ZEGAPAIN – 24
With the Oceanus under heavy attack as it tries to escape back to the surface of the moon, Shizuno and Chris entangle in the recharged Hraesvelg. To make matters worse, Shima is suffering heavily as his time draws near and can barely speak. After Minato reports that the Garuda and the Altair have disappeared, Shima thinks that they’ve gone to the fantasy world. With Minato growing desperate at this dire situation, Shima recites the Buddhist saying “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.” Meanwhile, the Altair and the Garuda are fighting the Anti-Zega in a space with many windows to different virtual worlds – data of the past Earth as saved by Gards-orm. Shin and Abyss chase them into a volcano world and then into a snowy mountain world. Things are looking pretty bad for the Altair and the Garuda because of lack of QL, and they can’t find an exit so that they can get a recharge. When they find themselves surrounded by what appears to be two Anti-Zegas, Lu Sheng apologizes to Kyo for not being able to become his shield.
Back on the Oceanus, Shima painfully gives the order – relayed through Minato – for all hands to evacuate to Maihama server. He first apologizes to Irie and Kuroshio for getting them involved. To Shizuno, he only gives a knowing grunt and nod. Minato is the most emotional one, wanting to stay with him always. Shima tells her to go and simply thanks her for staying by his side until now. After Shizuno pulls the crying Minato away from her commander, Lemures leads the group in a final salute. Lemures also hopes that they can meet again somewhere, and Chris agrees. The apparitions proceed to return to Maihama, leaving just the AIs and Shima on the Oceanus. An explosion caused Shima to fall out of his seat, and the ship’s cat came over to meow at him. Shima realizes that it’s finally come. He entrusts the rest of the mission to Lemures and the AIs, and then disappears in yellow sparkles. The cat disappears with him. At that time, the Altair and the Garuda have become surrounded by countless spears, courtesy of the Anti-Zega. Those red Holonic spears fly in all at once, but miraculously, both Zegapain disappear from the battlefield right before they hit. Shin and Abyss don’t know what happened, but they are sure that Kyo and company are lurking around somewhere.
In actuality, Kyo, Lu Sheng, Ryoko, and May-Yu arrive in a snowy world. Kyo realizes that someone has saved them, but he doesn’t know who. When Ryoko points out the cat that’s sitting at Kyo’s feet, it bounds off somewhere in the snow. Ryoko gives chase, holding her hand out for Kyo to come with her. Lu Sheng wonders to himself if he can live for the person he loves, just like Kyo. They eventually arrive at the entrance to a temple where a man stands waiting for them. The cat walks up to the man and disappears into him in a flash of light. Ryoko sees that this person looks like Shima, meaning that he must be Shima’s original. Surprisingly, Lu Sheng reveals that he’s met this person before. When Lu Sheng was young, he had seen this close associate of Naaga’s. Back in the lunar atmosphere, the Oceanus’ engines are failing and the ship is crashing. Lemures wants them to keep the ship up until the end, which seems to draw nearer as Dita gets destroyed by enemy fire. Abyss and Shin are meanwhile still searching for their enemies and seem to have found the snowy world Kyo and company are in.
Shima’s original explains that the world they’re in is one of his collection servers – an archive of natural heritage. As he leads them inside to show them something, he explains that he was one of the scientists that was fascinated with Naaga’s technological strength. On top of that, he was the first person who volunteered to become an apparition. But with infinite time, Shima’s original eventually came to question Naaga’s way of thinking. It was from that doubt that he created the Shima that Kyo and company knew. When Kyo makes the connection between Shima and that cat, Shima’s original recites the Buddhist saying, “All that live must surely die; and all that meet will surely part.” Kyo and company become alarmed by these words and wonder how everyone on the Oceanus is doing. Shima’s original informs then that everyone has gone to the Maihama server, but he shakes his head solemnly when Ryoko asks about the AIs. Kyo then demands to know where the Maihama server is located, and Shima’s original answers that it’s at the lab that he manages. In other words, it’s right here – the server they are currently in is also in his lab. But with the Oceanus about to fall, it won’t be possible for them to bring back the resurrection system. They’ll have to send for another mother ship from Earth to come get it.
Shima’s original also reveals that he had earlier sent the Oceanus the technology to layer QL. He confirms Ryoko’s statement that it’s a way to compress QL, and explains that it will allow the Zegapain to have rapid movements over a long period of time. As they continue trekking through the snow, Kyo grows restless because he wants to return to the Altair so that he can protect the Maihama server. Shima’s original has them instead strain their ears to hear the sound of water, which he calls the source of life. He says that this water originates from the ocean, becomes a cloud, changes into snow, and then connects with the ocean again. He also recites the line “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form,” which Kyo recognizes is from the Heart Sutra. It is at this point that a large explosion occurs behind the group, and May-Yu realizes that they’ve been found. Lu Sheng volunteers to go and asks Kyo to tell him later about the thing that Shima’s original wants them to see. Until then, he asks Kyo to entrust Maihama Server to him. Kyo doesn’t get much of a chance to react before Lu Sheng proceeds to hug him. Lu Sheng says that Kyo never tells a lie, which is what he can’t help but like about Kyo. Lu Sheng then pulls away, but turns back to give Kyo a quick kiss on the cheek. Afterwards, he and May-Yu disappear back into the real world where they see the Maihama server and also the resurrection system. As for QL for the Garuda, the Oceanus can only spare a little. But bent on protecting the server, they still face off against the Anti-Zega. As they are pinning it against the wall, May-Yu announces that she finally understands: Lu Sheng wanted to become like Kyo. After the Anti-Zega kicks them away, Lu Sheng has the Garuda form its Holobolt Breaker weapons. However, the bolt cannot pierce through the Anti-Zega’s defense, and the Garuda is subsequently hit in the counterattack.
Kyo gets restless again and wants to go out, but Shima’s original announces that they’ve arrived and shows them some pink flowers in the snow. This time, it is Kyo who says “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form,” but he follows it up by explaining that the first part means everything in this world with color is around for only a moment and the second part means that what existed until a while ago is destroyed in an instant, again causing various colors to be produced. However, Kyo is actually angry that Shima’s original brought them just to see this. He declares that even if it’s for a moment, they won’t die in vain – that’s why they’re fighting. Shima’s original accepts this as living in the present and says that it’s a different answer from Naaga. Back outside, in the server room, May-Yu reports that they’re suffering dry and wet damage. In fact, Lu Sheng is already glowing green from the damage, but he claims that he’s very happy with this pain. He believes that he’s protecting Kyo and that they make a good combination. Kyo meanwhile has finally had enough of Shima’s original showing them the flowers and leaves with Ryoko. After they disappear, Shima’s original says that the Zegapain is a great pain, but also pure – the first drop. He leaves everything from now on up to Kyo and the others.
On the Oceanus, Fosetta reports that the QL layering is done, but she gets destroyed soon after. Tarbo is happy that all the preparations for the Altair’s re-supply are complete, but he also gets destroyed. With the ship going down, Lemures and Ricerca initiate the immediate transfer of the quantum loaded energy. In a flash, the Altair – with Kyo and Ryoko back in the pilots’ seats – becomes recharged with the layered QL. With armor and weapons back, the Altair flies up to confront its enemy.
Kind of a special ending today, with an extra 30 seconds or so after the ED finished to show the Altair charging back up. But the focus this week is on two main things: Shima’s original and Lu Sheng. Shima’s original is actually written in the credits simply as “monk,” which is kind of fitting given how important those two Buddhist sayings were to this episode (see the links in the summary for more information). In any case, Shima’s original did indeed have a resurrection system ready, but now the Oceanus seems all but done for, so Kyo and company will have to find another way to get it back to Earth. Actually, Shima’s original’s other technology, the layered QL, seems like it’s just a way to power up the Altair so that it can match up against the new Anti-Zega. But it’s to be expected given that this is still a mecha show.
As for Lu Sheng’s feelings, that kiss was quite surprising. However you want to interpret it, Lu Sheng does think of Kyo quite highly now, and is bent on upholding the same principles as Kyo (protecting Maihama, living for the person you love). But doing so means that Lu Sheng is really close to disappearing forever, if he isn’t already completely gone. I doubt that he is though since we didn’t see what happened to May-Yu and since I’d expect such an important character to actually get a real death/disappearing scene. And I just had the horrible thought that maybe this series will end in Lu ShengXKyo lol. :)
Next week, it seems that the battle will move to inside the Maihama server. Will Shin and Abyss finally get their hands on Shizuno? It certainly looks like Kawaguchi and friends are protecting her.