After a combat training session in their tank, the girls are visited by Claus who brings orders from headquarters as well as the mail. Filicia then announces that they’re taking an excursion, and Rio explains that they have to check up on some old observation equipment near the border to no man’s land. The two of them assign Kureha, Noel, and Kanata to do the job while carrying heavy packs, and the weight is almost too much for the girls can bear. Nevertheless, the three make their way to the first location and are able to confirm that the equipment is still working. When they then take a break at a stream though, Rio secretly complicates things for them by stealing their compass and food. The girls thus abandon their packs and proceed using only a map, and they’re eventually able to find the second location. Just as they’re getting frustrated at each other while trying to find the final location, they come across it and discover that it offers a great view of no man’s land. Filicia meets them there and shows them how all the fortress maidens that came before them have carved their names on this observation outpost. She also shows them a hot springs nearby, and Rio greets them there with a helmet full of berries from a tree she had to fight a boar to get to. They all thus enjoy the hot springs, the berries, and Kureha, Noel, and Kanata carve their names into the outpost.
Even though it was pretty clearly a fake-out, the “combat” beginning of this episode was fun to watch. I have my suspicions that that’ll be the closest we’ll ever see them operating that tank in battle conditions. Actually, I still have no idea what direction the series is ultimately going to go in, and this episode continues the trend of having both serious/military stuff and more lighthearted slice-of-life stuff. I assume all the serious stuff, like the view of no man’s land this episode, is important, and I also wonder if the fact that there have been so many previous fortress maidens (who have all signed that observation outpost) means that maybe there’s some sort of cycle that they have to fulfill where the older girls have to sacrifice themselves or go off to fight, and the younger girls carries on to train the next generation. The writers don’t seem to be in any rush though, and next episode looks like it could be more fun material.