There were some changes to the opening animation this week. Among them are the addition of the Shizuno shot (seen above) along with the replacement of several Ryoko scenes with mecha ones. I hope that’s not an indication that the story is leaning towards more mecha and less towards the character-driven stuff that I’ve been enjoying.
Kyo and Shizuno are getting hammered under a barrage of fire from the new enemy until the Zegapain Garuda comes to help. Kyo can’t believe that their enemies are human too, but Shizuno says that that they are the only humans – their enemies are artificially created. The Garuda has been cornered by their opponent, so Kyo tries to attack it, but it has more arms than the Altair does. Shizuno and Lu Sheng both realize that the enemy’s objective is the Zega. So, Lu Sheng and May-Yen put the Garuda into Banishment mode and teleport out of their mecha shortly before it self-destructs. Shizuno suggests that the Altair should withdraw too, but Kyo doesn’t want to run away. Their one enemy becomes two, and the Altair quickly gets overtaken. The enemy ships use tiny probes that attach themselves to the Altair, going after its program data. Shizuno declares that they’ve lost, as shown by how she’s now disappearing. Kyo stares in disbelief as he watches his own hand doing the same. A new Zegapain, the Hraesvelg, then joins the fight and promptly destroys both enemy vessels. Kyo has several visions of what people have told him about what’s reality in the past days. He wakes up in the peaceful world and is relieved that he’s still got his left arm.
Kyo goes for a walk through the empty city streets and wonders about reality again. One of the AIs, Fosetta, appears to tell him that this world is artificial – not only the city, but also the people. And it seems that Shizuno hasn’t come back because she’s still being restored from the damage from the battle. On the Oceanus, Arque, one of the Zegapain Hraesvelg’s pilots, wishes that they had gotten to the battle earlier. Her co-pilot Chris comments that they’ve seen this scene many times before. The wall beside them displays a diagram of the recovery of a “Sizuno Misaki.” Back in the peaceful world, Kyo learns from the three AIs that everything is an illusionary object. Lemures, one of the male AIs, then takes over, trying to make Kyo understand with three famous quotes: “Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”) – Descartes’ famous line, “To be is to be perceived” – Berkeley’s famous line (as in George Berkeley), and “Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most/must mourn the deepst o’er the fatal truth” Kyo identifies that final one as by Blaise Pascal (see below). He’s then reminded of the human-esque Abyss that he encountered earlier. Lemures says that those are Gards-orm reconstructed people; in other words, enemies.
The AIs also say that Kyo doesn’t see his mother because not seeing her doesn’t impede on his daily life. As he goes through another normal day at school, Kyo thinks about how everything is artificial, maybe even Ryoko. But getting into fight with Kawaguchi makes him realize that he can still bleed. And interacting with his friends makes him feel that they’re not illusions. He invites Ryoko out for a walk, and they go to a convenience store. Ryoko buys some candy, but there is no clerk there to take her money, which just magically disappears after she leaves. Kyo remembers what the AIs had said: he doesn’t see things that aren’t necessary – the clerk and the customer exist to those who need them. Sitting on the riverbank, Kyo asks Ryoko if she’s really Ryoko and then laughs it off. Ryoko lets it pass as more of Kyo’s strange behavior and comments instead on how she can see Tokyo from where they’re sitting. This stirs something in Kyo and prompts him to suggest that they go to Tokyo right now. Ryoko resists all the way to the station, but Kyo breaks free of her grip and boards the train alone.
Kyo wants to see the outside world, but is shocked when the trains runs its course and pulls up to Maihama station again, with Ryoko waiting right there. He gets back on the train before she can see him and it starts moving again. This time, Shizuno appears and tells him that it’s useless to try to go outside the city because such a thing doesn’t exist. Their world is only the here and now – a closed world. Kyo still can’t believe it, so it’s up to Shizuno to set him straight. She explains that Maihama is a virtual space preserved in a quantum computer. They are all illusionary here because they have lost their real bodies and are now living in a server. The human race was destroyed by the Gards-orm – there are no more living creatures on Earth. They now live in an illusionary town inside of a machine – memories of the downfall of mankind. After having heard all this, a light starts radiating from Kyo’s head. He thinks that if what Shizuno told him is true, then when he opens his eyes, everything artificial will disappear. Kyo opens his eyes and everything does indeed disappear, including the train and his clothes. However, it all comes back and Kyo finds himself at home again. Shizuno’s voice says that they can do nothing but accept the here and now. Kyo gets a mail from Ryoko, but he has dejectedly accepted that he and she are both illusions.
A special ending for another fantastic episode Zegapain. We learn that the peaceful world’s Maihama only exists inside a server and that everyone is an illusion. What’s more, Shizuno claims that there are no more people left on Earth (the Zegapain world). This seems to imply that everything outside the world is also fake in some way, though it’s not clear to me how. Clearly Shizuno and Kyo can start to dissolve into green sparkles, but it seems that it’s repairable. I really like this series because however many questions they answer, even more questions pop up.
Surprisingly, I also liked the mecha fights from this episode. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t the usual Altair/Garuda destroying mass numbers of enemy ships.
As for the philosophical quotations that Lemures cites, from what my research has turned up, the “Sorrow is knowledge…” quotation is not actually from Blaise Pascal, it’s from Lord Byron’s Manfred poem. I’m not sure if I’m missing a connection somewhere or if they goofed up or what.
Next week, more battling and more of Kyo trying to come to terms with everything.