s doing so.  If the characters still existed but they were apathetic toward each other, then there would be no development for Aoi outside of Satellizer and no explanations to the story or battle mechanics.  And while I’m not necessarily interested in the story, not nearly as much as the characters and their scuffles, their relationship provides something more to the anime that is unobtainable through the other character interactions.  So the relationship between Aoi, Arthur, and Hiiragi not only provides diversity in the academy but is a means of developing the story and this anime.  And I haven’t even mentioned how they are the only comedic relief in the series outside of Chiffon.

Dare I say it but the trio of freshmen might be one of my favorite parts of Freezing.  Sure, I picked up the show for all the fanservice in the first episode.  However, there has been a significant decrease in the frequency of violence, brutality, and panties since that first episode and my enjoyment has also declined at a similar rate.  I’ve been turning to the characters for support since I have no real curiosity in the nonexistent story and school settings, I feel, are the worst and most overused backdrops in anime.  I’ve grown to like Ganessa and Satellizer but Ganessa was only featured in the second episode and Satellizer refuses to befriend anyone due to her personality.  I don’t really care for the other girls’ personalities or their reasons for picking on Satellizer or Aoi.  So, I’ve turned to the three freshmen, who are quite different than the rest of the characters in the series.  They seem to have a believable relationship with each other and are actually important to the story or explaining current events.

And thank God that Arthur can have conversations with Aoi that aren’t all about otaku-culture, kawaii girls, or about their dominating character trait that he must reference at every opening.  I am truly thankful that Arthur is a real character and has relationships outside of Aoi, even if they are only to Hiiragi and his sister, Ganessa.

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