Three days after the assault, Mashiro is hiding out in a group of Windbloom refugees. Because there are soldiers searching for her, she is deathly afraid and longs for someone to save her. In another part of the desert, Natsuki wakes up in a camp beside Nao and Yamada. Yamada informs her that Nagi had seized control of Windbloom after “liberating” it from Schwarz. And because he then drove them all out of the city, all of the poor people are now refugees. In the Airies Republic, Haruka is fuming mad at Nagi, but Yukino has her stopped by smashing a rock onto her head. Back at Natsuki and Nao’s camp, Miyu makes her appearance. Holding her hand at Natsuki’s neck and keeping Nao at bay with some deadly coin shooting, Miyu asks them where Arika is. But it seems that in the aftermath of the explosion, Natsuki doesn’t know Arika’s whereabouts, though they do know that Nina is safe. Natsuki feels that it’s her mistake for what happened.
Nina is actually still in Windbloom, and is trying to comfort a bedridden Sergay. She is a lot more talkative and tries to act happy, but her feelings of pain come out when her father attempts to apologize. Underneath the castle, John Smith and Nagi are watching their scientists work on the Harmonium. Unfortunately for them, they’re having a hard time opening up Fumi’s mausoleum. As for the song, the conductor, and the protector: Nagi seems to think that Mashiro has the third part of the lyrics (Erstin provided the second) and that Arika would be the conductor, since she’s the real queen according to Sergay.
Mashiro is on the move with the refugees who are headed for the Airies Republic. The people around her can’t stop criticizing her and their words remind her again that she may not be the real princess. Mashiro collapses in the sand, but the girl Mimi offers her some water. At Natsuki’s camp, Miyu tells that she is the Multiple Intelligential Yggdrasil Unit, a.k.a. MIYU. She then jumps off into the darkness. The refugees have also set up camp in the night, and Mimi tells Mashiro the story of her father. He was a baker who lost his store to a government road construction project, causing him to sink to debt and gambling before he died. Mimi feels that the queen didn’t care about them at all, and thus has developed a deep hatred. Mashiro’s stomach growls, so Mimi brings her some of the same stuff she tried to feed Mashiro the last time they met. This time, Mashiro realizes that the food tastes delicious and starts crying as a result.
The refugees suddenly start to get excited because they’ve apparently caught someone who served the queen. The angry mob has cornered her on a cliff, and Mashiro identifies the person as none other than Aoi. The crowd hates her and the queen, and tries to make Aoi tell them where Mashiro is. At that moment, Aoi recognizes her former master in the crowd. However, she says that she doesn’t know where Mashiro is, but even if she did, she wouldn’t tell them. Mashiro can not find the words to speak out to save Aoi, nor can she make her feet move forward. To the crowd’s delight and Mashiro’s shock, Aoi decides to fall backwards off the cliff. Having been completely helpless, Mashiro runs away crying and eventually finds herself wandering the desert. She then collapses and mutters “Arika.” Somewhere in a valley of caves, Arika is carrying water when she turns around as if her name were called.
I had expected this episode to be kind of slow, but it ended up being really good. Let’s run through the major plot points…
Miyu the Mysterious – She’s able to handle both Natsuki and Nao (though they’re w/o Robes), and once again introduces herself as the Multiple Intelligential Yggdrasil Unit. We still don’t know what her connection with Arika is, but she’s very concerned. On top of that, she seems to know Natsuki’s GEM title as well as Nina’s.
Sulking Sergay – Guess he wasn’t so invincible after all. Bedridden and bandages isn’t the type of image you project to the girls, tsk tsk.
The Harmonium – If Nagi is indeed right (and I’m not saying that he necessarily is), then Mashiro is the key to the song and Arika is the key to the conductor. That means that Nina must be the protector? That’s assuming that those three make up the three parts, which seems pretty likely at this point. Which part they play depends on who’s really the princess and who’s really Rena’s daughter.
Mashiro the Exile – And so the girl finally learns how the other half lives. I don’t really feel sympathetic that she’s suffering because she did used to be such a brat, as long as she’s learning something from the experience, which she definitely is. Of course, what really opens her eyes is…
Nooooo!!!!! Aoi!!!!!!! – This has so much more impact on me than Erstin’s death. Seeing Aoi cornered like that, Mashiro remembers how loyal Aoi was; then, in a final act of devotion, Aoi sacrifices herself for the sake of her queen. What makes the scene even better is the music piece they chose to accompany such a powerful scene. As for whether or not Aoi’s really dead, I find it hard to believe that she is, especially with the threat of a reset looming over us lol. Maybe by some miracle she was saved during the fall, but in any case, I don’t think she’s truly dead (at least until I see a body).
Arika and Aswald – It sure seems like Arika is living with the Aswald now. Those caves are very similar to the ones Midori was watching over back in episode 14. I’m very curious how Arika (and Mikoto) ended up there.
It’s kind of hard to tell what next episode is about because the preview shows different shots of almost the entire cast. From it, I’d speculate that maybe Tomoe is going to break Shizuru out of jail, maybe Chie is going to get really pissed if she learns about Aoi, and maybe we’re finally going to learn something more about Midori and Aswald.
Closing Thought: After watching Otome, I lose all motivation to watch any other shows. Nothing else can compare…