「なお昏き深淵の底から」 (Nao Kuraki Shinen no Soko kara)
“From the Bottom of the Shadowy Abyss”
Well it sure didn’t take long to find out who the informant is within the Mobile Disaster Prevention Unit, as it was easy to pick up on the voice in the early parts of this episode — well before they made it blatantly obvious. At first, I thought the naked, faceless, sadistic blonde was a new character voiced by Sawashiro Miyuki (in barely comprehensible English), but then I quickly remembered that she’s already voicing Sakurai Ryouko. After making that connection, it wasn’t hard to see the similarities in their hair; however, just to be doubly sure that they’re the same person, I scanned the credits to see if our voluptuous blonde is listed separately. Turns out she’s not, which more or less confirms it.
The real question now is what Ryouko hopes to achieve as a double agent for Japan and (presumably) America. My growing suspicion is that she has a self-indulgent motive that stems from her obsession with her Phonic Gain research, which has no concern for country loyalty or even the fate of mankind as long as she gets to see the fruits of her labor. She’s made it clear that she’s using whichever country she’s dealing with, so she evidently doesn’t care about taking sides or even assassinating Defense Ministers who have helped them greatly. As such, I’m starting to think that “scientific vanity” wouldn’t even be too much of a stretch. It’s almost as if Ryouko wants to make her research public and be praised for it — something that she can’t do in Japan since it’s sworn to secrecy with anything involving Symphogears and just sitting on Durandal instead of trying to awaken it. In the process, she’s made a sexual plaything of the now named Kurisu — Yukine Kurisu if I’m reading her name in kanji correctly 「雪音クリス」. It’ll be interesting to see what Kurisu’ wish is, especially since she’ll endure being tormented to see it granted, as I already get the feeling that she’ll end up siding with Hibiki and Tsubasa once she learns it was nothing but a false promise.
As for Hibiki herself, I still can’t say I’m a fan of Yuuki Aoi’s singing — even though she’s probably trying to sing in character — but I do like how much she’s improved on the fighting side of things thanks to Genjuurou’s training. While the ending sequence last time was pretty goofy, the results speak for themselves. With this “new” Hibiki who’s taking things a little more seriously, I suspect she’s whom Kanade was referring to when she told Tsubasa that it’s up to her if she’s with her or not. Kanade did have an almost psychotic conviction with annihilating the Noise, so perhaps these lapses in Hibiki are from the remnants of her personality in Gungnir. In any case, as things continue to progress on both Hibiki/Tsubasa’s front and now Kurisu’ front, it does look like Ryouko’s going to be the “last boss” of the series.