ZEGAPAIN – 25
Inside the peaceful Maihama server, the Oceanus crew is discussing the current situation, with Shizuno keeping hope in Kyo and the others. Kuroshio points out that even if they are able to get the Resurrection System, they can’t take it back to Earth without the Oceanus. Minato thinks that if it was just the blueprint of the system, they could bring it back via the Zegapain and construct it on Earth. Unfortunately, the Zegapain can’t take the Maihama server, meaning that they’ll be left on the moon. As they’re discussing this, the cat that was in the room suddenly disappears and the windows become covered in data. Back outside the server, in the lab, the Garuda continues to take a beating from the Anti-Zega. But when the Altair finally comes to help, it’s the Garuda that holds the Anti-Zega in place long enough for Kyo to score a hit with his extended blade. Unfortunately, it’s too late for the Garuda as it explodes shortly afterwards from all the damage.
The data flowing into the Maihama Server in front of the Oceanus group is actually the QL layering technology, the apparition repair program, and the resurrection system – all of which Minato considers as the final gift from Shima. Also included is a way to miniaturize the Holo-memory of the Maihama server, allowing it to be possibly brought back to Earth. Still, Kuroshio thinks that it won’t work because it’s an unknown technology that would take years to analyze. Even if they brought this data back to Earth, they couldn’t construct it as they are now. Just as they are realizing this, the data starts to glow. To their surprise, Lu Sheng and May-Yu’s damaged bodies get deposited in front of them and the Oceanus’ AIs take responsibility. Meanwhile, Abyss and Shin disappear from in front of the Altair after stating that they can’t return to life anymore. Actually, the two of them find their way into the Maihama server and surprise all of the inhabitants by appearing. The AIs report that Naaga wanted this to happen and that the Oceanus has been taken over. As the Anti-Zega starts to destroy the town, Lemures tells Kyo that the AIs are now unified with Naaga, Equal, and G-Phaetus. Kyo wants them to send the Altair to Maihama, and Tarbo replies that they intend to do so because Naaga also wants that. The Altair ends up appearing in Maihama just in time to save their friends from being blown up by the Anti-Zega. From this close-up, Kyo’s friends can clearly see that he and Ryoko are the pilots.
As Gards-orm reinforcements arrive in the server, the Anti-Zega deflects a shot right at the school from the Altair. However, Minato, Shizuno, Irie, and Kuroshio appear and block it with their Celebrant powers. Kyo and Ryoko are able to breathe a sigh of relief after seeing their comrades protect everyone else. As they continue to fight the enemy, the battle moves to the area above the river where Ryoko’s little brother and his friends are watching. At one point, the Altair has to swoop in and defend them from a falling enemy ship. Minato and company meanwhile gather all of the students in the gymnasium of the school. Irie takes some personal damage, but is ultimately successful at strengthening the security of the building. Kuroshio then realizes that the Gards-orm have already enclosed a huge part of the Earth with Deutera Areas – they only have 12 hours left before it’s completely covered. Commander Isola also reports in that the Dvoraka is currently attacking the enemy’s orbital base. Around this time, an explosion rips through the Maihama server room and the electrical feedback inside the server damages Kuroshio’s arms. Having seen all the destruction that the Gards-orm ships are inflicting, Chris and May-Yen decide to head out.
Not with the rest of the students are Kawaguchi, Ushio, Hayase, Tomigai, and Mizuki, who have made their way into the city and are watching the battle above them. They almost get destroyed by enemy fire, but Shizuno appears and shields them. Dita, Ricerca, and Fosetta appear in a nearby store window and question her about still pretending to be human. They call her Yehl version 4.31 and claim that she’s an artificial apparition created in the iAL Company’s quantum server. Dita comments on how it’s not good that Shizuno goes against her father Naaga. The AIs go on to explain that they as AIs can’t exceed their human-like reaction patterns. With a huge chain of comparison, deduction, and reaction algorithms, it can seem as if they have intelligence, but they won’t have Descartes’ passion. They say that even if Shizuno has a heart, she is only an experimental subject and is different from the other apparitions. When the AIs try to get her to come back to the Gards-orm, a shocked Shizuno denies deceiving anyone because she herself didn’t know any of this. Now, as she remembers her past of being watched by researchers, Shizuno falls to her knees, crying and apologizing to everyone. Minato, however, tells Shizuno that she’s a friend, a friend that they fight together with. As Kyo agrees with Minato, he channels his anger into tackling the Anti-Zega into the ground. The two mecha then get back up and face off on the city intersection that Shizuno and company were standing at. Kyo’s friends all start throwing rocks at the Anti-Zega, yelling for it to leave their city. Abyss thinks that rock-throwing is a meaningless action, but those rocks start to have a profound effect on the Anti-Zega because the Celeb-Icons on all of Kyo’s friends have activated. Shin and Abyss quickly realize that this isn’t good and decide to leave. But before they can reach the hole they created in the sky, Kyo catches them and destroys the Anti-Zega’s cockpit, finally killing Abyss and Shin.
With the battle over, Minato and Kuroshio proceed to explain the details of their mission from this point forward. A spin-off of Gards-orm technology allows them to keep a holo-memory of the Maihama server inside the Zegapain. By dropping the clock frequency, they can bring the server back to Earth. But there is a lever that needs to be pulled, and it must be done by someone with a physical body. Originally, this job was done by a robot, but they don’t have such a robot right now. What’s more, the lab where the Maihama server currently sits is going to explode soon, so there is only one way they can accomplish their goal: someone has to use the Resurrection System and return to being human. Kyo is of course that person. He tells Ryoko that the guy who returns to being human will live alone in a different time until the day the Resurrection System is completed on Earth. Hearing that, Ryoko wonders if it’ll be 10 or 20 years, or possibly more. Kyo says goodbye to her, but then turns back to hug and kiss her. After Kyo disappears into the pool, Shizuno walks up from behind Ryoko and tells her to wait here. Once Shizuno also goes off to the real world, Ryoko starts crying and calling out Kyo’s name.
Inside the lab, Kyo awakens in a real body and finds the Altair – and Shizuno – waiting for him. With a real body, Kyo can now touch and pull the correct lever that loads the Holo-memory of the Maihama server and the data of the Resurrection System into the Altair. With that, Phase III has been completed. As he looks up at the Altair, Kyo addresses Ryoko and wonders if the sky in Maihama is blue. When Shizuno calls him up to the cockpit, Kyo jumps and accidentally overshoots it. Shizuno tries to catch him, but she can’t because he’s real now and she isn’t. Kyo instead manages to catch the side of the Altair and bounce himself into the cockpit. After the two laugh about it, Kyo tells Shizuno that he remembers everything now. The two then take off, with Kyo addressing her simply with “Shizuno” instead of the “Shizuno-senpai” that he usually uses. Onboard the Hraesvelg, Chris and May-Yen are also ready to embark on the mission’s Phase IV.
With this, we now know what Shizuno really is – an artificial apparition – with the implication that she can’t eventually become human like everyone else. But since KyoXRyoko has been all but cemented down, that’s not too big of a deal. Shizuno just ends up being the character I sympathize the most for, since I’m betting that her story won’t conclude in the happiest of ways. Still, there’s something unsatisfactory about how Shizuno is unable to grab’s Kyo’s hand, so maybe she’ll get a miracle of some sort.
But from what this series has been setting us up for, there will be a KyoXRyoko ending, especially since Kyo’s kiss seemed to have brought back Ryoko’s emotions inside the server. For now, it seems that Kyo will have to spend a lot of time without her before the Resurrection System is completed on Earth, assuming the plan goes off without a hitch. And Phase IV isn’t going to be easy if the Altair, the Hraesvelg, and whatever remaining mother ships there are have to destroy the rest of the Gards-orm, stop the expansion of the Deutera Areas, and establish the construction of the Resurrection System. Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to an exciting end next week.