「誘う鬼火」 (Izanau Onibi)
Even with the foreshadowing on Daitetsu’s inevitable fate and the fact that I knew it was coming, it had a lot more impact than I imagined. I got a little choked up during the final send-off, especially when Kyousuke showed up in his bruised and battered state to pay his respects. It was more than enough to overshadow Excellen’s fate with the Einst anyway. After all, seeing Alfimi brainwash her with a kiss was more fan-service than anything else, even though it did set things up nicely for the latter half when Kyousuke was frantic about saving her. It doesn’t look like he’ll be able to do so anytime soon, so in that sense, the extra build-up towards that moment was appreciated.
After a bit more backstory on Sophia Nate (Doi Mika), I like the direction the story’s taking with our heroes finally taking the initiative by investigating the Earth Cradle, where Archibald, Feff, and Setme have been manipulating lives and pulling the strings from the background. It feels like they’ve been strung along all this time after Grusman seized power of the Earth Federation, so it’s refreshing to see all of them, as well as Yuuki and Carla, decide for themselves on what to do next. However, I was surprised to see Shuu Shirakawa (Koyasu Takehito) show up, and be in the same room as Masaki no less. If there’s any reason to believe that the Hagane, Kurogane, and Hiryuu Custom crews won’t proceed sabotage-free from now on, he would be it. There was no sight of his Granzon, but Axel of all people comes back in style with his repaired Soulgain, complete with his “Dark Knight” theme. That had to be for fans of the game though, since it’s clearly losing sight of who the good guys are in the story.
There wasn’t too much else to take away from the rest of this intermission-type episode, where everyone on the Earth Federation and Inspector/Shadow Mirror sides recomposed themselves and decided on where to go from here. The next episode is a different story though, as it’s finally addressing the Choukijin we saw all the way back in episode two. In hindsight, it sort of makes sense to have them show up again now, after the Einst have established their presence with dominating numbers. In any case, Bullet and Kusuha are due for a Grungust upgrade, namely RyuKoOh seen in the opening sequence and its alternate form, KoRyuOh. Robot upgrades are always the highlight stages in the games, much like they’ve been in this adaptation, so it should be fun to watch.