「祭ノ準備」 (Matsuri no Junbi)
I can’t quite make head or tails of Izumi’s true intentions given how he manipulated Uzume yet gave Minato the 72GB memory card containing all the data on Chiho’s condition, but I’m still leaning towards the idea that he’s up to no good. If I were to give him the benefit of the doubt for his recent sign of compassion, I would say he was simply thrilled to learn that another Ashikabi dares challenge him when Matsu hacked his companies’ computer systems. However, it’s probably safe to say that isn’t the case, even if he claims he was only respecting Uzume’s resolve to do anything for Chiho and never planned to have her terminated. Based on what happened this episode, giving Minato the data and blaming everything on Minaka seem to be part of an elaborate plan to infiltrate M.B.I. headquarters, a.k.a. Teito Tower, and steal something from them. Of all people, Seo turns out to be the one he’s hired for the task, while Minato is unknowingly acting as a diversion alongside his Sekirei, after learning there’s no cure for Chiho’s condition with current medicine but one might exist with M.B.I.’s advanced technology. The real problem is that Minaka’s caught wind of Minato’s intentions by tapping his phone call to Takami and has made a game of it.
On paper it’s as simple as getting to the top of Teito Tower, except Minaka’s invited all the Ashikabi without any kills to try and stop him if they want to save their own Sekirei. What’s more, the promise of a prize to the group that actually stops Minato has piqued Hayato‘s interest enough to participate, which compounds problems with the Disciplinary Force waiting inside. Now I know I’ve said Minato is one of the powerhouse Ashikabi, but him against the world is a bit of a stretch even with the recent addition of Kazehana and Homura. Matsu looks like she came up with a clever plan by targeting the computer system and taking down the security systems, but sneaking around in broad daylight is pretty difficult when M.B.I. invoked martial law and ordered all civilians to stay indoors. Incidentally, there wasn’t a whole lot of fighting on Minato’s front thanks to Nishi coming in and stirring things up, leaving most of the action on Matsu, Homura, and Kusano’s end. I actually thought they left off on a pretty good cliffhanger with Homura succumbing to the combination attack between Akitsu and Hayato’s fog Sekirei, No.65 Taki (Takahashi Ao), but the preview quickly killed the suspense by showing him no worse for wear.
It almost seemed too convenient that Minato, Musubi, Tsukiumi, and Kazehana slipped into the tower with ease afterward, but most of the episode did play out as a setup one like the title suggests. The real fun looks like it’s going to start next time once Karasuba joins the “festivities”. From the sound of the preview, all hell’s going to break loose free-for-all style as a result, which I believe marks the first time there’s been a battle of this scale. Unlike the first season, episode twelve isn’t the end, so it looks like we’ll have a couple more to go to resolve this arc on Chiho. From the look of things, this will likely be what Pure Engagement concludes around.