We were in for a pleasant surprise this week! Instead of the duel between Blood Shepherd and Playmaker, the episode primarily focused on our third party investigators, Akira’s team! As the other parties do, Akira has his own agenda, that kind of puts him in the grey, making him neither enemy or ally. We learned he wants to get to the Ignis in order to communicate with them, to try and get a better understanding of their intentions, and their perspective on Humanity. They are all excellent questions, but considering how poorly he communicated with Playmaker, I honestly don’t have a whole lot of faith in him being Humanity’s ambassador. He may think his approach is righteous and just, but we have seen it backfire in a big way.
Akira commissioned Emma and Aoi to investigate the restricted area. It was kind of funny to see the reverse roles between Emma and Akira in regards to letting Aoi take part of the mission. Given how dangerous the nature of the investigation is, Emma was strictly against it, arguing Aoi is not prepared for this level, but eventually gives in. This assignment unofficially marks the beginning of Aoi becoming Emma’s apprentice. I am quite excited for the missions they will be doing together, especially since they are the rogue team who are to investigate in the shadows as much as possible. However the dangers from this mission is very real. There is a piece of crucial information that Akira shared with them: A research team was deployed to investigate the mysterious gate located within the restricted area, and is speculated to lead into a different world. However not a single one of them returned since. In fact Kusanagi warned Yuusaku that the area is unstable, and if he were to stray too far from the center, he would “drown in the data”, so I wonder if that perhaps had anything to do with it besides the enemies potentially taking them out, or getting trapped within the uncharted domain.
As expected, Emma traded the information with Kusanagi with the intentions of having them serve as decoys, drawing the Bounty Hunters away from the scene since it will be a pain in the ass if she ends up getting a bounty on her head too. Rather, I am surprised she hasn’t gone through the trouble to at least switch up her looks as Aoi did. Heck, I don’t know why the design team elected to ditch her mask altogether, since it virtually gives away her real world identity.
And let’s all take a moment to appreciate AOI’S NEW ALIAS AND LOOKS!? OH MY GOD SHE LOOKS AMAZING!!!! I LOVE IT! Not to mention, it feels a lot closer to her true self, spunky, fierce and mature! I look forward to seeing this amazing look whenever the two go on their missions. Please don’t make this a one time thing. The design is too good to pass up on!
It was great to see Akira had enough faith in Aoi to even have her take part of it. I mean the loss she experienced against Spectre was quite horrific… However if there’s one thing I am hope for Aoi’s future character development, is perhaps one day, she will be able to move past her wanting to please her brother phase. She craves for his approval, and wants to be helpful in any way she can. That’s why she is determined to help him uncover the truth.
I really liked how they touched up on Blood Shepherd today, and further established his connections with not just Emma but also Akira. In fact the three of them used to do missions together (which was hilarious to watch by the way), but while he used his allies as decoys, the most interesting part was how despite putting Ghost Girl in danger, he was also sure to make sure to “protect” (albeit roughly shoving her to the ground) her from serious threats (such as the bomb). The most curious part about this event though was when he called her by her true name. That being said, based on how we seen him in the real world, I do have my suspicions he may be her brother.
Speaking of the devil himself, Blood Shepherd is a peculiar opponent. For someone who doesn’t trust AI (smells like a potential for an important backstory), I am surprised he even uses an AI Dueldisk. It’s not like he can’t use the traditional/classic one, since that’s what Yuusaku uses. However he seems to use it in order to mislead his opponents, as a source of distraction. His count to three is also used to trick players into letting their guard down at one, thinking they have time to think, only to be struck at two. He is an opponent that Yuusaku quickly identified as one that would be better off avoided, given his dangerous nature and reputation. Multiple times he had told Ai to be quiet because this duel needs full and undivided attention. Unfortunately Ai proved to be quite a nuisance today, even to me. In fact he sure likes to act all haughty and full of himself, but the joke is on him because he is making himself into the stupid one.