Metallic Rouge Episode 7 Review/Recap “Appropriate Gear” (⭐️⭐️ 1/2 out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Photo: Bones/Crunchyroll

Director: Ikuro Sato
Writer: Tsukasa Kondo
Storyboard Artists: Kentaro Kawajiri, Kenta Yokoya

Seven episodes deep into Metallic Rouge, several mysteries continue to hang in the air like the black hole generators seen over Venus in this episode. Episode seven, “Appropriate Gear,” digs into some of these mysteries.

Threads, subplots, or offhand comments from previous episodes return or get reference in “Appropriate Gear.” Some of these things move the series forward, deepening our understanding of the characters and themes. Unfortunately, depending on your enjoyment, other mysteries remain either frustratingly obtuse or tantalizingly hidden.

Let’s talk about the visuals

Before getting into the episode, praise must be directed toward mechanical designer Tomoyuki Hirao (Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time). Episode seven serves as a showcase for their skill. This episode has terraforming equipment on Venus, two new gladiator forms, and heavy arms military cyborgs. It’s hard to make each baroque Immortal Nine armor look unique and part of a series, but Hirao does it easily. Hirao does exceptional design work for the different machines in every episode. Fans of mecha anime fans should take note of his work.

The episode also opens with one of the series’ most visually striking sequences in the show so far. Remember someone mentioning Neans colonizing Venus a couple of episodes ago? The opening scene depicts the nightmare of terraforming that planet. Dark red clouds bath the sky and the fiery landscape is absolutely inhospitable to humans. It’s the perfect environment to force Neans to work. 

Someone bursts into flames. Frequent lighting bolts zip through the clouds. Miniature black holes (courtesy of Visitor technology) hang over the planet to adjust gravity. One of the show’s more interesting mysteries is why anyone wants to colonize Venus.

The Gears are out of alignment

Metallic Rouge focuses on two of its biggest mysteries in this episode: Naomi Orthmann’s agenda and what the Immortal Nine want. Each question remained frustratingly vague up to this point. Naomi clearly operates on her own agenda while mentoring/monitoring Rouge. The Immortal Nine clearly represent a threat, but most of the members we’ve met want nothing to do with them except chaos agent Hell Gallion.

Photo: Bones/Crunchyroll

This episode answers the question of Naomi Orthmann’s role in all of this. Last episode Naomi revealed herself to be an Ochrona operative. Audiences in this episode learn her role at Ochrona is “the Divine Facilitator.” What exactly a divine facilitator does remains unclear, only that both the heads of Ochrona and Alethia defer to her. 

The revelation of Naomi as a Divine Facilitator and how people interact with her adds more layers to her character. Her English and Japanese voice actors Cassie Ewulu and Tomoyo Kurosawa continue their excellent work adding to the many layers of this rich characters. Everything we know about Naomi from the early episodes gets cast into a new light. 

Suddenly her intimate knowledge of The Great War, the Visitors and the Usurpers makes more sense. This casts her relationship with Rouge in a new light, though. What may have seemed sisterly may now be more manipulative. Her agenda isn’t explained, but her use of the phrase “The gears are out of alignment” might offer hints of a more sinister character.

Even though she turned Rouge over to Ochrona, Naomi and Rouge’s “brother” Gene Junghardt are working together. Their conversation at the beginning of the episode reveals Gene is no longer a vice director at Alethia. Rouge’s investigation of The Immortal Nine was outside of Alethia’s authority. Meanwhile Gene’s secretly investigated The Puppetmaster but not sharing that information with her. Since Naomi sold him out to Ochrona, it’s only fair.

Photo: Bones/Crunchyroll

The government agencies walk into a bar…

Previous episodes dropped mentions of the antagonism between Alethia and Ochrona. As the two agencies argue what to do with Rouge, this episode sheds some light on that conflict and the why of it. Alethia has direct contact with the Visitors, and Ochrona does not. Additionally, Alethia has no investigative power. They exist solely to build and monitor Nean activity.

Even though they’re discussed in every episode, Ochrona remains a nebulous entity. Audiences know that Alethia governs Nean activities development but with limited power. Ochrona only purpose so far is an obstacle to Rouge and Alethia. Seven episodes into this series, and it’s frustrating that something this key to its plot remains sketchily defined.

So about The Immortal Nine… 

Photo: Bones/Crunchyroll

The other big mystery of the show is the Immortal Nine and their exact goals. Some insight into that comes from Jill, the reporter from episode two, who returns to free Rouge and reveals herself as Flash Silvia. Jill is the only person so far to voice a definite philosophy for the group. The Immortal Nine hate how humans have enslaved Neans and want to throw off the yoke for their fellow Neans. There is something refreshing after seven episodes of anti-Nean sentiment hearing a Nean speak with anger toward humanity. 

Free will continues to be a discussion topic in every Metallic Rouge episode. A Nean, who aids Jill/Flash Silvia, dies after failing to stop her from murdering humans. The Asimov Code forbids them from allowing harm to come directly or indirectly to humans. This nameless Nean though recognizes that he chose to not stop Jill. 

Photo: Bones/Crunchyroll

Both Jill, and later Alice from last episode, confront Rouge with the question her if she’s making her own choices. One of the more frustrating aspects of Rouge’s character is her passivity. The Puppetmaster confronted her, asking if her choices were her own. The shows’ creators have given The character no time to reflect on this. The other Neans keep pointing out she has free will. Characters like Gene and Naomi believe she’s on their leash. Rouge really needs to make her own decisions if future episodes have her away from Naomi. 

Oh yeah, Ace and Alice, the twins from the last episode, show up to save Rouge. To no one’s surprise, they’re members of the Immortal Nine; Double-Headed Aerkos. What is surprising though is that they’re a distinct personality sharing the same body and both aware of each other. This is a fun science fiction concept that the animators had fun giving different body language to each personality.

Photo: Bones/Crunchyroll

They also serve the first people to truly confront Rouge on why she’s killing the Immortal Nine. The idea was presented in the Puppetmaster episode, but Aes and Alice ask about the morality of the actions. Both make clear they want nothing to do with the Immortal Nine. So why is she hunting them? It’s a good question. 

How truly united is the Immortal Nine? Other than Hell Gallion, the other two members Rouge encountered in the past seemed to want little to do with them. Sarah Fitzgerald and Dr. Afdal both seemed to be hiding. Aes and Alice admit to hiding from Jill. Is this really a terrorist group, or just a few Neans making one last grasp for freedom?

VERDICT: Somehow a lot happens in this episode but very little of it really matters. There’s some great scenes in here like the opening scene on Venus and Flash Silvia fighting the military. At this point, there’s more mysteries introduced though than time allowed for Rouge to grow as an individual. Some of these mysteries provide intrigue; Naomi’s agenda, the terraforming of Venus, the Visitor and Usurper conflict. Other mysteries though just frustrate with their slow lack of development, mainly Ochrona. 

Photo: Bones/Crunchyroll

Also, it ends with the reveal that Hell Gallion’s still alive. Great.

Metallic Rouge is currently streaming on Crunchyroll. New episodes drop every Wednesday.