Sousuke is called to base while he’s at school. Apparently Gates and company have kidnapped some people in Nanjing, China and escaped with the help of his ASs. Sousuke arrives at a briefing by Kalinin and Tessa who explain that the prisoners are being held in an underground facility. Arriving there, Sousuke, Kurz, and Melissa are first briefed by a Vincent Blueno before they are deployed along with some foot troops. They dispatch the enemies that they find, not knowing that Gates and company are hiding in the shadows. The ground troops break into the compound and free the prisoners, with Mao following them in. Just as Kurz is noticing that something is wrong, communications go out. Mao tries to get him back on the line, but soon has her own problems to deal with. It seems that one of the prisoners was really Xia Yu Lan. She quickly dispatches the troops and shoots Melissa. Elsewhere, it seems that Sousuke has been surrounded by ASs, including Gate’s own Venom.
I’m not sure I’d call TSR based on the novels anymore. I finally managed to read The End of Day by Day and A Dancing Very Merry Christmas over the weekend, so that I’d know what to expect. In actuality, I think TSR is more of an alternate adaptation of the novels, using most of the same characters, except Gates (someone correct me if I’m wrong). Key character example is Vincent Blueno. In the novels, he’s responsible for putting Dannigan and Gwen onto the TDD, and later escapes, requiring Mao, Kurz, and Sousuke to chase him through Sicily. Here, he still works with MITHRIL, but he’s not revealed to be a bad guy yet (though it’s pretty obvious). I hope that maybe they’ll still put in the Sicily part after this arc is done. On a similar vein, I also hope that this season has the same impact on Sousuke’s character that the events of The End of Day by Day did.
I enjoy a lot of the little things in this episode. There was the Ren cameo at the beginning. There was the fact that Kurz still has a female voiced AI. The samurai drama spider man at the beginning was also pretty funny.
More bloody violence this week (the throat cutting made me cringe), but only toward the very end, courtesy of Xia Yu Lan. Still, this was a lot more of setting up for what I expect to be an action packed, and probably bloody, episode next week. The animation in the preview looks wonderful (the animation for this episode was excellent too), and I really want to see the Arbalest vs. Venom fight.