Following Akiyuki’s trail, Nakiami finds his backpack in Zuizo’s home, but there’s no one actually around. He, Zuizo, and Kio are already on their way to Tsumebara Pass, and first they have to pass through a harbor town where Akiyuki notices that there’s a Sentan Island ship docked. Disembarking from that ship are Haru and Furuichi as part of a group tasked with searching for a missing ASP squad. Coming with them is a special Ongoro-User who can help detect Humanform weapons, but Furuichi doesn’t trust him because he thinks the guy is a Humanform user. Once they’re inside the mines at Tsumebara Pass, Haru starts talking about the families waiting for the missing Mainsouls, and that in turn causes Furuichi to wonder if she’s still waiting for Akiyuki. He then leaves Haru at a tunnel junction and tells her to stay there since she likes waiting so much. Back outside, Akiyuki learns that Kio harbors a grudge against the Humanform Hunters for killing her mother and for abandoning the town. He decides to entrust Roppa with her while he heads towards the mines, and before Akiyuki goes, Zuizo warns him that whoever he’s meeting might betray him once they see his arm. Akiyuki, however, is confident that Haru is different from other people.
Meanwhile, Haru is on her own walking through a tunnel and happens to trip over the arm of an ASP suit. She has just located one of the missing suits, but the Mainsoul pilot is nowhere to be found. Furuichi rejoins her and helps open the cockpit, and inside they find flowers growing everywhere. Right as they are thinking that the Mainsoul could still be alive, a Humanform weapon suddenly appears behind them. Haru realizes that this is actually the Mainsoul because the creature is still wearing military boots, and she tries to talk to it, but Furuichi resorts to shooting it. He makes Haru run away while he tries to keep the Humanform weapon at bay, so she dashes all the way out of the mines. At the entrance, she is surprised to see Akiyuki running towards her from across the bridge, and the two meet at the middle. Their reunion is cut short though after Akiyuki notices the Humanform weapon that had followed Haru out of the mines, and he manages to protect her from its attack. Akiyuki has no choice but to unleash his arm when the Humanform weapon subsequently charges at them, and he turns it completely to stone in one strike.
A slightly injured Furuichi emerges from the mines right as Akiyuki is finishing off the Humanform weapon, and although he’s initially surprised, Furuichi points his rifle at his old friend because he now realizes that the Xam’d on that bus back then was Akiyuki. When Furuichi accuses Akiyuki of no longer being human and instead being the friend of monsters, Akiyuki claims that he’s still himself and that Furuichi is the one who’s changed. Furuichi counters by questioning why Akiyuki abandoned their island, and he blames Akiyuki for letting that Northern refugee onto the bus. He wants Akiyuki to return to the island and surrender to the Far East Autonomy, but Akiyuki refuses, and that just pisses off Furuichi more. Before Furuichi can shoot Akiyuki though, the body of the defeated Humanform weapon suddenly explodes, destroying the middle of the bridge and leaving a large gap between the two sides. Another Xam’d then appears and pins Furuichi to the ground, and that gives Akiyuki the opportunity to escape. Haru tries to stop him so that she can give him back his armband, but by this point, it’s already too late. Before he disappears as well, the other Xam’d changes back into his human form and tells Furuichi that failing to value the lives of others cheapens your own life.
Furuichi and Haru return to the military ship sometime later, and Furuichi goes directly to Kakisu to tell him about what happened. He identifies one of the Xam’d as Akiyuki and refers to him as someone who used to be his friend. Haru, on the other hand, gets slapped by their commander for acting on her own. In town, Nakiami finds Kio, Zuizo, and Roppa, the latter of whom leads her to the injured Akiyuki. She helps rewrap his arm, and afterwards, Zuizo tells Akiyuki that they have to live. Zuizo also reveals that Kio isn’t his real daughter – he had only saved her after her mother was attacked – but Akiyuki had already figured this out. Before she departs with Akiyuki, Nakiami gives Kio some medicine for her father’s arm. She and Akiyuki eventually make it back to the Zanbani later that night, and the ship launches immediately thereafter because there are Northern ships coming. Unbeknownst to the crew, the same man who saved Akiyuki earlier is now barreling towards the ship on a motorbike, and he barely manages to make the jump onto the ship’s open hanger before it takes off. The crash attracts Akiyuki and the children, and they recognize the man to be none other than Raigyo.
Now that was a good episode. I loved the music again, but the plot and characters are what’s really shining. This was the first meeting of the two sides of the story (definitely not the last), and I really enjoyed it despite Furuichi acting like a total asshole the entire time. I hope Haru has nothing more to do with him after all this, but I suspect Furuichi’s character is being set up this way to be redeemed again later. In any case, the surprise of the episode was the sudden appearance of Raigyo (voiced by Fujiwara Keiji), and he got all the cool scenes like leaping onto Furuichi and doing that crazy bike jump onto the Zanbani at the very end. My initial impression of him was that he’d be like a fatherly/mentor figure for Akiyuki, but the preview seems to imply that Akiyuki won’t be so happy that he’s back. Regardless, having another Xam’d around should be interesting, especially since he supposedly went crazy/berserk in the past…