After laughing maniacally at the power of love, Asim sends Garnet forward to attack Jin and Toa, but Gio blocks her way. With Garnet unable to beat Gio, Asim orders her to show her true strength, and Garnet’s left eye glows red. Remembering how, 15 years ago, she had gone through a Resonance when a very young Asim, Garnet now unleashes her power and stabs Gio right through the gut. She then tries to get Jin to hand over Toa, but when he refuses, she calls the power of love a sham and charges them. Gio, however, gets in her way again and manages to both break her sword and knock her into the wall. This gives everyone the opportunity to escape, but Gio is too injured to make the trip back to Earth, so they instead head to a nearby Girouard mining facility. There, Toa offers to heal Gio, and after expending a lot of energy – which in turn causes her back to glow red – she’s able to close his wound. Toa feels a bit light-headed afterwards and has a hard time staying on her feed, but she claims to only need some rest. Gio then apologizes for her having to do this for him, however Toa points out that he’s always been protecting her, so she wanted to save him.
Jin decides that they should rest here until Toa and Gio recover, and just as Akira is wishing for a hot springs, they find one. It’s actually the by-product of an ice melting system, and the two pools allow the girls and the guys to bathe separately. As he sits in the water with Gio, Jin recalls all their times together and attributes where they are today to Gio. Jin thanks Gio, and after the two tap their fists to the other’s chests as a sign of unity and camaraderie, Jin talks about them protecting Toa together. On the girl’s side, Akira notices Toa experiencing some pain, but Toa claims that she’s fine. Akira then brings up the topic of what was glowing on Toa’s back when she was healing Gio earlier. Toa says that it was nothing, however Machina reveals that it was a stigmata. Machina knows that Toa’s death draws near and explains that Dragons live longer than humans, but they’re not immortal. When it comes about time for them to die, the stigmata appears, and it gets brighter as they get closer to death.
Toa doesn’t want to tell Jin about this and explains that she knew it would happen from the beginning. As original dragons, they are part of Thanatos, and when they finish their duty of bringing their comrades back, they approach death. Toa believes that this is a fate that they cannot escape from. Akira then remembers how scared she was when she first met Machina. She had thought that Machina was beautiful and saw her as the ideal woman because Machina was in every way the opposite of her. The two of them quickly became like old friends, and Akira began to love her, but in her heart, she reminded herself that Machina wasn’t human. That’s why she always felt it was weird to love a dragon. It wasn’t until she met Jin that she felt differently, and she believed that he could change the relationship between man and dragon. She thought that if she was with him, then she might see something new, and it was the earlier scene of Jin and Toa together that finally convinced her: if two people accept and believe each other, then it doesn’t matter if they are human or dragon. Machina then recalls what Toa had said about not being able to change your fate but being able to change your destiny, and she feels that Toa and Jin have proven this.
Gio and Jin then rejoin the girls after having finished their bath, but before they leave this place, Akira brings up how this particular spot looks like a church altar with how the light shines on the nearby ice blocks. She suggests that Jin and Toa have a wedding here, and Machina makes a pair of rings out of ice for them. Shortly after Jin places the ring on Toa’s finger though, Asim interrupts them with his clapping. Seeing Garnet suddenly leaping down to attack, Akira jumps in her way, and the result is that she suffers a deadly blow across her body. Machina counters by elbowing Garnet in the face, and once Gio takes over to fight, Machina rushes to Akira’s side. Struggling to speak, Akira urges Toa and Jin to make a new human and dragon history, and she utters Machina’s name and touches her face one last time before dying. Overcome with grief, Machina starts screaming and going berserk, and unlike everyone else, Asim is ecstatic about this. Red markings appear on Machina’s skin as her clothes turn black and her hair darkens, and one more scream confirms that this isn’t the same Machina as a moment ago.
Holy crap, did they throw enough plot twists into this episode? There were at least two or three episodes worth in here, from Garnet being a dragon (is she a full dragon though? she only has one red eye) to the fact that Toa’s going to die soon (no indication how soon) to the wedding to Akira death (they brought out the good animation team for that scene) and finally to Machina going berserk. As fun as it was to watch everyone happen all at once, I can’t help but think that the pacing could have been better – they could have gotten rid of some of the repetitive capture/escape stuff from the beginning and spread the current part of the story out a little more.
I got a bad feeling about Akira’s future as soon as she started making a speech about her past with Machina (as my friend pointed out, in game-terminology, that was the death flag), but I didn’t seriously think that she’d die. A part of that I think was due to the relative lack of death in the series so far, particularly if you consider how Kazuki seems to survive everything. Unfortunately, Akira’s death and Machina subsequently going berserk probably means that Machina won’t live much longer either. It’ll be interesting to see what (and how much) happens at the end of this arc next week because there’s now the Machina stuff plus the escape from Mars plus whatever the Lindwurm Unit ends up doing. At least, I assume next week is the end of this arc since episode 18 is supposed to take place one year after. In any case, if there’s one thing Gonzo did right with this episode, it was that it made Dragonauts pretty exciting to talk about again.