After the changes with last week’s episode, I thought they were done with new OP material, but it seems like they were saving the best for after Naviga’s introduction. So there’s a whole slew of new scenes in the OP this week, some very interesting like the shot of Sela and Naviga together. My immediate thought upon seeing that was to question if they’re going to be a couple or something. More on that below. I also noticed that they changed the image of Naviga in the group shot. In the original OP2 animation, he appears to be part of the group, but here, he’s clearly off to the side of the building. It might have been an animation error, but it might have also been intentional if they didn’t want to give away his size.
Dan’s new opponent turns out to be very skilled, and Dan has to give it his all to avoid getting hit. He finally catches his opponent’s ball and is able to score a basket of his own, but his opponent responds with his own special move and basket. Impressed by it, Dan introduces himself and is surprised to find out that he’s been playing against a giant in a mechanized suit. The giant introduces himself as Naviga, so Dan decides to call him Navi. Back in town, Iceman destroys the arena and is found afterward by Falcon who had heard that he was here. Falcon reminds Iceman that this is the place where he lost his left arm and left leg, causing Iceman to remember how Price was the one who chopped them off. Back then, Iceman had been left to die and had been saved by Thousand. All this prompts Iceman to tell Falcon that he has to find the meaning of his existence and why he who was not chosen was called to the place where it started.
Elsewhere in town, Thousand comes looking for Miyuki and reveals that it’s actually Miyuki’s grandfather that she hates. She’s interested in Dan as the man of legend and shows the girls how to get to him by boat. Dan meanwhile is watching Naviga dig for something called Ultimite, and he gets the feeling that he’s met Naviga somewhere before, but Naviga doesn’t remember him. Dan then asks Naviga to play Basquash with him, but Naviga feels that he can’t leave, and to explain why, he takes Dan to a graveyard for his fallen comrades. His people were brought here from the moon to dig up Ultimite, but after hundreds of years, the poisonous Ultimite killed them all off, leaving only him now. Naviga thus feels that he has to remain here to protect their graves.
Dan, however, doesn’t understand this way of thinking and uses an example with his sister: he’d be happy if Coco visited his grave every day after he died, but he wouldn’t want that to restrict her and would tell her not to come so that she can live her own life. He extends this to Naviga and suggests that Naviga’s dead friends would be happier if he left this place to pursue Basquash. Right as Naviga seems to be coming around, their conversation is interrupted by the sudden arrival of the girls’ boat. Dan is thus reunited with Flora, Sela, and Miyuki, and the three are shocked – Sela especially – when Naviga introduces himself. Thousand then meets Dan, but before anything else can happen, Price’s Bigfoot shows up. Dan thinks that Price is a friend, but Thousand reveals that Price is a bounty hunter who’s responsible for what happened to Iceman. Telling Dan to die along with the legend, Price raises his Bigfoot’s sword to deliver a deadly blow.
So I wasn’t expecting the new character to be a giant, but it’s kind of cool that he is. I wonder if they’ll let him play Basquash because it seems like he’d have an unfair advantage in reaction time and agility on the court versus machines. Regardless, I assume he’s going to be a key player when Dan and company finally do make it to the moon and need a liaison to the moon giants or something. He also seems to have a move resembling the ball of thunderbolts that Dan has, and that plus the glowing Ultimite make the whole overarching legend plot even more interesting. The easiest prediction to make, however, is that Naviga will end up paired with Sela in some fashion. There’s every indication that that’ll happen, from the aforementioned shot in the new OP sequence to the way she blushed when she met him to how she’s accidentally flashing him in the preview for next episode. And who would have stronger genes than a giant? It’s really a perfect fit.
On a different note, I haven’t had too many complaints about the animation quality in recent episodes, but what was up with Falcon’s character design this week? I remember him looking lean and muscular, but now he’s just skinny and emaciated. Him dressing like a hobo now probably doesn’t help either. On the other hand, I did like how they animated Thousand’s left eye and the revealing effect of her glasses, and the overall animation quality was still pretty good this episode.
As for Price, I’m not surprised that he’s the one who cut off Iceman’s arm and leg, and there’s probably a good chance that Iceman will be the one who gets to defeat/kill him. Iceman might even make it in time to save Dan from getting killed, though that task could just as likely fall to Naviga. Either way, the preview indicates that Dan and company will be returning to the surface pretty quickly and reuniting with Haruka.