The Tuatha de Danaan sets off to Hong Kong after a brief prayer led by Tessa. The crew gets a lengthy technical briefing on the lambda drivers, after which Sousuke visits the Arbalest and starts a conversation with the AI “Al”. Their back and forth dialogue, which includes Al defining the words “whim” and “play,” eventually leads to Al telling Sousuke that it thinks he has a problem, and it offers to help. Sousuke denies a problem, but Al says that its intuition says otherwise. Their conversation gets interrupted by Melissa, who tells Sousuke that they have a mission. They are briefed on the situation in Hong Kong, which includes a divided city being randomly attacked by a Codarl type AS equipped with an ECS (Electromagnetic Camouflage System). The team of Sousuke, Mao, and two others are sent to talk with a member of the Intelligence department and do some recon. Hunter – their Intel agent – and Mao narrow down several dozen locations where the AS could be hidden around Hong Kong. The four are sent out to investigate each area, with Melissa and Sousuke in one car. Disguised as a cleaning service, Mao and Sousuke are able to get through various checkpoints around the city. They drive toward a group of guards, and Sousuke notices a truck that reminds him of Chidori. His lack of attention results in them crashing into a taxi. The military presence nearby rushes to the accident and forces Sousuke and Melissa to the ground. However, the sound of metal tearing nearby distracts their attention. Sousuke can only stand and watch wide-eyed as the mystery AS appears and takes down the Chinese suits before disappearing. Melissa even has to tackle him to the ground to protect him from the blasts. With bigger things to care about, the soldiers set them free. Mao yells at Sousuke for getting into an accident and correctly guesses that he was thinking about Chidori. She says that she’s better off alone than with him like that and to her surprise, he agrees. After apologizing, he gets out of the car and walks off.
One of the main purposes of “The End of Day by Day” novels is to develop Sousuke as a character; to give him motivations and purpose so that he’s not just a military-minded guy protecting Chidori. Being based on those novels, The Second Raid is doing the same. Well, almost. Most of the stuff has been shown, but one of the key elements this episode is missing: Bunny Morauta’s pre-recorded message to the future pilot of the Arbalest. In it, he says that Al is different from normal AIs and has the capacity to grow. He also says that the pilot should overcome his own problems by following his heart. This may not be an absolutely necessary part of that conversation, but I think it’s too important to the development of both Sousuke and Al to omit. Sousuke in particular because he basically deserts his post this episode because his mind is elsewhere.
But aside from that, this is another high quality episode that focuses on Sousuke. I think I’m beginning to see how the rest of this season is going to work out. Next episode will focus on Sousuke wandering around town trying to figure out what to do, episode 12 will have the big revelations (saying any more than that would ruin it), and episode 13 will finish the battle and conclude this series. I can already think of a good stopping point (i.e. cliffhanger) for the end of next episode, but we’ll just wait and see…
Closing Thought: I don’t speak Cantonese, so I’m wondering if the voice actress for Mao actually speaks it or if they dubbed in someone who does or what.