A long time ago, Kyo first saw the Altair and introduced himself to Shizuno as her new partner. She had been crying at the time, but then had gotten up to face him as he asked her what name to call her. Back in the present, the apparent destruction of the Maihama server has Kyo and Ryoko in tears over all the friends they just lost. However, Kyo then gets transported into a place that looks just like the Maihama server that he knew. On the TV screen nearby, the news is announcing that the iAL Company is the source of environmental pollution. Everything seems to be normal, including all the people at school and the train station labeled South Maihama. Lu Sheng, Shizuno, May-Yu, and May-Yen all arrive at this station, and Lu Sheng says that this is not the world in the server that was destroyed. Shima, Minato, Irie, and Kuroshio also transport in, with Shima ready to offer an explanation. Although it is true that the data of this city was in the server, they moved the server’s data to a safer place a long time ago. Kyo and Minato are angry that he didn’t tell him earlier, but Shima says that if they had known, then they would have asked where the real server is located. And for this strategy, they have only one chance so failure is not permissible.
Shima then takes everyone on the train ride that theoretically would loop, but this time, they emerge from the tunnel to see a lunar landscape. Although what they’re traveling through is a virtual data representation, the real Maihama server is indeed on the moon. May-Yu raises the point that the Gards-orm currently have control of the moon, and the group then sees a building in the distance that Lu Sheng identifies as the Gards-orm birthplace. Kyo thinks that it’s dangerous to put the server on the moon right in the middle of the enemy, however, Lu Sheng says that this is probably the safest place. Shizuno explains that in the past, the human race made an all out attack on the moon that ended in failure. The Gards-orm ended up moving most of their facilities to Earth and all that remains here is an old decision making facility, with some defense mechanisms. However, if by chance the Gards-orm discover the Maihama server, it would all be over. As they get off the train back in Maihama, Minato accuses Shizuno of having known all of this. Shizuno confirms that and reveals that the ones who moved the data were her, Shima, and moreover… At this point she looks at Kyo and Minato figures out that the third person was the previous Kyo. Before the group parts ways, Lu Sheng asks Shima to explain what information they got from the Anti-Zega. Shima simply says that he’ll tell them when the time comes.
At school the next day, Kyo expresses his disbelief to Ryoko about how they so desperately defended a dummy server. Still, he is glad that everyone is safe since they fight to protect them. He feels a bit strange because they are surrounded by the enemy outside this server. In contrast to the emotionless Ryoko that he talks to then, the Ryoko that Kyo is with in the Altair also expresses how glad she is that Maihama is safe. Ryoko apologizes for not acting more glad inside the server, but Kyo doesn’t mind that much because they’re able to have this conversation now. Unfortunately, the time they have together on their missions is pretty short and soon they have to part ways. Back on the Oceanus, Shima and Shizuno are in a teleconference with Commander Isola. She calls their move unreasonable because of how important Maihama server is to their lives. Shima, however, tells her that it’s necessary for the final strategy. As for the matter of data, it’s being analyzed on the Oceanus and will be ready in a few days. Until then, Isola promises to run diversionary tactics. Before they break off the transmission, Isola asks Shizuno (whom she addresses as Yehl) to come to the Dovarlka once the fighting is over because her friends want to see her.
Meanwhile, in the hanger, Lu Sheng, May-Yu, and May-Yen are accessing the ship’s data through the Garuda so that the AIs and Shima don’t notice. In particular, they are looking at personnel data, and May-Yen finds it strange that Shima and Shizuno have no profiles from before they entered the quantum server. In other words, there appear to be no records about those two from before they became apparitions. Lu Sheng recalls that Shin knew Shizuno by the name Yehl, meaning that there’s undeniably the possibility of some connection. May-Yu and May-Yen think that maybe Yehl is connected with iAL, but Lu Sheng feels that it’s not so simple. Back inside the server, Kyo experiencing the same classes, the same fights, and the same conversations all over again. He thinks about how they’re protecting such a repetitive daily life and wonders if there’s not a way to slip out of this infinite loop. Ryoko has been filming him and she continues to do so as he now swims. However, she notices that Shizuno is standing behind her also watching Kyo, so she asks Shizuno about going out with Kyo. Shizuno confirms it, but she says that it was with the earlier version of Kyo. She describes the old Kyo as like a different person from the current Kyo: he was the prudent and thoughtful type, someone who would carry all of his own troubles until it crushed him. However, Shizuno tells Ryoko that she still likes Kyo.
Sometime later, Kyo and Ryoko are back at the aquarium, and he even asks her if she remembers the date they had here (she does). Kyo feels weird because he knows the outcome since they’re repeating this and is embarrassed about how he had acted back then. Emotionless Ryoko says that if she returns to the Altair, she’d probably feel the same way. She then reveals how she had heard about Shizuno liking Kyo, but she also says that regardless of what answer Shizuno gave her, she would have been indifferent. Kyo responds to Ryoko’s lack of feelings by hugging her, but then he remembers how she pushed him away last time. After everything, it’s still the same – the two of them and even the fish. Before he can think about it any longer, his CelebraIcon lights up. When Kyo arrives on the Oceanus’ bridge, Lemures informs him of the Deutera Area that they’re coming up to. The pilots prepare to go out, but Dita notices that Ryoko isn’t in the Altair right now. For some reason, Ryoko seems to have suffered wet damage and must remain in the server to be repaired. Given the situation, May-Yen volunteers to go out in the Hraesvelg with Chris, freeing up Shizuno to be paired up with Kyo again. As they are setting out, Shizuno reminds Kyo to switch his feelings and forget about Ryoko for now, but he already knew that.
As the enemy units approach, Kyo mistakenly calls Shizuno “Kaminagi.” He apologizes for that slip of tongue as the Altair heads for the Deutera Area, with the Hraesvelg and the Garuda holding off the enemy ships outside. Oddly enough, there is nothing inside the Deutera Area to oppose the Altair, so Kyo makes a beeline for the Main Core. Just as Kyo is about to destroy it, Shizuno notices that something is strange about the core. Indeed, right after the Altair is fires off its weapons, the core lights up and explodes on its own. The large explosion destroys the Deutera Area and even engulfs the Gards-orm ships, though the Hraesvelg and the Garuda are able to fly out of the way. They realize that the core self-destructed, but more importantly, the Oceanus can’t specify the location of the Altair to transfer it out because of the remnant particles of the Deutera Area interfering. In reality, Kyo and Shizuno are stranded in a crevasse waiting for help to arrive. Shizuno remembers that they had also waited for help back then when they had gotten shot down in their first battle. Shizuno had blamed herself, but Kyo told her that it wasn’t her fault and suggested that they get some special training when they got back the Oceanus. She asked him if he regretted coming out with her, but Kyo had felt that this was an act where regret was meaningless.
Kyo had then asked her about her name. Although everyone had called her Yehl, Kyo thought that that was like calling her an apparition. At that time, she revealed she had no other name, so Kyo decided to create one for her: Misaki Shizuno. He knew that this was an important name to him, but it was part of a missing memory. As Shizuno got used to the name, the rain began to fall, so she held her hand out. The rain passed right through it, and a sad Shizuno had commented on how they might not be able to touch the rain for all eternity. Kyo had surprised her by walking over and kissing her. He explained that in this way, they could touch (each other). The current Kyo can’t believe he did that and he exclaims that the old him really was like a different person. Shizuno says that the first time she was able to become herself was when she was named by him. Kyo starts to stare at Shizuno, zeroing in on her lips, but this doesn’t last for long because an enemy ship suddenly comes back to life right beside them. As it powers itself up, Shizuno once again asks Kyo if he regrets coming out with her and he tells her that regret has no meaning. Fortunately for the two, the Hraesvelg comes to save them in the nick of time.
On the Oceanus, Shima realizes that the other side also has a final strategy after Lemures reports on their strange movements. Suddenly, there’s a crackling noise and Shima falls to his knees. His arm appears to have suffered damage and he painfully remarks that time can’t be stopped any longer.
First of all, I guess I was certainly wrong in spelling this. Oh well, Yehl it is…
Well this episode didn’t have quite as many ups and downs as last week’s episode, though I did get a little excited when the enemy ship came alive beside Kyo and Shizuno. I thought they might “kill” one of them off, but alas that never happened. However, they certainly did surprise me when they said that the server was now on the moon. I guess Shizuno hadn’t really moved it last episode. Instead, it seems to me like what happened in the very beginning of the first episode, where the previous Kyo self-destructed on the moon, might have been when they moved the server. I still have no idea what Shima’s final strategy is going to be though and why it requires the Maihama server to be on the moon.
As the title of this episode (“Yehl, Shizuno”) implies, this episode is about Shizuno. They did reveal how Shizuno and Kyo first met and how the two came to be a couple, but we still don’t know about Shizuno’s pre-Oceanus days and what her connection with Shin is. Lu Sheng’s digging more or less just deepened the mystery. I’m also still curious how this love triangle is going to be resolved since Shizuno clearly hasn’t given up on Kyo, and Kyo even had thoughts about Shizuno’s lips.
It’s interesting that when Shizuno declared her feelings for Kyo to Ryoko, Ryoko couldn’t react because of her lack of emotions. But when Kyo hugged Ryoko, her eyes almost looked like they had surprise in them, and surprise is definitely an emotion. Add on to that the fact that Ryoko coincidentally suffered wet damage right after that, along with how happy Ryoko looks in the preview (while she’s wearing her school uniform), and things start to get a bit suspicious. Maybe she got her emotions back in the server world, or maybe she just decided to play dress-up for Kyo in the Altair (I don’t even know if that’s possible). We’ll find out next week, along with maybe what’s going on with Shima’s arm and why there is a Shima doppelganger in the preview.