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Sometimes, our greatest enemies aren’t the people we dislike; they’re the people closest to us—like our friends. And the sequel episode of Armed Girls Machiavellism shows us the greatest enemy facing the girls isn’t some outside threat, but the girls themselves.

In Armed Girls Machiavellism, a group of highly skilled swordswomen discipline the boys of the Private Aichi Symbiosis Academy. But, all five have trouble with the male transfer student Fudou Nomura. As the girls try to discipline Fudou, a girl nicknamed Empress tries to overthrow the five girls. Thankfully, with help from Fudou, Empress is dealt with.

The new sequel episode of Armed Girls Machiavellism picks up soon after the events of the TV anime. The five swordswomen are told by the principal of the Academy to go on a vacation to learn about teamwork. But, the principal allows one other person to go with them. After agreeing Fudou should accompany them, it’s a race to see who can spend more time with him.

The idea the five main girls of Armed Girls Machiavellism, Rin Onigawara, Mary Kikakujou, Satori Tamaba, Warabi Hanasaka, and Tsukuyo Inaba, need to learn about teamwork is a very interesting thought. Their main objective as the top five swordswomen of their school is to keep things orderly on the Academy’s campus—even if it means getting physical. Yet, their strong personalities make it difficult to work as a team. That’s why the girl named Kirukiru “Empress” Amou is able to easily overcome them in the TV anime series. It’s even stated by the principal in the new episode if the five worked as a team, Kirukiru wouldn’t have been an issue at all. While we initially think the main issue surrounding the lack of coordination by Rin, Mary, Satori, Warabi, and Tsukuyo is their personalities, the sequel episode shows it’s actually the presence of Fudou that keeps them from effectively working together.

We see this lack of camaraderie divided into to two short, but interconnected, stories in the new episode. The first story revolves around who the sixth person Rin, Mary, Satori, and Warabi are going to take on their teamwork building vacation. We see the four girls all want Fudou to join them, but can’t actually bring themselves to mention his name. Instead, they each suggest one of their protégés. The thing is, these four girls know the others want Fudou to go with them. So, you’d think as a team they’d find some way to negotiate this in a way that would get them what they want without showing their true intent. Instead, though, they skirt around the issues, taking more of their time and further widening the divide between them.

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The solution comes when Tsukuyo says Fudou is joining them so she can personally train him. It’s a quick fix to the problem at hand for the girls, but is hampered by Fudou needing to pass his mid-term exams. Here in lies an issue with the girls’ sense of teamwork. Since all five girls have romantic inclinations towards Fudou, they all want to privately tutor him. They actually do a good job of divvying up the responsibilities at first, making all look fine and good. Yet, the problem is who gets to tutor first. This, too, is a chance for the five girls to work as a team and come up with a solution. And, while they have a solution to the issue at hand, it relies on their individual strength and not their strength as a team.

That solution is the girl with the highest score on a mock test gets to tutor Fudou. But, they all come back with perfect scores. You’d think the girls would use this knowledge to just set up a timetable for who gets to tutor Fudou and when. Unfortunately, their desire clouds their better judgment and leaves them hanging when Fudou seeks out his roommate for help.

The second half of the episode takes a slight turn and puts Rin, Mary, Satori, Warabi, Tsukuyo, and Fudou in a traditional Japanese hot-spring inn. While there isn’t as much arguing over who gets to be with Fudou among the girls, the episode culminates in perfect display of why Rin, Mary, Satori, Warabi, and Tsukuyo aren’t able to work as a team. They learn that the person to take the first bath of the day at the inn will have their wish granted. Upon hearing this information, the girls whip out their swords and battle each other. It’s a true display of what’s keeping them from working as a team: They all want to satisfy their ego. So, if one of the girls can’t have want they want, none them can.

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What’s fascinating about the fight between the girls’ is it truly shows what’s lacking in their teamwork is trust. They can’t trust each other to wish for something that’ll benefit them all because they know whoever gets the wish will use it to be with Fudou. However, if they placed a little more faith in each other, the commotion of a sword fight and all of the ill will afterwards would have been avoided. Think of it like this, if all five girls recognize they have romantic feelings for Fudou, wouldn’t it be better to make a show of faith and yield to the others every so often? That way, they can build trust amongst one another.

And from that trust, they can understand that working as a team isn’t just about exerting your own presence, but also allowing others to take the spotlight every now and then. But no, Rin, Mary, Satori, Warabi, and Tsukuyo believe getting the upper hand, in terms of their relationship with Fudou, is more important than trust or teamwork.

As it’s said, “All’s fair in love and war.” So, teamwork be damned for Rin, Mary, Satori, Warabi, and Tsukuyo if it in any way involves Fudou. At least for now.

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Armed Girls Machiavellism “Episode 13 Dokki! ‘Goken Darake’ no Ian Ryokou” was released on November 25, 2017 with the seventh volume of the manga. There is no news of an international release. 

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