It’s somewhat understandable that next to Ikta, other guys his age might feel a little inadequate, and Matthew is no exception. One subplot introduced this episode is that Ikta is “on a whole other level”, as Haro puts it. Matthew decides to study more to try to keep up with Ikta’s vast wealth of knowledge. Since much of this series revolves around Yatori and Ikta, it’s a nice change to have a scene with two of the other members in the group.
Later Haro finds Ikta reading some papers under a tree. Ikta says “Aranai’s box is about to open”, but doesn’t specify what that means, aside from saying that the battlefield is evolving and knowledge of some kind is going to waste. Ikta tells Haroma that he was one of Aranai’s students and that when Dr. Aranai applied for asylum in Kioka, he was forced to tell give them technology with military applications. However to keep things even, he told his home country what he was giving Kioka.
It turns out that Ikta, Torway and the others are being sent to a garrison in a town called Somin in the Northern Region of the country. Ikta catches up with Torway and Matthew and says he’d been to a village with Dr. Aranai, and that he’d really enjoyed the locals because the village was a matriarchal society, where women would visit Ikta in bed at night. Matthew’s shocked, but Ikta’s sly grin us just ugh. Damn bishounen.
Yatori, Haroma and Princess Chamille join the group and we learn that this upcoming mission will last for six months. It’s rumored to be a very dull post, but this is anime so of course something major is going to happen during the mission.
There’s a timeskip forward to when Ikta and his friends arrive at Somin, and we are introduced to a young lady named Kanna and her friend. Everyone’s very excited for the student officers’ arrival. There’s a big presentation where the troops and high-ranking officers welcome the officer candidates to the Northern Region, something which Ikta is not impressed by because we know that he finds all this pomp and formality to be rather boring.
After the welcome there’s a big dinner, and a man named Major Yuskshiram Toakk explains to everyone what the mission will entail. Not that anyone is listening, poor man. Ikta’s bored and standing alone when a man with a cigarette in his mouth approaches him and introduces himself as First Lieutenant Senpa Sazaluf. He’s heard about Ikta being a troublemaker and remarks that Ikta doesn’t look like a knight.
Suddenly a man resembling Hulk Hogan, Warrant Officer Deinkun Hargunska, enters the room and challenges Yatori to a mock battle. Lieutenant General Safida allows the duo to use the room for their match. As the two fight, Ikta tells Princess Chamille and Lieutenant Senpa some background information about the Igsem family’s fighting style and how it boils down to protecting the order of the emperor. Yatori wins, naturally.
The next day Ikta’s group, Lieutenant Senpa and several platoons of soldiers embark on a training exercise. They appear to be traveling the same ground over and over, and Lieutenant Senpa reveals that their presence is meant to be a reminder to the mountain people that conflict will not be tolerated. Lieutenant Senpa also shares some information about the Alafatra mountains that their group is passing through during this exercise.
Lieutenant then calls upon Ikta for comment, but he’s nowhere to be found. Suya steps forward with a message from Ikta: that he has voluntarily left their platoon and put himself into the detention barracks.
Down in the village, a superior officer is confiscating books from Kanna’s barracks. Ikta shows up and challenges the officer, accusing the officer of stealing only specific books, rare ones, because he has sellers lined up to buy them. The officer is outraged and tries to get Ikta in trouble, but Ikta manages to back them both up until they’re under the eaves, which is when he throws his own body against the wall to dislodge a very large spider onto the officer’s face. The spider runs under the officer’s shirt with some help from Ikta, and the officer runs off screaming.
Afterwards Ikta and Kanna have a few moments together, during which they discuss the books that the officer had been attempting to steal. Lieutenant Senpa shows up to drag Ikta to detention, and Ikta calls to Kanna that they are both students of science. Kanna is clearly taken aback yet simultaneously intrigued by this label.
Lieutenant Senpa drags Ikta down into a dungeon where he will be punished by being jailed for three days with no food or water. But before Lieutenant Senpa can lock Ikta up, Ikta manages to trick Lieutenant Senpa and run away. However Ikta runs into a forbidden area and he is floored by something he sees in one of the jail cells.
Elsewhere in the Alafatra mountains, a young woman named Nanaku Daru is approched by a young man named Meraize, She is wearing a headpiece with a long cape, and looks to be someone of importance. Meraize asks Nanaku Daru when they will launch their next attack to get their stolen Hahashiku, and Nanaku Daru says that they won’t wait for the next festival. War is coming, and it looks like these people are going to bring it to Ikta and the soldiers of the Northern Region!
My thoughts: I know I’ve said it before, but I have to reiterate how refreshing it is to have a protagonist who’s young, very interested in the opposite sex and not at all shy about it. Ikta telling Matthew that he used to have women visiting his bed at night is funny, but also very important. There is no shame attached to Ikta’s behaviour, at least as long as he’s not using it as a tool to embarrass or humiliate someone (which is why Yatori beats on Ikta for trying to hit on Haro, because she gets embarrassed and sometimes Ikta’s words can cross a line). Ikta has been sexually active in his past and it’s just accepted by everyone, which is fantastic.
I do wish that this show would display its timeskips a little bit better. It’s jarring to go from one scene to another and have to pause the episode to try to figure out what’s happening. Or maybe I’m slow and just need to sleep more?
I’m really, really curious about what Ikta saw down in the dungeon, and I hope it’s revealed in the next episode!