After Shizuno tells Kyo that this is the real world, Kyo is immediately taken back to the other world. Not accepting what she said so easily, Kyo wonders why his hand disappeared if that was the real world. He then runs into Hayase, one of his ex-teammates, who is staring at a poster for a Junior Olympics Swimming Athletic Meet. Kyo tries to apologize for what he did back then – hitting a referee – but Hayase says that he along with Kawaguchi and Ushio decided not to swim with Kyo anymore. Ryoko and Mizuki happen to see the guys’ conversation, and afterwards, both girls feel a sense of déjà vu. Meanwhile, a large screen outside a shopping arcade is reporting that rescue operations for the Shanghai disaster have ended.
Kyo decides to keep living his life believing that the peaceful world is the reality. Today is a continuation of yesterday and tomorrow is a continuation of today – that is reality to him. This way of thinking is short-lived though: after another trip to the Zegapain world, Kyo is once again wondering which one is the real world. He consults the school counselor, who asks if he knows the story of the Dream of Butterfly (see below). She talks about how people have delusions of themselves having a special existence, but the one word that catches Kyo’s attention is “Celebrant.” And then that night, after another battle in the Zegapain world, Kyo returns home and finds food on the table with a note from his mother. He realizes that his mother is always gone – he’s been alone for as long as he can remember.
The next day, the Oceanus detects an enemy vessel returning to its mother-ship. Minato is concerned that they’re going to strike the Maihama server, so Shima requests reinforcements from allied ships. Back at school, Kyo is in class listening to a lecture about quantum mechanics. Kyo’s mind still lingers on his mother and how he’s only heard her voice recently. His teacher mentions the word “Entangle,” which makes Kyo’s headache worse as numerous voices start talking at once in his head. Kyo collapses, but is later able to walk by himself through the hallway. Shizuno approaches him because it’s time for another mission, however he doesn’t get transported with her to the other world. It’s a bad time for him not to be there too – the Oceanus is suddenly surrounded with enemies in an ambush attack. Shima wants to send out Kyo and the Altair, but they’re unable to contact him.
In the peaceful world, Kyo and Ryoko are in a playground octopus structure, getting sheltered from the rain. Kyo starts experiencing a weird déjà vu, one where he gets faint visions of a ruined city. He leaves Ryoko and starts running in the rain. The symbol on his head flares up and he’s transported to the bridge of the Oceanus. He quickly boards the Altair and enters the battle. After the Altair recharges the Garuda, the power of both Zegapains is enough to destroy all the enemies. With the battle over, Kyo notices that the nearby city looks familiar. He flies toward it and lands after recognizing that it’s the same city he lives in – Maihama. He sees the ruins of his school and the octopus structure in the playground where he was just at with Ryoko (in the other world). Shizuno confirms that this is the real Maihama. The ground below him suddenly reveals another mecha. It lands several successive hits on the Altair, forcing it to the ground. In the cockpit of the new ship is someone Shizuno identifies as Abyss.
The 「胡蝶の夢」 (kouchou no yume) that the school counselor mentions to Kyo appears to be a reference to a very interesting piece of writing by Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi (also spelled as Chuang Tsu and Chuang-Tzu):
Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tsu, dreamed I was a butterfly flying happily here and there, enjoying life without knowing who I was. Suddenly I woke up and I was indeed Chuang Tsu. Did Chuang Tsu dream he was a butterfly, or did the butterfly dream he was Chuang Tsu? There must be some distinction between Chuang Tsu and the butterfly. This is a case of transformation.
Source: Zhuangzi Wikiquote Page.
As you may know (if you read my HanTsuki posts), I love it when a series references outside material like this. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great with philosophy, but it’s clear that the Zhuangzi quotation asks the same question that Kyo asks him self this episode: what is reality? If you want to read more about Zhuangzi, see these links: Short Analysis of the butterfly piece, Alternate translations, Complete text of Zhuangzi’s works.
It’s interesting to note that they showed a news broadcast about a Shanghai disaster after the Shanghai server was destroyed in last week’s episode. It seems to suggest that the servers are what house the peaceful world that Kyo sees, and that the real world is indeed the Zegapain one (or some other). That still doesn’t really explain Kyo’s hands during the locker incident though. This series continues to surprise me with how well it keeps me guessing.
The new bad guy reminds me a bit of Lu Sheng, except with darker skin. It’s the same hairstyle and eyes – Bizarro Lu Sheng lol. Next episode looks like it’ll feature him battling with the Zegapain crews.