Trails of Cold Steel: Northern War Episode 3 Review

Trails of Cold Steel: Northern War Episode 3 Review

January 21, 2023

Northern War is back for more this week. Last time around, Lavi got into yet more trouble with her superiors. But unlike the previous incident, there was no written apology or demotion this time: instead, our protagonist and her new platoon were tasked with infiltrating the Erebonian Empire and gathering intelligence about its war hero. And we also learn that (spoiler alert!) a certain someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Grab your popcorn.

For their first mission, the four had to infiltrate a “celebratory party”, without any further details.

Infiltrating the Party

And so the episode begins. From North Ambria, the four make the trip to Ordis, a city Trails fans had a chance to visit in Cold Steel III. Marty and Iseria are the ones tasked with the first mission. 

marty iseria trails cold steel northern war
Marty and Iseria.

Invitation in hand, the jaegers make their way into Hotel Hortensia. In the meantime, we get to see a short flashback of the group shopping for civilian clothes. Iseria has a field day playing dress-up with Lavi, and we learn that Talion apparently likes a certain charming mascot.

While Marty and Iseria attend the party, Lavi and Talion are responsible for providing backup. But it’s quite obvious that our protagonist doesn’t look particularly interested in their mission. Talion turns away for a second and, just like that, Lavi is gone.

lavi talion trails cold steel northern war
An accurate depiction of this episode.

A Walk Around Ordis

Lavi has more pressing matters to attend to – taking a stroll around the Port City. Talion chases after her. Turns out meddling into the crowd isn’t quite his strong point.

talion backflip trails cold steel northern war
A casual backflip – because why not?

Lavi continues her tour around Ordis, making a brief stop on North Street. Hijinks ensue, and she ends up ordering a 15-scoop ice cream. Talion finds her just in time, as Lavi happily hands the bill over to him before heading out again. Outside, Talion once again gives a spy masterclass and poses for a photo with a group of girls.

Talion catches up to Lavi one more time as she catches a breath around the Harbour District. Having already taken in the city sights, he makes a remark at how different Erebonia is compared to North Ambria. 

Lavi heads out again, and runs into two thugs. Talion manages to catch up, but once again is caught in her shenanigans. She walks away a fourth time, leaving Talion talking to himself.

Something is Going on Behind the Scenes

Continuing her recon mission, Lavi this time runs into a friendly looking clown advertising a puppet play about the Erebonian hero. The mention naturally catches our protagonist’s attention.

clown terrorist trails cold steel northern war
Not suspicious at all.

Obviously, the play isn’t anything special or particularly fancy: it’s simply a casual story about the Erebonian hero and his mecha partner. But Lavi doesn’t look convinced and decides to track the clown down.

Her intuition is spot on (as if his looks weren’t a dead giveaway anyways). The clown, as it turns out, is actually a terrorist who had been plotting an attack at the Hotel Hortensia party. And so he sets the plan into motion along with his army of Mishys, heading to the hotel aboard a zeppelin while the Mishy army heads in the opposite direction.

Time to Stop the Plan

While Talion chases after the Mishy army, Lavi manages to latch onto the clown’s zeppelin. The terrorist makes his stylish entrance, with Lavi showing up not too long after and doubling the style points.

lavian kick trails cold steel northern war
Lavi’s new S-Craft: the Lavian Kick.

Talion single-handedly wipes out the Mishy army, saving a young girl and her grandmother along the way. The clown though surprisingly puts up a fight and manages to knock Lavi out. And with that, the terrorist has enough time to reveal the plan: he is carrying some dynamite cylinders inside the costume. All but one of them are dummies. He will then blow one cylinder after another at random, until the real one goes off.

clown terrorist trails cold steel northern war (2)
A master plan.

We then hear a pop, and the chandelier falls on top of the clown. Lavi had regained her senses just in time to stop the terrorist. As a reward for her efforts, the party organizers give our protagonist a 150-year old necklace that had caught Iseria’s attention from the beginning. And in classic Lavi fashion, our protagonist nonchalantly takes off the antique, with Iseria immediately rushing to grab it.

necklace trails cold steel northern war
Lavi’s reward: a 150-year old antique. Not that she cares about it.

Onto the Next Episode

All’s well that ends well. The terrorists are taken into custody, while Talion explains their background. Their plot was motivated by revenge. The clown used to own a sizable troupe, but ended up losing the backing from his sponsors.

Having succeeded in their first mission, Lavi’s squad prepares to leave Ordis. But just before they depart, the young girl Tallion had saved earlier shows up to thank him. Lavi notes how good he is at caring about “stupid things”, while Talion argues that she is the one who doesn’t care enough. In the end, Lavi agrees to disagree. We also get a nice little development in which she asks him to drop the honorifics and use their nicknames instead. It doesn’t add much to the story, but at least the four seem to be growing a bit closer.

Cutting to the final scene, we see a little girl riding on some robot-looking thing and flying over the group.

altina orion trails cold steel northern war
Another familiar face shows up.

All in all, this episode was an obvious filler. It didn’t really advance the story, as there weren’t any significant events plot-wise. The animation was also terrible at some points, especially during the action sequences (that looked more like a slideshow). For now, it was the weakest episode by a wide margin. At least it can go up from here, so let’s hope we get some new plot developments next week. It’s a Trails anime, so we can expect something big to happen.

Do you want to know what else is airing this winter? Then make sure to check LAN’s simulcast calendar!

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