For the most part, the special was just a bunch of shenanigans by the creator and some of the actors in Total Eclipse. There were some portions about the world, but most of which have already been covered in some respect. There was notable statistic though (included above in the second picture), which were the numbers on BETA force distribution:
「追い縋る十字架」 (Oi Sugaru Juujika)
“Cross to Bear”
The Argos Flight squadron’s back from Kamchatsky and it’s time for a breather… or not. In the world of Muv-Luv, if you’re an Eishi, there ain’t no such thing as a breather! At the most, you get the celebration party they get this episode, and then it’s back to work. And back to work it is, as it seems like our next arc will focus on TSF vs. TSF fighting (or in other words, company propaganda for profits). Just goes to show that in a world on the brink of destruction, there’s just no end to the petty quarrels and necessity for exclusive bragging rights.
And speaking of exclusive rights, there was a notable bit about the EM Radiation Cannon in this episode, which noted how the parts were returned in a few days. It’s a time period that made it impossible for it to be thoroughly analyzed… which in turn begs the question why it was returned in the first place. One wonders if they indeed found a way to get into the tech or whether not it’s a Soviet ploy to try and get eyes away from the fiasco that occurred back in Kamchatsky. I mean, there’s just no way you could blame the Soviets for instigating all of this for the cannon when they returned it immediately after… right? Maybe? Definitely not to us viewers though. Either that, or there’s the potential that the Soviets themselves have a nice toy they believe is superior. Hmmm. Food for thought indeed.
Moving back up to the TSF vs. TSF fights for a moment, I just have to say that there’s nothing like mock battle tournament where your test flight’s continued operation is at stake. Kinda reminds me of Macross Plus a bit, but alas, that’s a story for another time. In the meantime, it seems like this arc won’t have much BETA action, but at least that’s made up a bit by the official introduction of Lt. Cui Yufei and the arrival of some of Yuuya’s old “pals” from the US. The YF-22 Raptor’s in tow as well, and it’s gonna be a damn tough mock battle comin up, as the Raptor’s regarding as one of the most elite, all around TSFs in commission… providing equally effective anti-TSF and anti-BETA capabilities.
Still, all of this pales in comparison to what I feel was the most important part of the episode: the realizations and developments that have come from the Kamchatsky arc. For one, Yui’s starting to realize her feelings for Yuuya… at the same time that both Inia and Cryska are revealing their affections. And yes, I say Cryska too, because not only has she suddenly opened up emotionally (smiling for once!) to Yuuya, but seemed to have dragged him on a wild goose chase looking for Inia too. Of course, there’s nothing to confirm my suspicions, but I get the gut feeling that Inia’s affections for Yuuya are slowly rubbing off on Cryska too per their ability to “read colors,” and if it’s true, it’ll be interesting to see how the side plot of Yui vs. Cryska/Inia play out in regards to Yuuya.
And now that we’re on the topic of Yuuya, we can finally talk about the biggest development of them all, his acceptance of himself as a Japanese American. It’s been a long time coming, but Yuuya seems to have finally accepted the Japanese side of himself, along with the pluses and minuses it brings… and it’s just nice to see (for lack of a better phrase). This was definitely one of the better done aspects of the series (the whole “I’m American” then accepting that he’s also part Japanese thing) in terms of development, and it was just nice to see it culminate in this. Not to mention it was a bit priceless to see both Yui and Sharon’s reactions to this admittance, which goes to show just how far he’s come since he arrived as some pissed off and arrogant Eishi. Like Vincent says, Yukon’s really been great for Yuuya, and it really shows. He’s just a stronger, more mature character now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this change is the one that leads him to victory in the coming tournament, despite the Raptor’s presence.
All in all, a solid episode. After a two week break, it’s just nice seeing Total Eclipse again. And while there don’t seem to be any BETA on the horizon, it looks like we’ll at least get some nice TSF combat maneuvers and a more in depth look into various TSF models while we’re here on this arc. Until next week!
Author’s Note: Special thanks to Verdant for assisting with the caps and the insane amount of full lengths! < (^_^<) Sadly my hard drive borked yesterday, so I lost the caps I took moments before... along with my New York Comic Con 2012 pictures. But due to the magic of technology, I have recovered most of the lost NYCC pictures, so you'll probably see a post on that in the coming days!