While leaving home, Kyo notices an envelope from Celebrum with a game stick inside for a “Pain of Zega” game. Today is the big day when Kyo gets to show off the promotional video for the swim club that he and Ryoko made. Everyone is excited about seeing Shizuno and about the video itself, but no one joins the team. Seeing Shima there, Kyo uses the chance to ask him about telling everyone about the “Pain of Zega” thing he got, but Shima doesn’t care as long as Kyo protects his promise to Shizuno. Ryoko and Tomigai already seem to know about it, and hook it up so that Kyo can play. The introduction of the game says that in 40 years, the planet will be transformed by an environmental modification experiment and that the Celebrum is the resistance organization against the Gards-orm. The game itself is like a simulation of the battles that he fights in the Zegapain Altair. He fights to a Deutera Area, which, as Ryoko’s little brother explains, is an environmental experiment area that will cause mankind to lose the fight if it is allowed to cover the entire world. Kyo starts to wonder about why he’s fighting in the other world. During this time, Ryoko runs into Shizuno on the street. Her friend Mizuki asks Shizuno about the alleged kiss between her and Kyo, and Ryoko is surprised that Shizuno replies that it felt good. Shizuno continues on about Ryoko’s video making skills and the conversation switches to dreams and the future since Ryoko wants to be a director.
Back at Ryoko’s apartment, Kyo is led to a locker after beating a certain level of the game. When he opens it, he sees a message telling him to be careful about being involved with Misaki Shizuno. He then gets a mail from Shizuno asking to meet him, and so he goes. The two enter the Zegapain world and are sent to a Deutera Area, just like in the game. Kyo notices that his body seems to remember this place and the movements he’s making, but not because he played it in the game. Along with the Garuda pilots, Kyo and Shizuno are successful at destroying the enemy core structure. When the fight is over, Kyo gets off the Altair and remembers the locker he saw in the game. He notices that same locker nearby, but gets interrupted when parts of the building start to crumble. Words appear behind the Altair warning him not to believe the world he sees. Even though Shizuno tries to stop him, Kyo still tries to open the locker. However, his hand disappears in the area right around it. Kyo can’t believe what he’s seeing and asks Shizuno about it.
The mystery of the true reality deepens. The Pain of Zega game is obviously connected to the Zegapain world, but the question is why Celebrum made it into a game. Probably to train Kyo or start to trigger his memories or something. There’s also the question of who’s sending Kyo those messages and why, but that’s pretty shrouded in mystery. The whole locker thing makes me question whether it’s the world that’s fake or even if it’s Kyo that’s fake.
So despite what the popular opinion of this show seems to be, I rather enjoy it. The mecha parts definitely take a backseat to how much more interesting everything else is: the characters, their relationships with each other, and how the reality question factors into all of it.
On a side note, I can’t help but feel that this PAIN of ZEGA game is like a demo/prototype of the ZEGAPAIN game that Bamco is putting out this summer for the XBox 360.