While training up her basketball game one day, Rouge gets light-headed and is caught by Slash. He uses the chance to give her a data drive before disappearing. Rouge returns to her room, still conflicted in her feelings for Dan, and she discovers that the data drive contains his file. She then gets a call from Slash that sends her out on her own. Across town, Dan is training Flora, but he still has trouble making a basket himself. They’re interrupted by the arrival of Slash, and he makes a flashy flying dunk. Challenging Dan and Flora, Slash is easily able to keep the ball out of their hands, but then Rouge shows up and offers to help. Even she’s unable to get the ball from him though, and Dan manages to run into her while trying himself. The sight of Rouge on the ground reminds Dan of Coco – even though Rouge is okay – and he redoubles his efforts against Slash. What this amounts to however is Dan running feverishly in circles until he crashes into a wall and Slash leaves.
Afterward, Rouge explains that Slash is famous on the moon and is James’ final weapon. She and Dan end up arguing however, and Dan storms off. Having heard of what happened from Flora, Haruka later listens to Dan’s feet and figures out that Dan doesn’t want to remember something. The others suspect that this is about what happened to Coco and that Dan is trying to run away from the past. Dan meanwhile pays a visit to Rouge to return the handkerchief she lent him earlier, but the two are forced to take refuge in a closet when Eclipse’s manager shows up to talk to the girls about the OCB league match. While hiding, Rouge suggests that Dan couldn’t enter a league match even if he wanted to because of the trauma that he’s going through, and she convinces him to play her again in a basketball match. The two face off the next day under the watch of their friends, and Rouge easily outplays Dan and makes basket after basket. Dan struggles because he sees Rouge as Coco, and he starts running around wildly again.
A crowd has gathered by this point, and Dan happens to notice Coco on the sidelines with Slash. With his mind preoccupied, Dan runs straight into Rouge, but instead of crying out in pain after she goes down, she instead urges Dan to make a three-point shot. Dan successfully does so, finally putting himself on the board, and his fears appear to be gone even though he still ends up losing the game by a wide margin. Writing about Dan on her popular website, Coco later surmises that these are signs of his revival, and she wonders if he’ll participate in the OCB league match. Slash is there with her and questions why she told him about the accident, and he guesses that it was all for Dan’s sake. As he leaves, Slash tries to ask if Coco herself would ever play since she could still pilot a Bigfoot while in a wheelchair, but she doesn’t answer until after he leaves. For Coco, writing and following Dan is her Basquash.
I didn’t really enjoy this episode the initial watch-through, but after seeing it a second time, it’s not as bad as I thought. I still wouldn’t call it a great episode though, even if I ignore the fact that the animation quality was kind of poor this week. Dan hasn’t proven to be a very good main character, and watching him run around stupidly wasn’t all that exciting. I also don’t understand how him making a three-pointer helps him overcome his internal demons about getting Coco injured, but I probably shouldn’t complain because I’m just glad it’s over now.
Having said all that, what I did like was how the episode ended focused on Coco, and I’d give a thumbs up to the music in all of her scenes, especially the flashback one. Slash is turning out to be pretty interesting as well. He’s not inherently evil, as his interactions with Coco show, but I can’t really figure out whose side he’s on and if he just wants to face someone legendary or what. This is compounded by how it looks like he’s getting younger as the years go by since the credits indicate that it’s him who taught Coco and Dan about basketball a long time ago. Maybe Slash wants a final, legendary game in before he regresses to the point where he can’t play anymore or something.