「赤とんぼの風来坊」 (Akatonbo no fūraibō)
“The Vagabond Leader”
I see now why Allen was shot down. Yes, it was because any plane that flies too close to the holes are fired upon by the Shiden-kai fighters, but also because if somebody didn’t nerf him, the mystery of the Yufang would have been solved by now and this series would have ended early. Adding on to that, is it my imagination or is he too young to be downing sake from a flask?
As hinted at previously, Kirie had some serious thinking to do this episode. Loulou presented her with the option of joining Isao’s company, which would have let her fly as much as she wanted in even nicer planes than the Kotobuki Squadron could provide, but in the end, she decided that there are some things even more important than flying, such as the bonds of friendship… and surrogate grandfathers. When Kate’s brother asked her what she would do if she could ever pass through the hole, the first thing she mentioned was finding Ol’ Sab, which was sweet to hear. This show has proven time and time again that it is aware of its continuty, so I’m sure the pay-off for Kirie’s flashback will be coming along the line.
For the most part, this was an episode about building tension. Isao and his company are bombing cities that refuse to join the Brotherhood of Freedom Union, making him definitively a bad guy in my book. With their intolerance for dirty dealings, the Kotobuki Squadron are certainly on a collision path.
Since Kirie told Kate’s brother that all of the Zero model 32 planes were fakes, it seems it’s been confirmed that the aircraft made in her world were reverse-engineered from the planes of Yufang. Now, Kate’s brother has been doing research on the Yufang for long enough that he’s formed a hypothesis. According to him, the portal has opened and closed since the Yufang arrived seventy years ago, which could mean that more aircraft, weapons, or even more people slipped out. Though his research was stolen, Kate’s brother has proven himself to be extremely knowledgable of aircraft and quick on his feet during a dogfight. Basically, I wouldn’t say I’m worried about him. My hope right now is that either him or Kirie manages to get through one of those holes someday and finds out what’s waiting on the other side.