Kyo still doesn’t understand what happened last time when his hand disappeared as he was trying to touch the locker. He thinks about how impressive the virtual game is, but then remembers the message telling him not to believe the world he sees. As he dives into the school swimming pool, he’s thinking about going to the other world, and the symbol on his forehead activates. He’s transported to the Oceanus, where he’s greeted by the female AI named Fosetta. She leads him through the hallways towards Shizuno, who’s currently in a meeting with Shima and Minato. Those two are worried about mental damage to Kyo, and Shizuno is at odds with Shima about him. After the meeting, they’re all surprised to see Kyo on the bridge of the ship. Minato tells Kyo that everything he wants to know is in the simulator – the Pain of Zega game. Kyo is then sent back to the normal world.
The Zegapain Charadrius, piloted by May-Yu, appears in the middle of Shanghai. She and her sister May-Yen had requested Shima that they recover the Shanghai server. Minato had reminded them that the Shanghai server had already been destroyed, but May-Yu clings to the hope that someday restoration technology will be developed. Meanwhile, Kyo is at Ryoko’s home playing the game. He succeeds at beating the fourth stage, but then a message starts playing about the fight between the Celebrum and the Gards-orm. At the end of it is a mysterious part that says “My thoughts never to be erased! My pain never to be forgotten.” Kyo puts down the game after hearing this, and Ryoko decides to play the next stage instead. Back in Shanghai, May-Yu sees that there is a Deutera Area growing bigger in the middle of the city. Its expansion has almost reached the building where the Shanghai server is housed. The Zegapain Garuda is sent out to assist the Charadrius with the enemy ships that have appeared.
Kyo is so caught up in his thoughts that he doesn’t notice Shizuno on the street until after he walks past her. She pulls him into a puddle of water, and the two disappear into the Zegapain world. He brags to her that he’s cleared the fourth stage in the game, but she tells him that he’s still got 196 more to go. After the Altair and the Garuda destroy all of the enemies, Kyo goes into the Deutera Area and tries to destroy the core with the Altair’s fists. His punches don’t do much damage and he actually loses the Altair’s right arm in the process. Below ground, May-Yu has retrieved the server, but is racing to escape from the oncoming Deutera barrier. The Garuda destroys the core right before the Deutera swallows up the Charadrius. Unfortunately, the Shanghai server was turned to dust by before the barrier was deactivated.
Back on the Oceanus, the sisters cry because of the loss of the server. Kyou, who still thinks that this is all a game, admits failure this time, but promises revenge in the next one. His insensitivity angers May-Yu and gets him punched by Lucien. Shizuno takes Kyo to an observation room and finally tells him the truth: this world is the reality.
Even though Shizuno reveals that the Zegapain world is the reality, I’m not sure I entirely trust that. There seems to be too many unanswered questions, like the message Kyo saw last episode and how his hands seemed to disappear around the locker. The reality revelation wasn’t really that surprising, so I keep wondering if there’s not something more that they’re hiding. Personally, I’m of the opinion that neither world is the reality and there’s something more. The “My thoughts never to be erased! My pain never to be forgotten” line suggests that there’s perhaps a loop of some sort going on.
It’s also interesting that they start playing serious music while Ryoko is playing the game. It may just be part of the transition to the Shanghai scene, but Ryoko’s role in the series should probably be getting bigger sometime soon. Perhaps she’ll become a Zegapain pilot too?
The animation was slightly different today, especially with the way noses were drawn. That’s probably just the result of another animation team working on the show. Overall, this is still a good episode in story and production quality. I’m definitely looking forward to next week.