It’s summer in Maihama and various students are practicing their sports at school when suddenly the world freezes. When it unfreezes, everyone who was in the middle of an action loses their balance. Inside the infirmary, Mizusawa gets the feeling that something broke. At that time, Kyo in the library looking over all the history that Lu Sheng had taught him when Fosetta suddenly appears on the screen with news about Ryoko. Kyo immediately transfers onto the Oceanus and starts asking where Ryoko is until Shizuno tells him that Ryoko is inside the Altair. Her data can be restored just like Kyo’s was. The AIs explain that this is because a part of Ryoko’s data remained in the apparition buffer on the Altair. Enough of it will allow them to restore Ryoko to her original state. For now, they’re investigating the damage situation of the data. Back in the server world, Mizusawa is still working in the infirmary when she tips over a cup of coffee. As it is shattering and spilling on the ground, she briefly sees the cup and the coffee as pixels. Shaken up by all this, she decides to drive off somewhere. Her departure is seen by Kurashige, who was bringing her flowers and had something to say to her.
With the analysis of the data done, Dita reports that there’s a good probability Ryoko will be able to be restored. However, Shima decides to put the salvage operation for Ryoko on hold so that he can prioritize the development of some new weapons. As he leaves the bridge, Shima walks past Lu Sheng and asks him if he wants to say something. Lu Sheng claims to have nothing to say, and so Shima reminds him that he doesn’t need to restrain himself. Lu Sheng’s father was the main sponsor of iAL and is the leader of the Mao Enterprise Group. Shima says that it was thanks to them that people were able to take refuge in the quantum servers when the extinction of mankind was drawing near. Lu Sheng says that if that’s the case, they will also be known as the ones who led the human race to extinction. Shima also isn’t particularly happy that Lu Sheng is overriding his authority like he did in going to talk with Kyo, though in that case Shima didn’t mind.
Standing on the waterfront, Mizusawa notices that the world is glitching around her. At the aquarium, Ushio and Mizuki are on a date. Ushio gets a feeling of déjà vu and can’t shake it until he falls into a fountain and pulls Mizuki in with him. At school, Hayase is pissed off that he’s the only one here practicing in the pool. Mizusawa, meanwhile, has opted to ride the train, but she soon finds herself exactly right back where she started at South Maihama Station. No matter how many times she rides it, she ends up at the same place. She dejectedly returns to school, only to find Kurashige waiting for her. He says that he tried to chase after her earlier, but no matter what, he couldn’t leave the school. To his surprise, Mizusawa breaks down in tears and runs to him. In the real world, May-Yu and Lu Sheng have set out on the Garuda. May-Yu is complaining about Shima’s earlier decision, but Lu Sheng takes Shima’s side because they really do need a countermeasure for the Anti-Zega. Lu Sheng thinks that this way might be better for Kyo too. Suddenly, the two get a warning about the approaching Anti-Zega. From the Oceanus, Shima sends out Shizuno with Chris on the Hraesvelg.
Back in Maihama, Kyo is riding his bicycle happily because he knows that Ryoko is coming back. He pulls up to an intersection the same time Kawaguchi does. Kawaguchi is his usual hostile self, but the two start racing through the streets while yelling at each other along the way. Kawaguchi still blames Kyo for what happened during that swim meet, but Kyo blames the referee. Kawaguchi wanted Kyo to say that from the beginning. They ride all the way to school where they bump into each other and get thrown off their bikes. Lying on the ground together, the two come to an understanding and reconcile. They go together to the infirmary where they find Mizusawa in tears because she just accepted Kurashige’s marriage proposal. Kyo and Kawaguchi spread the news to the rest of their friends, and Ushio also reveals that he’s now going out with Mizuki. Seeing everyone talking together happily, Kyo feels like they’ve gone back to how they used to be, or maybe they’ve actually moved forward. In any case, Kyo is happy, especially with Ryoko’s pending return. That happiness is short-lived though because Kyo suddenly sees the world around him start to get fuzzy. With their Celebra-Icons glowing, Hayase and Tomigai seem to understand what’s going on.
The battle with the Coatlicue begins with an opening shot from the Hraesvelg. Chris and Shizuno score a hit, but the Anti-Zega immediately returns fire and shatters the Hraesvelg’s light armor. The next shot blows off their left arm, so Chris orders Shizuno to divert all the QL to their light armor. They manage to survive another hit, but lose the mecha’s left leg. The Garuda flies in to help, but Lu Sheng and May-Yu are equally ineffective because the Garuda’s weapons can’t hurt the Anti-Zega. Seeing his pilots fare so poorly, Shima springs into action and orders the use of the Oceanus’ big guns against the Coatlicue. Right as the ship is firing the shells, the Garuda and the Hraesvelg transfer out, leaving just the Coatlicue to be engulfed in the blast. However, shortly after the explosion dies down, a red beam hits the ship. The damaged Coatlicue appears in front of the Oceanus, ready to fire again. Fortunately, it appears unable to gather enough energy for another fight and so the Anti-Zega withdraws. The crew has been saved because the enemy also relies on QL. Still sitting in the cockpit of the Hraesvelg, Shizuno realizes that Kyo is calling.
Inside the Maihama server, everything in the landscape is now fuzzy and pixilated. Shizuno tells Kyo that the server is failing because its processing power has been exceeded since it had to run this world continuously. Lu Sheng explains that it is impossible for the server to simulate the flow of time forever – there is a limit. But he also says not to worry because the server’s not broken. Instead, it just needs a reset: except for the Celebrants, everything in the server world including the people, the memories, and the environment will be reset back to five months ago. Maihama repeats the same period of time, over and over again. Kyo comes to the realization that everything he was so happy about earlier – reconciling with Kawaguchi, the teacher’s marriage, Ushio going out with Mizuki, the swim club, everything – will be gone. Shizuno says that the previous him had actually reconciled with Kawaguchi many times. Kyo wants to stop the reset, but Lu Sheng explains that the purpose of quantum computers are to preserve people, and those people inside can only see realistic dreams repeated over and over. In the world of data, dreams and reality hold the same meaning. Shizuno follows this up by saying that Kyo has lived through this Maihama summer more than 100 times.
At this time, somewhere in cyberspace, Ryoko is calling out Kyo’s name.
Some more new shots in the ending sequence, this time of the various ZEGAPAIN pilots.
Kyo has gone through this five month period over 100 times? That’s like (*grabs calculator*) over 41 years! That makes me wonder how mature the old pre-losing-memories Kyo was, and how much of a relationship he had developed with Shizuno after all that time. Hopefully we’ll get to see a glimpse of that sometime.
So this whole resetting the server ordeal has to be why everyone keeps getting déjà vu feelings. I’m a little surprised that something that was idealized to facilitate the infinite evolution of mankind by Naaga would repeat over and over again like this. Perhaps Lu Sheng’s line about dreams and reality hold the same meaning/significance will be something important to keep in mind for the rest of this series.
As a random thought, Mizusawa-sensei reminds me of Shion. Or maybe I’ve just been playing too much Xenosaga III…
Next week, the return of Ryoko!