When the Gards-orm quantum portal overloads, the resulting explosion envelops three Oceanus-class ships. To Commander Isola, the situation looks grim since they are unable to stop the advance of the Deutera. But what she does not know is that Kyo and Shizuno are taking off in the Zegapain Altair version 2.0.1 on the moon. Shizuno thinks to herself that this is the first time the Zegapain has been controlled by a real human, but she also knows that this is also the time for the eternal separation between her and Kyo. As they blast their way through a corridor in the lab, Kyo remarks about how strange it feels to have two 16-year-old memories. Shizuno blames herself for everything, but Kyo disagrees. He remembers that some time ago, flying over an autumn forest in the Altair, he had been telling Shizuno about Maihama and how he discovered something new every time the server repeated that time period. Kyo had said that if they accomplished Shima’s plan, they could bring everyone in Maihama back to this world. However, Shizuno had informed Kyo that she couldn’t become human because she was no more than quantum data. Shizuno remembers that at that time, she still didn’t understand the things that people felt and the feelings that they shared. And then, the incident on the moon occurred where Kyo sacrificed himself and the Zegapain after sending Shizuno away. Kyo had said back then that even if he were revived, he would probably not be himself anymore.
The present Kyo thanks Shizuno for giving him a second life, and as an enemy appears on their sensors, he declares that he won’t be crushed anymore. That enemy turns out to be the Anti-Zega, piloted by Abyss and an outline of Shin. As the two mecha clash, Chris and May-Yen meanwhile use the Hraesvelg to burst onto the Oceanus’ bridge, destroying all the AIs except for Lemures. Their plan is to use the Oceanus as a QL bomb to take out the weak point of G-Phaetus, which May-Yen suspects is the globe she saw earlier. Back in the Altair vs. Anti-Zega fight, Shizuno warns Kyo about how their defeat would mean the end of the Maihama server. But that’s not all, there’s also Kyo’s own life to consider now too. Inside the Maihama Server, Ryoko is astonished to find a damaged Shin lying in the ruins of the playground. Shin wonders why they who had evolved had been defeated and why they had eternal life. Ryoko thinks that it’s because they were too scared to lose it, so they wanted eternal life. Hearing these words makes Shin think that Ryoko is indeed a good person, someone who she considers a friend. She hopes to meet Ryoko again soon since she believes that she can be revived because her life is eternal. With that, Shin’s hand goes limp. Abyss – in the real world – senses it immediately and watches as Shin’s real body turn to sand. To him, eternity has stopped and the last Shin has disappeared. After Maihama Server Shin disappears into red sparkles, Ryoko promises that she won’t forget Shin’s name. But she calls the eternity thing stupid and wants all of these kinds of things to stop, causing her to cry out for Kyo.
It is at this point that a gigantic explosion rocks the moon and destroys G-Phaetus. From Earth’s atmosphere, Commander Isola and the Dvaraka see the blast wave. With G-Phaetus gone, they are now able to make easy work of the Gards-orm forces around the orbital base. Isola thinks that although the Gards-orm have been destroyed, their side now does not have the chance to resurrect mankind anymore. She’s surprised to learn from Lemures that the Gards-orm are still active and are still expanding the Deutera Areas on Earth. Furthermore, another explosion occurs in front of the Dvaraka, this time coming from the quantum portal on the orbital base. They see the Altair appear from the smoke, dragging along the cockpit remains of the Hraesvelg, with a heavily damaged Chris and May-Yen inside. After having the Dvaraka take those two, Shizuno tells Kyo that the North Pole Server is acting autonomously, and so the Deutera Area on Earth is still growing. But the two have a plan: they’ll go into the Claude base’s control system and aim the Deutera Cores at the North Pole Server. Those Deutera Cores will be able to break through the barrier around the Sabato and act as a missile to destroy the server. With Abyss and the Anti-Zega arriving soon, Shizuno opens the cockpit so that she can enter the control system. Before she goes, Kyo apologizes and thanks her. In response, Shizuno admits that she was really happy when he was revived. He had changed and so had she – finally waking up from a bad dream, finally becoming human. With tears in her eyes, Shizuno confesses that she loved Kyo, and Kyo says that he did too. When she reaches her hand out and says goodbye, he takes it and tells her that it’s not goodbye – it’s a promise. Shizuno says that she’ll do her best and then disappears into the control system.
Inside the control system however, Shizuno comes under attack by the security system. Outside, Kyo and Abyss go literally face to face when Abyss brings the Anti-Zega alongside the Altair. Abyss wants to know why Kyo refused eternal life, but Kyo challenges what Abyss knows about him and tells him to think independently. The two trade punches to the face and then return to their respective mecha. At first, the Altair takes a beating from the Anti-Zega and gets knocked back. When the Altair’s hand falls on the Claude’s system interface, the Maihama Server inside the Altair starts glowing as a connection is established. Back inside the system, a damaged Shizuno says to herself that she originally thought that not returning was ok, but now she wants to return to Kyo. Fortunately for her, Minato suddenly appears and tells her that she’ll go back – together with everyone. Once Minato gets rid of the security, Kuroshio, Irie, Tomigai, and Hayase all appear to support Shizuno and help her use her powers to control the system. After Shizuno sprouts digital black wings and then disappears into data, the Deutera Cores of the orbital base activate. Kyo meanwhile enters Banishment Mode, but directs it only into the Altair’s left fist. Uses it as a projectile, Kyo successfully causes the fist to explode on the Anti-Zega. When Abyss makes one final charge at Kyo, the Altair skewers the Anti-Zega and finally destroys it. During this time, the Deutera Cores have been fired towards Earth and crash into the Sabato. The effects are immediately apparent as all the Deutera Areas on the Earth quickly disappear. In addition, the orbital base also fractures and explodes. Normal life returns to Earth, including a conch shell washing up against the beach.
It is some time later that morning dawns in Maihama. In his apartment, Kyo’s mother appears and urges Kyo to get up. Kyo goes to the dining room where his little sister tells him about how his father suggested they go somewhere for vacation. She teasingly suggests that they invite the senpai for whom Kyo has an unrequited love, causing him to throw a towel at her. In his head, Kyo thinks that it is a dream. If either one is reality, then the other one is the dream. Which one is…? At school, the guys are admiring Minato as she prepares to dive into the pool. Before she makes the jump Minato thinks to herself a word of thanks to Shima. Meanwhile, Kurashige is with Mizusawa and is remarking how the second semester will come after summer vacation is over. He gets caught up on how the words second semester has a fresh sound to it, causing Mizusawa to laugh. Outside, Hayase is walking together with Tsumura Sachiko. Inside the student council room, Kuroshio is telling Irie that life is mysterious. Because of the limits of life, a person sees everything as precious and important, and the current moment may be loved. From this, Irie can tell that Kyo has had some influence on Kuroshio. Nearby, Lu Sheng discovers that it is indeed possible to upgrade the apparition repair program, which would allow Shizuno to become human with them. Unfortunately, they realize that Shizuno doesn’t have her memories when they go talk to her. Lu Sheng says that “have” was born from “have not” and that by chance, mankind approached god. He wonders how Naaga would feel if he knew. May-Yu is more worried about the future – when Shizuno becomes a human, there’d be a love triangle again.
In the real world, the Dvaraka is still on watch for the remaining Gards-orm forces along with Chris and May-Yen in the Hraesvelg. However, today they have a supply mission in Japan. It is on a beach in this real world that Kyo recites a famous line: “Man’s 50 years are like passing dreams or visions, in comparison with the everlasting cause in the universe.” Truthfully, Kyo thought that he’d live for eternity in the server, but he saw how dazzling the real world is with its genuine blue sky, genuine flowers, waves and winds. He wants to touch everything in this world, this genuine world that Yehl created. Thus, he’s picked up a flower and shows it to Ryoko, who’s still in apparition form on the beach with him. Nearby is a building with a painted sign outside that reads “Chiba Prefecture South Maihama High School, Swim Club Branch Office,” and inside is a large piece of machinery. Facing the water is the Altair, with many seagulls resting on top of it. Kyo tells Ryoko that for the sake of touching everything in this world, he feels that it’s ok to have a limited life. Ryoko agrees and notices that Kyo’s hair has gotten longer. However, she notes that the server is still on a loop, though now a year-long one. When she tells Kyo not to grow up too much, Kyo responds by asking her to wait for another two years for the graduation ceremony. At this point, they see the Dvaraka appear in the horizon, which makes Kyo quite excited because he’s hungry. The two of them board the Altair and fly out to the ship, amidst a sky of seagulls.
Many years later, in that same beach spot with the same lighthouse, Ryoko is drinking some water. She puts down the glass and rubs her abdomen, hoping that her child can be born soon into this world full of light.
The famous line that Kyo quotes is supposedly recited by Oda Nobunaga from the play Atsumori. See this reference for more translation variations. I think it’s a very fitting line that captures both the fleetingness of life and thus the importance of living life fully, perfect for Kyo talking about experiencing the real world.
Anyway, I went “WTF” no less than 3 times during this episode, particularly at the very very end with Ryoko’s pregnancy. Kyo would likely be the father, but they don’t show Kyo anywhere in that future scene. By the lighthouse ruins, it would seem that many years have passed now, so there’s no guarantee that Kyo is still alive. But it’s at least implied that Kyo is the father, and that regardless of whether or not Shizuno got a real body, he ended up with Ryoko.
Speaking of Shizuno, they sneakily answered the question of where her name came form posed back in episode 20. They don’t verbally say it in this episode, but the credits of this final episode lists Kyo’s little sister’s name as Sogoru Misaki. Although the kanji are different, it would seem that that’s where Kyo got the name from. Incidentally, Kyo’s little sister is so cute! She would have easily become one of my favorite characters in this series if she had appeared earlier.
As for the overall ending, I was quite happy with it. Not only did they give an exciting end that wrapped things up nicely, they also put in a few small surprises. It was nothing big such as having Shizuno end up with Kyo or something, but they still managed to give Shizuno a fairly happy ending along with the rest of the Oceanus crew. Some of the best endings are ones where you go in not sure what to expect, and come out pleased with what you saw, which is what was the case for me here.
ZEGAPAIN was one of those series that looked like it was mecha on the surface, but turned out to be much deeper than that. At first, it didn’t seem terribly unique: when red-haired Kyo was introduced, I saw Aquarion parallels, and when they got into the real world/fake world question, I saw Matrix parallels. Yet the story had me hooked from beginning to end, as they skillfully melded together the characters and the backstory into a great series. I actually did quite a bit of research for this series, usually in the form of quotations from people like Decartes, George Berkeley, the aforementioned Oda Nobunaga, and even the Heart Sutra. In that sense, I’ve learned quite a bit from this series, and so ZEGAPAIN was entertaining in many respects. I honestly think that it deserved more attention than it perhaps got in the English-speaking anime community.