Aoi celebrates her triumphant return to civilization by having a traditional Japanese meal of miso soup and rice balls. Professor Itsuki ignores the immense odor both Aoi and her suspicious backpack are releasing, and asks the student why it took her this long to return to Japan. According to Aoi, the reason for the delay was because of the level of research she undertook with Haruka concerning fermented foodstuff from all over the world; Haruka ditching Aoi halfway around the globe also had its effect.
With this reunion over with, Aoi temporarily leaves the lab for a well-needed shower. Professor Itsuki calls out to Kei, and they both depart from the lab as well – they carry Aoi’s rucksack outside to unpack its contents. Sawaki, who is left behind, sees some rather brightly colored microbes hiding around the eating utensils Aoi used just a while back. He finds them to be malicious, and tells Haruka this.
Outside the lab, Itsuki and Kei are busy unpacking miscellaneous fermented goodies; they have scrubs and masks on for protection. The professor talks about Hiyoshi Kikuji in their little chat. Kei is impressed by Kikuji’s methods in brewing liquor – so much so that he expresses interest in putting his college education on hold in favor of independent research and travel.
Back in the lab, Haruka wastes no time in opening all the windows wide open. She slips on a bright orange biohazard suit, and barks at the remaining four students to cover up as well – the 5 species of microorganisms Sawaki found are all dangerous and are involved in food poisoning and contamination. Unbeknownst to all this, a freshly showered, cheery Aoi reenters the lab in a cheerleader uniform and a lab coat. Haruka has Aoi surrounded, as Sawaki walks up to her to see if there are any dangerous microbes still attached to her. He indeed finds them on her hair, and Aoi is mercilessly hosed down with potent chemicals until she is deemed germ-free by Haruka.
Aoi is brought to the closest hospital nearby for further check-up, and is picked up by Sawaki; he is wearing a paper filter mask and goggles for protection. Aoi confirms with Sawaki about his ability to see microbes as he pedals her back to the university campus. She asks Sawaki if Kei (“who looks like a girl”) if Kei has the same ability – Sawaki is quick to answer no, and adds that calling Kei a girl is deeply insulting.
They arrive at one of the buildings housing student clubs and activities. Aoi invites Sawaki inside. Sawaki is uneasy for the second time this day, as he notices an abnormally large band of microscopic agents floating around the building. He tries his best to ignore them, and he joins Aoi into opening the door to the club Aoi is president of…the UFO Research Society.
The room of the society is boiling hot – a heater is turned on although it is already April at this point in Moyashimon. Food is scattered around the room, and the members are all flushed and sickly-looking. Sawaki remembers now that what he is seeing is influenza. Upon hearing influenza, Aoi walks around the room and reprimands her UFO-loving comrades – they have closed the room with little ventilation with a heater turned on, which is the ideal environment for the flu. To make matters worse, they have also raised chickens and pigs for food (both animals can harbor influenza viruses that target humans, and could help the viruses genetically mutate).
Aoi wastes no time in contacting the university’s bio-emergency response team. A large group of people wearing biohazard suits (yet again) enter the building for quarantine and sterilization. Haruka joins Sawaki and Aoi as they watch the response team do their stuff; she sarcastically points out to Sawaki that paper filter masks are not enough to ward off the flu virus. It appears that viruses in general are far too small for the filter in paper masks to block – rather, the only source of protection against viruses is the moisture collected in the masks through breathing, which is only temporary at best.
Haruka calls it a day and leaves the rest of Itsuki’s students as they head outside to celebrate Aoi’s return. Misato and Kawahama bring the group to the Hiyoshi liquor store first, but the store is closed. Finding it weird that several fancy cars are parked outside the closed building, they leave for a bar where Aoi’s friend, Hirooka Aya, works. Aya, a third-year in agricultural economics, is indeed the bartender and she greets everyone warmly. She goes off to serve everyone – except Hazuki and Sawaki – some fresh beer.
The bar scene continues. We learn that the reason Aoi started the UFO Research Society was a result of being abandoned by her then-boyfriend years before. Aoi persists that aliens have abducted her BF, although Sawaki bluntly suggests that this must be Aoi’s form of being in denial (lol). Hazuki, Misato, and Kawahama leave the table for a game of darts as Aoi continues to talk to Sawaki.
Professor Itsuki, meanwhile, brings along Kei as they approach a limo amidst sakura trees in full bloom. The chauffeur invites the two to the Nighttime Hiyoshi Saloon. Sawaki finally notices here now at midnight that Kei hasn’t contacted him all night, let alone be next to him.
Microbe Theater: The “five top food poisoning bacteria of Asia” formally introduce themselves. They include –
Moyashimon just keeps on delivering. This episode was even more memorable as it’s also the episode where Sawaki’s eyes (and the animation quality) return to normal. 😀
Someone needs to explain to me though, as to why the BGM used in the very beginning of this episode is some weird fusion of hip-hop and Arabian sounds. I’m also having a hard time deciding what to refer Kei by – a he, because “he” looks like a guy? A she because the manga points toward Kei actually being a girl? Or should we leave the androgynous Kei as an it? Help and comments are appreciated, really!
Edit: I will tentatively call Kei a he. The manga doesn’t really convince me that Kei is a guy though, because of how Ishikawa Masayuki describes “him” in the “character introduction” pages in some chapters… (e.g., the description from chapter 58 – Yuuki Kei is Sawaki’s childhood friend and the son of a sake brewing household ← well, recognized as a son at least in the family register)
Next time: Professor Itsuki gets caught on camera with an attractive, younger woman. Seriously?!