In a war-torn city, a battle is raging between a Humanform weapon and what its pilot refers to as soulstealers. These soulstealers gang up on the Humanform weapon and easily defeat it by removing the ring around its snout area. Meanwhile, a group of white-haired children gather their equipment and depart from Lady Sannova for a mission to return the Hiruko to the Ruikon. Onboard the Zanbani, the crew does a mid-air mail drop, and Nakiami brings Akiyuki to see a Madame Tenshin for Xam’d training. Madame Tenshin begins by explaining that Akiyuki’s fate has become intertwined with Xam’d and that the Hiruko inside his arm prevents him from living as a human. When she questions if he still wants to live, Akiyuki asks back if the Hiruko can be removed, and Tenshin answers that only Lady Sannova can do it. Lady Sannova’s whereabouts, however, are unknown since she’s been exiled by the Northern Government, so Akiyuki tells Tenshin that he doesn’t want to die and wants to return to Sentan Island. In response to this, Tenshin questions what the Xam’d wants and instructs Akiyuki to listen to the Hiruko so that it can enlighten him. As for the actual training, Akiyuki is made to stamp letters, and his speed is timed.
Back on Sentan Island, Haru, Furuichi, and Midori join a crowd of people watching a Southern Continent Free Zone ship that has just arrived, and Furuichi comments on how a militia is being formed to strengthen the island’s defenses. In the midst of all this, Haru notices that one of the others in the crowd is a girl named Shidara who lost her entire family in the recent attack and now spends her time muttering about how everyone is dead. Akiyuki meanwhile continues his training and visits to Madame Tenshin, though he takes some time out of his schedule to replace stamps on undeliverable letters that he doesn’t want destroyed because they’re addressed to Sentan Island. He’s later helping out on the outside of the ship when another postal ship suddenly cuts the Zanbani off and releases a smokescreen. Akiyuki learns that the people on the other ship are Northern Government pawns who have been driven from their home and scattered across the world, and the distinction between these people and refugees is that of having a home to return to. The appearance of this ship causes Ishu tells Akushiba not to let Nakiami out because it’s a Tessik ship, but by this point Nakiami has already launched in the Beat Kayak.
Nakiami returns shortly thereafter to request permission to meet with someone called Zeygend from the other ship, but Ishu refuses to let her. Citing how the Tessik betrayed the anti-government army and are now making money doing things like trafficking humans, Ishu views them as trash who have sold their souls. When Nakiami takes offense because she considers herself to be the same as those people, Ishu slaps her and tells her that she can go whenever she wants. This leaves Nakiami unsure about what to do, but she still accompanies Akiyuki to their usual session with Madame Tenshin. The old woman has been asking Akiyuki to tell her what the Xam’d cannot help but seek, and although Akiyuki doesn’t know for sure, he suggests that Xam’d just wants to live with others. He feels that he needs the help of Nakiami and the others to live like this, and in response to this, Tenshin observes that the Hiruko is currently a lost soul. She feels that its thoughts couldn’t be given life and are unsure of what they seek, and she goes on to call it the Xam’d of the lost memory. Tenshin wants Akiyuki to meditate on his answer, but she allows the removal of the restraint on his right arm for the time being and entrusts him to Nakiami.
Meanwhile, on Sentan Island, Akiyuki’s father returns home that night to find a woman named Prois Sukakki from Free Zone headquarters waiting for him. She reveals that they’re putting an anti-Humanform research laboratory on the island and want his help, but Akiyuki’s father quickly turns her down. It’s not until she invokes the name of Kakisu Toujirou – the man who Akiyuki’s father had saved at Barador – that he really starts paying attention. Around this same time, in the same war-torn city where the soulstealers had earlier taken down a Humanform weapon, the injured Humanform weapon pilot sees a group of people he calls the Jibashiri extract the Hiruko from the belly of a dead pregnant woman. Moments later, a bullet pierces through his head.
There’s a lot to like about this series – the production quality, the depth of the surroundings/world, the characters, and more – but what I really hate about it is how it throws you into certain parts of the story with little or no introduction. I didn’t mind a few episodes ago when the story were just starting out, but the writers keep doing this every week, so the list of things unexplained just keeps growing, and it can feel rather overwhelming at times. Examples from this week include Lady Sannova and the Jibashiri, the souleaters, what the Tessik ship was doing, what Madame Tenshin was gibbering about (she reminds me in many ways of the old Stargazer from Darker than Black), and all the different sides of whatever conflict is currently going on. On that last one in particular, I know there’s the Southern and Northern sides, but how does the anti-government group fit in? And which side is controlling the Humanform weapons?
I guess this is a way to keep the viewers interested and thinking about the series, but at the same time, it’s rather irritating to see all this stuff that doesn’t make a lot of immediate sense. In short, I wish they’d take a more measured approach to introducing things. Hopefully next week will at least clear up some of the stuff about what the Tessik and Zeygend are doing since it looks like from the preview that Nakiami might be joining them.