The Triton returns to Generation Bleu’s HQ in the Swiss Alps, a huge city-like complex forged from components recovered from scub corals. Nirvash is repaired, and Gazelle, Pippo, and Han are discovered in the hold. They meet with Bleu’s President Blanc and join the company. Fleur and Elena give Ao a tour, where he meets another team, Goldilocks, led by Bruno and composed of Maggie Kawn and Maev and Chloe McCafferty. Goldilocks are mobilized and are quickly ambushed by Secrets hiding in a hurricane. Pied Piper are called in as reinforcments.
This week is all about introducting the organization Ao has just joined, Generation Bleu. The episode does a good job sweeping him right into the middle of this strange, sprawling new place, aptly portraying how overwhelmed and unsettled he feels there. We’d even say he’s a little unwelcome at first, as the snobbish, entitled Elena and Fleur seem put-out having to babysit him. We meet yet more characters, including the three pilots of team Goldilocks (all girls), who are a little kinder to him. But the scene with Elena leaving Ao in the hall is pretty dire; as is Fleur constantly asking him “What are you doing here?” “Why are you here?” “What are you here to do?”
Yeah we get it, Fleur: you don’t like uncertain people. She has a military, no-nonsense way of doing things, and as for Elena, well, she’s in her own little world. But there’s one nice little moment that gives us hope: when Fleur helps Ao get into his suit. She may not be pleased that this green, blue-haired, wishy-washy guy is now a part of her team, but he is, she and Elena are going to look out for him. Maybe. Bleu is putting a lot of faith in the kid’s innate abilities and will, but with Goldilocks in serious trouble, they need all the pilots they can get. Here’s hoping his first official mission doesn’t turn him into a whimpering pile of angst.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
With her mother out of town for a couple days, Natsumi must juggle feeding Daiki, doing her homework, and practicing for an important doubles match against regional champs. Wanting to help, Yuka spearheads a wish that literally splits Natsumi into two people, so one of them can focus on tennis, while the other studies and does housework. When the day of the match arrives, Natsumi panics and makes lots of errors, until the wish wears off, and the Natsumi who got valuable advice from Saki merges with the other, and they bounce back and make a match of it. That evening the four friends attend a night festival where they place their wishes on a lantern.
Like body-switching, doppleganger episodes can be a lot of fun to watch, if done properly, as it was this week. The target of the cloning was Natsumi, who just happened to be in the middle of a week of hell which she might not get through in one piece…so Yuka helpfully wishes up a second Natsumi and presto, things are gettin’ done in Aizawaland. Her initial annoyance with the situation feels right, but so does her realization that having two of you has distinct advantages. Natsumi in particular was a good choice; she’s headstrong, stubborn, and proud, we always wondered how she’d interact with…herself. It’s bumpy at first, but eventually they get into synch.
As Saki tells her, Natsumi can also be single-minded to her detriment; by splitting in two she’s not only able to experience two things at once, but also focus on more than one single goal, in her case, winning her last mach with Saki. She gets advice from Saki as the other her tries to change up her game. Predictably, when she’s still split, the tennis match doesn’t go so well at first (we really enjoyed the graceful and powerful tennis animation, by the way), but thankfully the wish wears off just in time to save face and make the match close. All’s well that ends well, and Daiki never sees both Natsumis at once. Natsumi and Saki have also come a long way, which will make Saki’s eventual departure all the more painful.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Rea’s odd behavior culminates in her jumping out the window when she sees Babu; she follows him to a hygrangea bush, and the two return to normal. A momentarily lucid gramps explains the potion isn’t perfect; Furuya will have to perfect it if he wants to keep Sanka around. When his father spots her, he asks if they can shelter her; he agrees. Furuya begins carefully observing and documenting Rea, and takes her out for exercise, where she’s spotted by her father’s butler.
Like the resurreciton potion, this episode wasn’t perfect, but it did competently resolve many of Furuya’s more immediate problems. Rea was rotting and losing her humanity, acting more like an animal than a person, and keeping her a secret forever wasn’t going to happen. Once she’s done freaking out (which we’ll allow her under her circumstances), she takes the news pretty well, and while Furuya’s sister and father don’t know the truth, they at least know she exists, and Furuya won’t have to hide her. The fact his shriveled little grampa knows all about the potion – but only when he’s ‘having a good day’ – is a nice little twist that was hinted at last week. Did he write that old spellbook? Either way, we’re relieved Rea is herself again, if only temporarily.
But while those immediate problems were for the most part resolved, Furuya has other problems. Neither the potion nor supplemental hydrangea leaves will keep Rea animated indefinitely; so she’s still mortal in this regard. His initial attempts at close observation – following her body with his camera and such – was an interesting choice, considering her past trauma posing for her father. He’s not aware of her trauma, so we can’t call him insensitive, but we can call him an idiot for not being more careful with Rea out and about. The first night they do so, her dad’s butler spots them. This is a HUGE fuck-up in our books, and we don’t see a solution beyond their leaving home and going into hiding, because her dad has reach, and isn’t above ruining Furuya’s family to get to him and the treasured daughter he abused and killed.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)