「黒い潜入者」 (Kuroi Sennyuusha)
This was an episode about the Hagane crew resupplying in the Dukedom of Riksent and Kyousuke, Rai, and company serving as bodyguards for Princess Shine Hausen (Kaihara Reina), but the late arrival of Gilliam Yeager (Tanaka Hideyuki) and his Gespenst stole the show for me by reminding me of the Super Robot Wars 4 days. I still vividly recall the stage where Gilliam would suddenly show up in a slightly purple version of the Gespenst my main character was piloting (i.e. a Gespenst Mk.II Type-R), and destroy everyone with his Slash Ripper attack, which later left me dejected because he never joins as a playable unit. In any case, things got even better shortly afterward, when Kyousuke arrived in a temporarily provisioned Gespenst Mk.II Type-S and unleashed the Ultimate Gespenst Kick. In true super robot fashion, I just love how the system needed him to yell out the attack to execute it, regardless of how impractical that is. Now there’s something you won’t see in a Gundam series — a pilot screaming “Kyuukyoku! Geshipensuto Kikku!!!” at the top of his lungs. I got a good laugh out of how Kyousuke followed up that attack by saying that he’ll kick through any type of armor, which was an obvious play on words to his usual trademark line about piercing it. The whole serious yet-not-so-serious take on the robot genre is one aspect the SRW franchise that’s always appreciate as far as I’m concerned.
Story-wise, I like how things are progressing on several angles concurrently. It shouldn’t be all that surprisingly given how the first five episodes or so touched upon something new every week, but goes to show that none of that stuff was introduced without reason in the overall plot. Taking a backseat is Arado’s situation as he’s now confined to Hagane’s brig, while some ghosts of the past resurface for Rai when he comes into contact with Archibald during Neo DC’s takeover of the Earth Environmental Summit. This of course goes back to the Elpis Incident where Archibald made Rai’s older brother Elzam choose between saving the lives of all the colony inhabitants or his own wife Cattleya (i.e. his older sister-in-law). As a quick refresher, Elzam ultimately chose to save the colonists and kill Cattleya along with Archibald’s group of terrorists, causing Rai to break ties with Elzam and his family as a whole. Saying that he simply bears a grudge would be an understatement, as his first encounter with Archibald here showed. While the whole kidnapping princess bit may be a bit overused — especially in Shine’s case since she was kidnapped by DC before to take advantage of her precognitive-like ability — it was worthwhile for their encounter alone, though it didn’t hurt to have Shine protected by her beloved Raidiese this time around either. Other than that, there was a bit more on the Kyousuke x Excellen front, including a flashback to the shuttle crash during their cadet years where they were the only two survivors. I’m kind of wary on saying too much more than that for now, but will add that those two are going out despite what their behavior would lead most people to believe.
Finally, the last interesting bit came from the discussion with Ryouto Hikawa (Kobayashi Yumiko) about the R-Eins Personal Troopers that Neo DC deployed in the latest battle, which quickly became about the Grungust Type-3-like Thrudgelmir as well. Ryouto threw out the idea that they could have come from the future, but no one seems to suspect that they’re from another dimension just yet. During all that, Lamia’s been carefully observing them and how they’re getting closer to learning about the existence of Shadow-Mirror too, so I’m looking forward to see what happens when all of that comes to light. It’s kind of dumb how the good guys in SRW are always quick to take in random people they encounter or even previous enemies, but it almost always leads to most of them coming around at some point. In fact, it’s like a tried and true method, meaning that the possibility that a character will join the Earth Federation Army is never completely out of the picture. That is, unless you’re a character like Archibald Grims.