After Mashiro gets tricked into agreeing to the battle after her coronation, preparations get underway throughout the city for the celebration. In her lab, Yohko explains to Arika about how the gems and the nano-machines work to create the robes. Meanwhile, Nina, after being told by Sergay that he doesn’t think she’ll lose, remembers going through a photo album as a kid and seeing a picture of a girl with her hands on the shoulders of a young Sergay. Nina runs off after getting a comforting hug from Sergay. He, however, hears singing coming from the woods. Finding Arika sitting in a clearing, he tells her that she won’t win against Nina. Arika is quite determined to pursue her dreams, so Sergay asks her about the song she was singing. Arika says that it’s an old lullaby passed down in her family. The next day, as various dignitaries arrive, Arika once again affirms that she won’t lose, this time to Nagi in front of Nina. Mashiro’s coronation goes through without a hitch and afterwards Shizuru activates a robe on Arika while Natsuki activates Nina’s. The two start a heated battle where Nina performs some unrelenting attacks. Arika is surprisingly quite resilient and recovers after each attack, even getting in a head-butt in. Elsewhere, Shizuru is investigating a disturbance in the throne room and comes across a hooded figure who reveals himself to be the same armored foe from the beginning of the first episode. She transforms and starts to fight him, but one of his attacks rips a hole through the castle, crumbling a still under-construction building. Nina and Arika’s fight is interrupted by the chaos that ensues as pieces of it come falling down.
Fabulous, fabulous episode. My preference leans towards the second half (which is dominated by fighting), but the first part does a good job of giving bits of background information. That part also features the two masked men, one of them whose hair resembles Midori or Mai. But like I said, the Arika vs. Nina and the Shizuru vs. Rado battles are the highlights of this episode for me. Nina makes several very impressive moves, but while Arika starts out faltering, she actually does fairly well all things considered, especially towards the end of the fight when she blocks Nina’s Kamehameha-style attack. And the more I listen to it, the more I like the background song used for this fight. Oh, and Shizuru still kicks as much ass as ever.
The animation is a tiny tiny bit off for this episode. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if it weren’t for the fact that the faces look a little different in the first half. In the second half, I was too busy paying attention to how good both fight scenes looked to care. And if that didn’t make up for it, then the introduction of several “old” characters (namely Kazu, Yukino, and Haruka) did.
Next episode will feature the conclusion of Shizuru’s fight, along with how Arika becomes an Otome. The preview shows Arika and the power of the Sapphire holding up something heavy, Haruka grabbing Arika’s chest, AND a bath scene. But what I find the most interesting is the title: “Blazing Transfer Student!!” I wonder what that could mean….