This was… definitely an odd episode, that’s for sure, and nothing like what I was expecting. Well, not half of it anyways.

The episode revolves around Nagara and his mysterious world-accessing superpower, the latter of which reveals another facet of its capabilities. While we already knew that Nagara had the ability to find portals to other worlds around the school and the island, he’s also apparently able to “hop” worlds at will, or at least in moments of danger.

I get really mad at the other students in Nagara’s school because they are really stupid. As a result of Nagara accidentally world-hopping at the beginning of the episode, they think he can control that ability at will. He never says that he can; they just assume. And because the world that Nagara took them all to for a handful of moments looked like home, complete with a baseball diamond, they think that he can take them back to their own world. But, did everyone else just miss the giant blue monkey?? Apparently so!

So for a high school kid, Nagara has a lot on his plate. He’s got this evolving superpower, Mizuho’s all up in his personal life trying to encourage him to chase after Nozomi, and Asakaze still has a grudge against him. I guess now we can add Ace to that grudge list too.

Speaking of Ace, this episode had a very unique subplot about monkeys and baseball going on. There’s that monkey again. What do monkeys have to do with baseball?

Ok, strap in an hang on because this is a wild ride. Over dinner one night, Cap asks Nagara to practice baseball with him because Ace refuses to practice. The next day, Nozomi practices hitting balls that Nagara pitches, while Cap and Mizuho watch. When Nozomi makes a particularly good hit, the group can hear monkeys hooting and hollering, but can’t see any monkeys. Cap says that Nozomi beat a record set by a monkey named “Steroid Monkey” in the Monkey League, and when the others look confused, Cap spends a chunk of the episode explaining what the Monkey League is and who some of their star players are/were.

There’s a catch though: the monkeys can’t be seen with the human eye unaided. They need a special Monkey Getter to see the monkeys’ world. Unfortunately, Ace has the only Monkey Getter on the island and his blonde friend Shanhai doesn’t want him to loan it to Mizuho and the others.

Ace proposes a challenge: he’ll pitch and Nagara and his friends have to bat. If anyone of them can make a successful fit off one of his pitches, he’ll loan them the Monkey Getter. If they lose, Nagara has to take them all back home immediately. Again, stupid peers.

Nagara spends the rest of the day practicing batting with Cap pitching to him. As they practice swinging and doing some other exercises around the baseball field, Cap tells their group about the final game of the season in the Monkey League, in which a monkey pitcher named Blue was prevented from having a perfect season because the world “slipped.” The umpire called the throw a strike, which upset Blue and the fans who were cheering from him, and it’s initially implied that the umpire was beat to death by the rioting monkey fans.

The next day is the big game with Ace. Mizuho and Nozomi strike out, leaving Nagara as the group’s only hope of having the Monkey Getter loaned to them.

It’s revealed that Ace is the one who gave a book about baseball to the monkeys, and he’s upset with Nagara for not taking them home sooner. (Remember that he, along with many of the other students, think that Nagara can control his world-hopping ability.)  Back home Ace was being courted by baseball professionals, and his ego was enjoying the attention. In this other island world, Ace has become a nobody. He’s no longer special and has become just like everyone else. Of course he wants to go back home.

As he’s waiting for the third pitch, Nagara suddenly becomes able to see the monkeys without the use of a Monkey Getter. He sees a one-armed monkey practicing his swinging, and somehow knows that this is the umpire monkey from Cap’s story.

Even though Ace finally provokes Nagara into putting some effort into his third and final swing, Nagara still misses and strikes out. No Monkey Getter for him and his friends.

After the game, word gets around that Nagara is supposed to “take everyone home” the next day. The students spend the evening cleaning up their surroundings and packing their belongings as they get ready to leave.

In the morning everyone gathers on the beach. Nagara uses his ability to try to hop worlds, but there’s a problem: None of the worlds he takes them to are theirs. They’re all… flat, for lack of a better world. I really like how this is represented by the changing coloured and textured backgrounds. Nice artistic technique.

Nagara tries and tries, and finally realizes he can’t take them home. His ability doesn’t allow him to do that. He is finally able to take them back to the island, and this was where I wanted to reach through the screen and smack the other students for being so damn ungrateful. Yeah I know they want to go home of course, but at least the island can provide them with water and shelter. None of the other worlds Nagara found were habitable.

Nozomi smiles and says that this experience has confirmed her theory: Nagara can hop to other worlds, but he can’t choose where he goes. Only Nozomi has the ability to see how to get home (the unknown pinprick of light in the sky that only she can see).

As the students mutter and scowl on the beach, an unknown figure starts walking towards them from the shallows. As it gets closer, they realize it’s their teacher Ms. Aki! Finally, an adult has arrived!

The twist is that Ms. Aki doesn’t appear to have arrived to save them. On the contrary – she says the fun and games are over now! What does that mean?!  o_O

Ms. Aki’s arrival gives Sonny Boy a new perspective. We’ve assumed up until now that there have been some kind of supernatural forces that are controlling what’s been happening. The school changing dimensions, students gaining new superpowers, etc. But what if this has been the result of a manmade experiment this entire time??

I still have many questions. How did Ace and Cap find out about the world of the monkeys in the first place? Did they find or create the Monkey Getter by chance and accidentally learn they could see beings from another world? Ugh I’m going to wear out the question mark key on my keyboard by the end of this series. -__-

I’m not a big sports fan so this episode didn’t appeal to me as much as the previous episodes did. I hope with Ms. Aki’s arrival that the mystery will really get ramped up now!