In a French toy store, Social Welfare agents Joze and Hilshire are looking for presents to bring back to their respective girls, and Hilshire has decided on a Steiff teddy bear for Triela. The shop owner overhears them talking about a Henrietta, so he offers something that’d be perfect for her. On the train back to Italy, Joze thinks about his own sister from a long time ago and how she didn’t want him to leave at the time. After he returns, Joze sets out with Jean, Henrietta, and Rico in Rome where there is a large protest going on, and demonstrators are clashing with police. The Agency suspects that a certain group will take advantage of this and act, and shortly after Joze and Henrietta separate from Jean and Rico, a car bomb explodes. The impact knocks Joze onto the ground, but he’s relatively unhurt, and Henrietta subsequently spots a man in a riot police uniform sneaking away during the chaos. The man flees via a waiting van, so Joze and Henrietta borrow Priscilla’s Vespa when she rides in after having seen the explosion from a distance.
While Joze and Henrietta give chase, Hilshire and Triela set a trap in an alleyway by removing a manhole cover. Before the van reaches that point though, one of the men inside starts firing his gun at the Vespa. Henrietta returns fire and kills him, however this slows her and Joze down because the man ends up tumbling out of the van and into the path of the Vespa. Fortunately, the van then drives into Triela’s trap and gets its wheel stuck in the manhole. Triela manages to kill the driver with her first shot, and her second shot ends the life of the guy who gets out of the van trying to retaliate. Two more men rush out of the opposite side of the van and run down the narrow alley, approaching a square where Rico is waiting. Not aware of who she really is, they run towards her, and this leads to her throwing one of them over her shoulder and shooting the other one in the leg. When the first guy tries to scramble away, Jean shoots him in the leg too. Triela meanwhile knows that there might be someone else in the van, and when he pops out and lunges at her with a knife, she knocks it away and shoots him in the gut.
Later that night, with the mission over, Henrietta writes about it in her diary. She decides to go see Joze, but he turns out to not be in his room. Henrietta looks around inside anyway and sees his shirt, so she snuggles up with it on his bed. She then notices the present sitting on his desk and decides to open it. Inside, she finds a golden kaleidoscope, but to her dismay, the French inscription dedicates it to a woman named Louise Antoinette Rolle. This disturbs her because she thinks that’s Joze’s lover, but when she tells Claes and Triela about it, Claes tells her not to worry because that woman died in the 19th century. Claes recalls that this was the lover of a great French writer who ended up writing about it in a novel and naming her character Henrietta. All this means that the kaleidoscope is indeed a present for Henrietta, so she goes to see Joze again, and he ends up taking her outside to look at the stars. After Henrietta is out of the room, Triela wonders if the story ended in a successful love, and when Claes says it didn’t, Triela feels that it’s a bad omen. Claes thinks that it’s okay since the kaleidoscope is probably fake due to how they were only just invented around that time. She also suggests that because that love didn’t work out, it was a fake love.
Well let’s see, the animation quality left something to be desired – it was rather simplistic at times and not as good as the first series. The music was okay, but didn’t really stand out too much (admittedly I did really like the OP and the piece that played after the action scene when they were explaining the background of the show). The voice acting also took some getting used to, especially if you can remember what everyone sounded like in the first series. Story-wise, they used elements of the first chapter of volume three of the manga along with some stuff to reintroduce the characters and plot, and it doesn’t look like they’ve made any major changes with the characters themselves (though you argue that changing voice actors changes the way the characters are perceived).
Overall, it was a solid episode, but you’re probably not going to be blown away (I wasn’t) if you’re familiar with the first series. I’m interested enough in the continuation of the story to stick with this (for those of you familiar with the manga, the title of episode two is Pinocchio), and as I get used to the change in production quality and voices, it probably/hopefully won’t bother me again.