At school, Arika is very busy with work and is ecstatic when she learns of a trip that all the other girls seem to be afraid of. The class arrives at a beach resort in the Airies Republic to take an exam – the goal is to cover 100km in rough terrain. At dinnertime, their teacher and senpais will come to grade them. Each girl is given an armband to contact the teachers in case of an emergency. They will be working in pairs: in particular, Arika with Erstin and Nina with Tomoe. However, during the night before the girls set out, a shadowy figure tampers with Erstin and Arika’s bags.
In addition to the academy folks, Sergay, Nagi, and Mashiro all happen also to be here. Sergay learned from his source that Nagi met with John Smith, and has started to doubt the grand duke. In the morning, Mashiro and Nagi have fun on the beach with Chie and Yukariko while Akane meets with Kazu. In the woods, the pair of Arika and Erstin is moving along, but Erstin is beginning to lag behind. After Erstin suffers a snakebite, Arika decides to stop for the day. Shiho arrives to check up on them, and Arika forces one of her dinner creations onto her. Shizuru, on the other hand, enjoys a world class meal courtesy of Tomoe and Nina. As the night wears on, Arika is giving Erstin a bath and has noticed that she’s getting sicker. Arika wants to use their armbands, but Erstin doesn’t want to impede on Arika. When Erstin breaks down crying, Arika comforts her with the lullaby. Elsewhere in the forest, Midori is leading her men through and tells them that she wants to arrive before dawn.
The next day, Arika and Erstin continue on, but the skies above cloud up. Their compass seems to be broken, and Erstin soon faints from a fever. Arika tries to use their armbands, but they’re both broken. With the rain now pouring, Arika leaves Erstin bundled up in some shelter under a tree and sets off to look for a way to help Erstin. When the rain finally clears, we find Arika climbing a cliff, reaching what appears to be man guarding a fence. But upon closer inspection, Arika realizes the soldier is dead, his eyes still open in shock. Behind her, an armored figure appears, brandishing a metallic whip similar to Rado’s. His attacks send her over the cliff and falling into the water below.
I have to say that if this is to be considered a funny fanservice episode, it’s done superior even to this week’s episode of Shana. Not that Shana was bad, but that this is just a lot better. We’re getting developing story all while what’s happening has me in stitches for most of the episode. Shiho is the source of a lot of this amusement, but NatsukixShizuru, Mashiro and Nagi, and Arika all have their moments.
But this episode isn’t all fun and games. Someone’s sabotaged Arika and Erstin, and I suspect that it’s Tomoe or one of her subordinates again. Sergay seems to be looking out for his own interests, learning about Nagi’s meeting with John Smith and seeing Akane and Kazu. What either of those will lead to remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Midori, who’s full face is finally revealed, is moving quickly towards her target, while one of the cloaked men attacks Arika. And for once, they actually ended the episode on a good cliffhanger.
The preview has so many juicy shots, from Arika getting close (literally) to Sergay, to Midori battling Haruka. Looking forward to next week 🙂