Mei is still nervous around Yamato, as she ponders what his angle is. Asami is continually bullied by two “cool girls”, and Mei gets slapped standing up to them. Nakanishi, who always liked Asami, also defends her, and later tells her his feelings, and they start going out. Meanwhile Mei is curious about Yamato’s intentions with Arai, the only cute girl he hasn’t kissed. Mei goes to the Karaoke bar and sees Yamato outside. Yamato takes the opportunity to make his feelings clearer.
Kurosawa is the most popular guy in school and can have any girl he wants, even without asking in some cases. So the plain, introverted, taciturn Tachibana Mei has every right to rack her brain over the question: “Why does he seem to be pursuing her?” While she doesn’t quite get the thorough explanation Asami gets in Nakanishi’s confession (that was a quick, tidy pairing!), Yamato prefers to show rather than tell, specifically what kisses mean what. There’s a nice little moment when the initial tension between them is released, and Mei’s observation that the kisses tasted like fried chicken was both funny and poignant. Taste is a big part of a kiss.
Yamato can be an aggressive guy, as we see here, and he’s clearly more comfortable kissing someone than Mei. But the previously passive Mei is becoming more assertive by the day. Calling Yamato last week was an act of desperation (she needed rescue from a stalker), but this week she stands up for her friend (getting a slap for her trouble) and also decides to run out to the karaoke night she passed on to find out for sure what was up with him. She didn’t go there just to flee at the sight of him. If Yamato had left with the frisky Arai, well, that would’ve been that, but it turns out he wasn’t interested in Arai. But if Yamato is more than just a man-whore, he’s going to have to prove it to Mei, and not just with kisses.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
P.S. The OP’s a little dull, but nice. Simple, light and breezy.
Back in the Yukon, Yuuya and Argos Flight enjoys a welcome home party in which Yui cooks him the same niku-jaga his mom used to make. Their love-in is interrupted by Lt. Cui Yifei, leader of the Bao-Feng Flight, one of the many foreign TSF development teams that have been invited to the Yukon to participate in a tournament, the end result of which may determine if the XFJ program is scaled back or eliminated altogether. Inia runs off and Yuuya helps Cryska look for her, until his former squadmates Sharon and Leon Ruze show up.
Not a lot happening this week, more of a breath-catching respite after all the last arc’s excitement. Yuuya also exhibits how much he’s changed since the Soviet excursion, and indeed since joining Argo Flight. He’s a little wiser, a little more patient, and a lot more likable than the prick of yore. Yui is wrestling with the inconvenient but inescapable fact that she may have feelings for him, and even Cryska notices the change, as he volunteers to help her look for Inia, who’s always liked Yuuya.
The new characters we meet are more like the old Yuuya (and a lot like many of the Zhar Battalion eishis, who are all dead now). Cui Yifei calls him out at the bar and asks him upfront: “What’s your race?”, which is no way to greet someone. Yuuya takes the high ground, identifying himself as as “Japanese-American” for what we believe may be the first time. Then there’s his old squad buddies arrive, apparently to beat him at eishi-ing. We agree with Yui and Yuuya: this human-on-human “Blue Flag” tourney seems like a waste of time, considering the Beta are still out there.
Rating: 5 (Average)
Nishizumi Miho moves to Oarai and a new school, hoping to get away from tanks, because she has some bad memories of tanks. But the student council president insists she select Tankery as her mandatory elective, warning her she won’t be attending the Oarai school long if she doesn’t. Miho’s new friends Saori and Hana stand with her, but Miho ultimately caves and agrees to do Tankery after all.
When people tell you they won’t watch anime because it’s too kooky, this is kind of the stuff they’re talking about: for some reason, in the universe of this particular anime, operating tanks is a martial art for girls (and apparently only girls) with a long and storied history. You know, not rolling death machines that are easily taken out by A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. Also, the school, and the entire town of Oarai for that matter, occupy the flight deck of a gargantuan aircraft carrier.
If we asked the creators “Why?” they’d probably answer “Why not?”, not only because it’s the easy answer, but also because it happens to be the best one. Why shouldn’t high school girls operate tanks, and why shouldn’t towns be on carriers? No reason, except that that’s not the way things are in our world. In an anime, you can do whatever you want, so you might as well have girls in tanks…and propaganda films about same.
But take away all the talk of tanks, and this is just another ordinary high school series in which the new girl makes new friends and faces conflicts from rivals. And in that regard, the creators didn’t go far enough with the bizarre factor. Everything’s so…conventional, with the tank and carrier thing seeming a bit tacked-on. And Miho caves far too easily, despite her apparent (and unexplained) past trauma with tanks. Still, it was an enjoyable outing, and the tank animations were decent.
Rating: 5 (Average)
Car Tank Cameos: Are you kidding? We don’t know anything about armor.