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)