Well they are certainly not wasting time! (And that’s a good thing, mind you!) I am quite glad both Aoi and Akira now knows of Playmaker’s true identity. The set up might have felt a little force and rushed to some extent, but it works, and that’s all that matters at this point. Additionally, it was good to see Kusanagi being recognized in public after having tagged along with the secret meeting Akira had arranged. After-all, his avatar can’t be considered a disguise whatsoever! By having Yuusaku being present when they showed up at the food truck also helped Akira connect the dots, having met him at the hospital when Aoi was in a coma from the Hanoi Knight’s virus.
I also thought their brief talk refreshing in a way of how Akira greeted Yuusaku. It was a bit awkward, but fittingly so, especially since he has been under their nose the entire time. It was also very nice to see them thank him in person for how much he had helped them out in the past. My favourite part was of course the conversation between Aoi and Yuusaku. I have been waiting for this kind of interaction since Season 1, ahaha! It took a long time to get to this point, but I say it was worth the wait since Aoi has undergone some dramatic character growth! And gosh darn it, who else was internally screaming when Aoi scooted over to shake his hand– I LITTERALLY CANNOT, ESPECIALLY WITH THE MUSIC! STOP IT RIGHT NOW, DON’T TEASE ME LIKE THIS! IT WAS SO CUTE MY HEART CAN’T TAKE THIS!
But what I especially appreciated was how Aoi had hoped to meet him so she could offer him some support. She wanted to tell him its okay for him not to participate in protecting her brother because she recognized it would be difficult for him to fight against Ai. Basically it was her way of saying let them help him this time so he doesn’t have to carry the brunt of the burden. And I don’t know about you, but I really appreciated the sentiment. I also thought it appeared Yuusaku was taken aback to some extent because he is so used to being the one to help/save others, and not the other way around. Yet despite the offer, Yuusaku knows he can’t sit back and watch, as his partner he feels responsible to prevent Ai from committing anymore crimes. Furthermore, there is a lot at stake with the threat of Ai hijacking SOL Technology, who contributes to over 30% of the social infrastructure and all of SOL Technology’s devices, and society were to descend into chaos, I don’t know how Yuusaku would be able to live with himself if he were to do nothing.
Then there is Takeru, who revealed he had been planning on returning home (saw that coming!). However with the new crisis at hand, that plan is being put on hold. That being said, I am curious to see what will become of his presence this season, especially since this episode seems to indicate they want to build upon Yuusaku’s and Aoi’s relationship (and it’s about bloody time!), while in the mean time, it looks like they want to focus on his tension and unfinished business with Ryoken. This means while everyone is temporarily reunited to help protect Akira and SOL Technology’s key, should Akira fall (and there’s a good chance he probably will in due time), as soon as he falls, the alliance will be dissolved it will be those who wish to stop Ai without killing him (Yuusaku, Takeru and Aoi) VS those who wish to purge him (Ryoken, Blood Shepherd and probably Onizuka). Where Emma stands will depend on how she feels about the current development.
The message Ai had left Akira and the others was well done. I definitely felt Ai’s mischievous personality was presented a lot better this time, which has helped me ease into his new appearance a lot better than I had last week. I thought it was absolutely hilarious, especially with Robopoppi’s signature quips, but at the same time it was terribly heartbreaking. Two of Yuusaku’s dear companions who had disappeared has turned their back on him, and he was shocked. It hurt him to see Ai betray their ideals of co-existence by attacking Queen, and now Akira. While Yuusaku needed time to let the reality sink in, we all knew that he wouldn’t bear to stand by the sidelines while his former partner puts everyone in danger. He wants to trust Ai, but at the same time, he is also deeply disturbed by how he was smiling like its a game. But in reality, I don’t think Ai is treating this like a game for the shits and giggles, but is acting that way to cover up his grief. And since he has chosen to pursue this path of revenge (or at least, to some extent since we have yet to learn of his ultimate objective), and knows Yuusaku will be there to stop him, he needs to appear strong and resolute to ensure he can follow through with his plans.
Finally last but not least, the Hanoi Knights.
I know a lot of us, including myself was disappointed with how Ryoken is still dead set on eliminating the Ignis, but we do have to remember, the previous battle was merely a temporary truce between them. And this week, we learned that there is a lot more to it than just eliminating the Ignis because they are a threat. The reason for doing so has to do with the risk of external parties, such as SOL Technology who has gone after the Ignis for their own gains. Knowing that, it makes a lot more sense why they would rather complete their objecting of purging the Ignis before they come forward about their crimes of the Lost Incident.
But damn it, RYOKEN! YOU CREATED AN A.I. TO HUNT IGNIS, AND YOU DON’T THINK THAT’S GONNA BACKFIRE?! Pandor has red flags all over her! He claims that she has a built-in program that limits the free-will, and ensure she will reset when there’s a risk she’ll become a threat, but COME ON! That’s just being naive! What happens if she outwits the reset system Ryoken had installed to prevent disobedience and becoming a threat on her own, or if Ai ends up hijacking her system as well? Goodness, this is bound to get messy.
We also know that Ryoken is assisting Akira in ensuring his physical body is being protected so Ai can’t go out and rob his consciousness, as he did with Queen. So it seems Akira won’t be home for a while until the crisis is over. I am a bit surprised though that they didn’t just put him somewhere completely off the, away from technology and stay offline, but then the plot probably wouldn’t be able to progress now would it, hahaha!
Last point I wanted to make: It was also good to see the Kings of SOL Technology being brought to the spotlight. It’s easy to forget they existed, since we can actually count with one hand how many times they have appeared over the course of the series. We have learned the Kings are the company’s stockholders, making them the top brass of executives. With Queen no longer around, the fate of the company rests on Akira’s shoulders— which ironically, he plans to take down anyways once the Hanoi Knights come forward about their crimes.
Next week, ROBOPOPPI OFF TO KICK EVERYONE’S ASS!