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Dilandau‘s baaaaack! And someone let him play with the flamethrowers again. Or is that still?

In Hitomi’s deck the Ace of Beasts is roughly equivalent to the Ace of Pentacles. This is apparently a card of practicality, of trust, and of prosperity.

In this episode different aspects of the card are taken on by different characters. However the overall result is the reversed card: there’s very little prosperity here.

Storm Premonition opens with another Asturian council where Folken is seeking asylum. There is precious little trust here, but there is merchant practicality as Folken mentions that he comes bearing gifts.

Hitomi gets a voiceover as Folken provides the necessary information to enable a military alliance. Folken is providing briefings and overseeing the salvage of parts of his fortress whilst working with Dryden’s father. Van however still does not trust Folken and this becomes a recurring theme throughout the episode.

The reconstruction of Palas is still in progress and Hitomi is helping refugees at a cathedral in the countryside. Van asks if it would be better to help at the shelter in the castle. However Hitomi is still feeling responsible for the attack and working to help the civilians is how she is helping out.

Millerna and Allen arrives at the shelter with a convoy of food, plus sweets for the children. Merle and Hitomi rush to help with the candy as Van worries about a possible Zaibach attack during the relief efforts. Dryden tries to point out that there has to be another way but Van isn’t seeing any alternative to fighting.

Van is again developing the tunnel vision of the berserker seen in The Day the Angel Flew, and Red Destiny. It wasn’t a good thing then, and it isn’t going to be good now.

Pointing out how Merle, from a similar background of no family, understands the Asturian orphans only makes his mood worse.

Hitomi tries to bridge the gap between Van and Folken to no avail. Allen is then annoyingly possessive of Hitomi (way beyond the birdcage comments in The Black Winged Angel and Hitomi basically tells him off and heads back to the castle on her own.

I really like the next sequence that shows Hitomi doing a little training as an athlete on the way back to the castle, and then afterwards into the evening. It is a way for her to deal with homesickness as the Mystic Moon hangs in the sky, and also to reassert her identity and independence.

As the sun sets Hitomi and Folken have a long discussion in  which Hitomi is the Ace of Beasts. She has recognised that the only way to be trusted is to offer trust, and this reinforces the events of previous episodes. Van is observing this and is not impressed.

At Rampant, a base some distance from Palas, the armies from Asturia’s allies begin to arrive. The Asturian forces will head there tomorrow as Allen comes clean to Hitomi about his byblow Prince Chid (cf The Secret Door). Allen also confesses love for Hitomi.

Meanwhile a more than slightly disturbed Dilandau is asking the wolfman from The Black Winged Angel about where he is (on a fortress) and where his dragonslayers are (dead). The wolfman’s name is Jajuka and he is Dilandau’s only soldier. After a minor breakdown Dilandau is just itching for a fight and asks for his new guymelef.

As the Crusade heads towards Rampant Allen informs Van that he has asked Hitomi to marry him, and that he expects Hitomi to answer when he returns to Palas.

Hitomi is still confused as Millerna shows up being useful again. We are then treated to a brief reprise of the “I have a friend” scene from Lost Paradise that results in both Millerna and Hitomi knowing that the other knows about Chid.

Millerna offers some wisdom but it makes Hitomi realise that Millerna still loves Allen.

As the Asturian forces approach Rampant a Zaibach fortress uncloaks above them and launches a surprise attack.

Dilandau makes his usual stylish entrance with the flamethrowers as the Crusade, Escaflowne, and Scherazade swing into action.

Hitomi is wondering who to believe, who to trust. As we’ve seen previously, Hitomi’s anxieties never work out well in Gaea and in this case she starts seeing the battle in Rampant as it happens.

Van is rapidly entering into a berzerker rage and telling himself it is to protect Hitomi. Dilandau confronts Van and is having a lot of fun when Scherazade arrives. The other Zaibach pilots decide to seek a bit of glory by taking out Van whilst Allen and Dilandau duel.

Jajuka intervenes to save Dilandau.

Hitomi is praying for Van to stop the killing.

As Van moves to strike Dilandau down, Hitomi has had enough and the Escaflowne’s energist reacts to her pendant as does the destiny machine in Zaibach.

Dilandau snaps, we see flashbacks to a little girl lost, and he starts calling out to Jajuka in panic. Jajuka intervenes to save Dilnadau from Van just in time (did I mention that Jajuka is good at this?).

Dilandau disappears in a beam of light, Jajuka flies off, and the fortress recloaks.

Hitomi really doesn’t want to see the fighting anymore. The forces return to Palas and despite the recent hammering Van is still locked in “us or them” mode and suggesting a preemptive strike.

Hitomi walks onto the bridge where the Crusade is docked and challenges Van and accuses him of enjoying the fighting.

Hitomi doesn’t want Van to protect her if this is what it does to him, and prays for someone, anyone, to send her home.

Cue the beam of light as Hitomi disappears. The next scene is Hitomi sleeping in the Nurse’s room with Amano watching over her.

In addition to returning to Earth, it looks like Hitomi has gone back in time to Fateful Confession as the end credits roll.

As part of writing this review I went back over the post for Lost Paradise where I commented on the age difference between Hitomi and Allen (which I’m still uncomfortable with). In one of the comments I mentioned that (emphasis added) “I don’t think that Allen would voluntarily go any further than (mostly) harmless flirting.”

Cue the lightbulb moment: Allen doesn’t have Hitomi’s powers and, unlike Van, hasn’t being trying to acquire them.

So Allen’s actions since Operation Golden Rule of Love are still compromised by Zaibach’s actions. Even though Hitomi is beginning to throw the effects off as she learns control of her powers, it doesn’t mean that Allen has even the slightest clue about how he’s been manipulated. Or even that he was manipulated. This does put a somewhat more favourable light on Allen’s actions since then.

It is worth pointing out is how heavily Storm Premonition relies on previous episodes. I directly referenced 7 prior episodes in the review, and there may have been more that I missed.

Of particular note is the extent to which Van’s berserker tendencies, and Hitomi’s dislike of the same, were foreshadowed. That Hitomi’s reaction would tip over to outright horror is in no way surprising.

Where, and more importantly when, she ended up as a result is another matter…

Day 1 – Fateful Confession / The Tower
Day 2 – The Girl From the Mystic Moon / Ace of Serpents
Day 3 – The Gallant Swordsman / Death
Day 4 – The Diabolical Adonis / The Hanged Man
Day 5 – The Seal of the Brothers / Judgement
Day 6 – Capitol of Intrigue / Justice
Day 7 – Unexpected Partings / The Chariot
Day 8 – Sub vs Dub
Day 9 – The Day the Angel Flew / Temperance
Day 10 – Memories of a Feather / Ace of Birds
Day 11 – The Blue-Eyed Prince /  Knight of Beasts
Day 12 – Prophecy of Death / The Devil
Day 13 – The Secret Door / High Priestess
Day 14 – Red Destiny / The Emperor
Day 15 – The Gender of Escaflowne
Day 16 – Dangerous Wounds / The Magician
Day 17 – Lost Paradise / The Star
Day 18 – The Guided Ones / Wheel of Fortune
Day 19 – The Edge of the World / The Empress
Day 20 – The Gravity of Destiny / The World
Day 21 – Operation Golden Rule of Love / The Fool
Day 22 – False Vows / The Moon
Day 23 – Reaction of Fortune / The Hierophant
Day 24 – Destiny, Free Will, and Personal Responsibility
Day 25 – The Black Winged Angel / The Sun
Day 26 – Storm Premonition / Ace of Beasts
Day 27 – Fateful Decision
Day 28 – Zone of Absolute Fortune
Day 29 – Eternal Love
Day 30 – Looking Back at The Vision of Escaflowne