Ryoko is up early this morning making boxed lunches for her movie filming today with Tomigai and Kyo. But as she steps out of her apartment, her Celebra-Icon activates and she finds herself standing on the wing of the Oceanus. Inside the ship, the crew is breaking up from a meeting, and Shima tells Kyo that he’s taking Ryoko in as a Celebrant. She seems suitable as a Wizard, so Shima wants Kyo to train with her. He orders Minato to take care of Ryoko’s transfer preparations, but Dita appears behind him to report that Ryoko has already arrived. The group finds her on the bridge, after she’s already become friends with the AIs. She presents everyone with the food she made, but May-Yu and May-Yen get jealous when she gives some to Lu Sheng. As Ryoko is having fun filming the ship and the crew, Lemures reports that Ryoko isn’t showing any of the normal awakening patterns – a good thing.
After watching Shima and Minato, Ryoko tells the two that they’re well matched together. That makes Minato really happy, up until the point where Shima suggests it’s just Ryoko’s imagination. Ryoko and Kyo then go film Lu Sheng practicing his martial arts, but May-Yu and May-Yen catch them. The two girls try to stop them from interfering with Lu Sheng’s training, even though he had permitted Ryoko to film in the first place. May-Yu advises her sister to watch out for Ryoko because Ryoko could be aiming to take the rear seat behind Lu Sheng in a Zegapain. Meanwhile, Shima and the others are in a conference about Ryoko and the other potential Celebrant candidates. It seems that out of all the candidates, Ryoko is the only one who has completely awakened. The Oceanus is faced with a low number of new recruits again, but Shima says that both quality and quantity are important.
Ryoko continues to film the real world, and even catches Chris sleeping with Pieta. Walking with Kyo, she starts thinking about what the AIs would be like if she were the one who programmed their models. In her imagination, Ryoko sees all them as cat people, with everyone finishing their sentences with a “nyaa~.” Kyo then takes her to the ZEGAPAIN hanger and shows her the mecha. Ryoko thanks him for protecting everyone up to now, but Kyo knows that now Ryoko will have to fight too. Ryoko is aware of the dangers, and yet she’s still decided to protect everyone. She wants to become stronger and fly higher, together with Kyo. When the two return back to the server world, Ryoko feels like she’s forgotten something important. The script she wrote falls out of her bag, reminding her that she was supposed to be filming today with Tomigai. She and Kyo rush over to the park and apologize to him, but Tomigai doesn’t mind. He is more concerned about the flickering light that’s on his forehead, the Celebra-Icon.
Ryoko eventually returns to the real world where she gets suited up and placed in a simulator. At first she is hesitant to take Shizuno’s spot behind Kyo, but he tells her not to worry about it. The two of them do very well in the combat game together while Shizuno and the others watch on. Shizuno remembers how Kyo had told her earlier that he wanted to change Wizards so that he could protect and be with Ryoko. Shizuno wonders to herself if getting rid of black magic with a kiss is only something that happens in fairy tales. In front of Shima, however, Shizuno praises Ryoko for her abilities. Looking at the combat data, Minato becomes amazed that Ryoko and Kyo are making phenomenal progress. Shima thinks that they’ve acquired a Witch, which is a Wizard who has a sort of special telepathy or data link with the Gunner.
In the next days, Ryoko spends most of her time filming in the server world. She continues to think about what she’s able to accomplish together with Kyo: becoming stronger, flying higher. Eventually, she and Kyo are sent out on a reconnaissance mission to a tropical island region in the real world aboard the Altair. Back on the Oceanus, Shima is in video conference with Commander Isola who is currently stationed in Europe. Isola is concerned about their losses in Africa, and Shima notes that the Gards-orm are rapidly developing new weapons. However, Shima also reveals that the Oceanus side has new quantum weapons currently in development. After this exchange, the Oceanus is alerted of enemies approaching the Altair. Ryoko tells Kyo that she’s decided not to be afraid, and Kyo vows to himself to protect Ryoko. The crew of the Oceanus watches in amazement as those two work together and dispatch the entire group of enemy ships. Shima says that there’s no mistake: Ryoko is a Witch.
Even when the arms of the Altair get hit and damaged, Ryoko takes only 20 seconds to reroute the circuits to get them working again. The battle is soon over and the Altair lands on a sandy beach. Above them, dark clouds begin to form. The Oceanus detects that there are four Holonic Loaders out there – the Altair, the Garuda, the Hraesvelg, and an unknown. They realize too late that it’s a Gards-orm ship. Indeed, Shin is piloting the new mecha and targets the unsuspecting Altair from above. Kyo and Ryoko are chatting happily when they suddenly get a warning telling them that their Light Armor is shifting phase and disappearing. The computer then tells them that they are being transferred back to the Oceanus, but Shin launches a powerful beam weapon at the Altair before this can go through. The flaming carcass of the Altair arrives in the Oceanus’ hanger, and Shima orders both pilots to be saved quickly. However, Dita reports, “Transmission Failure. Apparition Data, Lost. Kaminagi Ryoko, Destroyed.”
Wow, this episode had it all. I was laughing at Ryoko’s delusions of all the AIs in cat form, and thus I became fooled by the light-heartedness of the first half of the episode. And then the ending: Ryoko and Kyo get ambushed by Shin in a brand new mecha. and then get teleported back to the Oceanus. You can tell that the damage has been done, but it doesn’t really hit you until Dita says her final line. So I thought they did a fantastic job with reversal and suddenly killing off Ryoko.
I’m very skeptical that Ryoko is gone for good because she’s too important a character for them to just knock off halfway through the series for good. There are several possible scenarios for her return. The Oceanus might find someway to bring her back, but I like the idea that she’d lose her memory and the story would parallel the Shizuno and Kyo relationship. Or maybe the Gards-orm will bring her back and Kyo will have to fight against Ryoko in the future. And then there’s the issue of Shizuno. With Ryoko gone, Shizuno becomes Kyo’s Wizard again. But with her current attitude and with the way RyokoXKyo was going, I just can’t see a ShizunoXKyo outcome. Maybe there’s something big is store for Shizuno too.
With all this character drama, it’s easy to forget that this is supposed to be a mecha show. The Gards-orm’s new Anti-Zega weapon seems able to dispel the Holonic armor, making it quite a deadly weapon. Maybe now we’ll actually have some more interesting battles. I’m curious to see what weapons Shima’s side is developing too.
There should be lots of plot development coming next week, and we’ll get to see how Kyo reacts to Ryoko’s death.