Okay, so…admittedly, I’m incredibly crunched for time so I wasn’t able to review these episodes separately like I wanted to. So I’ll be reviewing episodes 16 and 17 this week. Hopefully this won’t feel as rushed as I think it will… On with the reviews!
In episode 16, we obtain quite a bit of plot-altering information both about Shu, GHQ and the Voids. It starts off with Argo and Oogumo in a helicopter getting orders from someone to retrieve Arisa from the school and bring her to the meet-up point. Turns out, Arisa’s grandfather has struck a deal with an ambassador from Korea that he would give his only granddaughter and heir to him as a bride in exchange for his cooperation in speaking on behalf of Japan in the upcoming UN meetings. With their mission given to them, they head for the school and Argo is given the task of infiltrating the school and retrieving Arisa. On his way there, he runs across several students from Shu’s school ganging up on a poor girl from another school and trying to steal the medical supplies that she was able to gather. Argo eventually steps in and saves the girl’s life, though his own life is only spared by the Undertaker logo on his jacket. Argo and the girl are taken to the school where he’s presented in front of Shu, who has taken to wearing Gai’s old coat and a scarf (apparently the scarf is a symbol of his authority as well as his right-hand man). Argo is surprised to see Shu, though he also acknowledges that Shu has changed since the last time he saw him. Yahiro ushers Shu out of the door, saying that they need to visit the docks and Argo follows them. As it turns out, Shu has implemented the Void ranking system and those who are Rank F are basically manual labor who are forced to scavenge underwater for medication and other supplies. As a way to get them to cooperate, Shu has denied them their medication to keep them from developing the virus, so a lot of them are starting to sport the purple crystals that are classic signs of someone developing the cancer. Argo is disgusted by this turn of events, especially when one of the people manning the oxygen tanks starts to become alarmed because Souta’s machinery malfunctioned and he’s in danger of drowning. They scramble to find the spare oxygen tank, but Shu orders them to stop because Souta has a spare oxygen tank on his diving suit and it’s up to him to find it and save himself. The students are terrified to move, but Argo isn’t so he tells Shu to shove it and hooks up the oxygen tank to the machinery, effectively saving Souta’s life. As expected, this pisses off Shu and he uses a nearby girl’s Void (which is a rather mean looking scythe) and orders Argo to follow his orders. Argo declines and Shu orders his secret service agents to escort him to the prison and to not let him get in touch with Arisa.
Meanwhile, we see Haruka working on that project of hers and Keido comes out and asks her why she’s doing the work when it puts her son in danger. Haruka says it’s a way to punish her son and continue the work of her late husband, which makes Keido chuckle. Even though she says it’s a way to punish Shu, I have a feeling that there’s more to it than that. We also see the blond guy from the end if the first arc (the one who was attempting the marriage between Keido and Mana) pick up one of the rings that we thought was lost. We have no idea what he’s planning on doing with it, but I have a bad feeling about it. Back at the school, Argo is imprisoned in a holding cell and Tsumugi is able to get one of her robots to him so she can fill him on on what’s going on. Of course, Argo is furious at what he hears and goes to make an effort to break out of the cell and get to Arisa before the school makes it’s mass exodus. While Argo formulates his escape plan, we see Shu and Inori in a room filled with flowers and it seems as though this is the only place where Shu can be himself anymore. He expresses his worries to Inori, but his small haven is interrupted when he hears word of Argo escaping. He sets his secret service into action to capture him again, but something seems to be off about the mood of the school. It appears that there’s a rumor spreading about Hare’s death and how it had to do with her Void being destroyed, though Yahiro has told everyone that it’s a new genetic/bio-warfare being used by GHQ. Shu seems to have his doubts about the validity of the new bio-warfare, but he’s grasping onto anything at this point to ignore the obvious. Argo gets cornered in the theater by Shu, Yahiro and the girl they captured at the beginning of the episode (she joined the secret service as well) and a fight ensues. Something happens that causes the roof to collapse and Shu tackles the new secret service agent, but she drops her Void and it’s crushed by the scaffolding. Because her Void is destroyed, the same thing that happened to Hare happens to her and she dies in a matter of seconds. This stuns Shu and Argo, though Yahiro doesn’t seem phased (also, I feel it necessary to mention that Arisa was able to escape her room and witnessed the whole thing). Shu turns on Yahiro and demands to know why he kept that information from him, but Yahiro says it was simply because he knew that Shu wouldn’t be likely to use the Voids if he knew the truth. While their argument is going on, Arisa scrambles to get out of the theater before it’s on lock-down so she can get the word out to the students. Argo starts fighting with Shu, but Shu simply draws out his Void, which makes him unconscious and he starts to laugh like a deranged man about the fact that he is literally holding Argo’s life in his hands. Meanwhile, Arisa is in the radio room and attempting to get the PA system up and running so she can warn the students, but Inori suddenly appears behind her and then blood splatters the mirror behind Arisa. Elsewhere, we see Haruka and Keido standing in front of something that’s glowing as something emerges from it; the only thing we see before the episode ends is a bare chest and a silver necklace with a cross on it.
The next episode starts off with several student who are supposed to be keeping a look out for rebels and GHQ becoming worried about how close the red line is starting to get to the school. Of course, Shu and Yahiro show up and Shu scolds them for not paying attention to their job and even threatens them with harm via Void if they won’t do their job. Terrified, the group of students get back to their job, but not without feeling resentment towards Shu. Back in his student council office, Shu is putting together their strategy for the Exodus and Yahiro asks him if he’s ever going to sleep. Shu says he won’t be able to, not with the Exodus so close to being executed and that it’s not what Gai would have done. Yahiro asks whether Gai would have threatened his subordinates to get them to do what he wanted, which irritates Shu but Yahiro continues to point out that resentment is growing amongst the students and that he needs to be careful of what he does and says should he want the plan to go off without a hitch. Shu says that he doesn’t care what they think because he knows that the students want to be as safe as possible as quickly as possible and that even though the students who resent him are the ones who probably attacked Arisa, there’s no going back now. Of course, Shu’s comment about Arisa hits a nerve with Inori and she appears to be scared of herself, but that’s nothing compared to Arisa. She’s curled up in her bed, shaking like a leaf and continually thinking about how Inori pinned her hand to the mirror behind her in the PA room by using the crystals that Mana used to attack people. It appears that Inori doesn’t have any knowledge of the attack, but she keeps seeing glimpses of it, almost like Mana had possessed her somehow. While Arisa is terrified of Inori and she’s mumbling about things, her cell phone rings and she almost seems relieved to find out who it is that’s calling her. Of course, the man guarding her door hears her talking to someone and enters, forcing her to give him the cell phone and/or tell her who she was talking to. At first, Arisa resists, but then she realizes that it’s futile and she needs to do something to accomplish her plans. In this case, it’s selling her body for information. Because of this payment, Nanba tells his friend to go ahead and post the information about the Voids that Shu is trying to hid from them on the school network and everyone almost immediately finds out about it. Of course, this causes distrust of Shu and his organization as well as unrest amongst the students, but Shu doesn’t seem to notice it since he’s so absorbed in getting the Exodus to happen.
Shu and Inori spend one final time in their safe haven and Inori confesses that she thinks she’s the one who hurt Arisa but she can’t remember what happened. Yahiro enters the room, having obviously eavesdropped on them, and Shu tries to protect Inori from a trial by her peers by saying that she doesn’t even remember doing it. Yahiro shouts at Shu, saying that they can’t play favorites and that he’s too attached to Inori. Shu seems to snap and starts calling Yahiro ‘Sugar’ again and says that they were never really friends to begin with. He then draws out Inori’s Void and threatens Yahiro with it until the other boy leaves, but there’s obviously going to be something bad going on and soon. Again, we see Arisa selling her body to Nanba for intelligence and he gives her a list of all of the students and their Voids before asking what she’s planning on doing with it. She tells him that she’s planning a coup and that she’s going to bring down Shu and his organization if it’s the last thing she does. That night, the school prepares for the Exodus and everyone seems to have gotten orders from someone about what they’re supposed to be doing, though they also appear to be following Shu’s orders. For now, anyway. Everyone gets loaded up and Tsumugi and Ayase are in a broadcasting vehicle, relaying information to the others about whether or not there’s enemies up ahead or not. They make it to Tokyo Tower before they’re ambushed by the enemies they knew would be there and all of the students begin fighting, though there’s also a lot of casualties. Shu starts to wonder if he was really just using them as glorified decoys, but tries to push the thought to the back of his mind. He draws out Inori’s Void and joins the front lines, carving a path to the tower where he is able to disrupt the signal to the red line as well as the Endlaves, which is going to allow them to escape Loop 7. At first, everyone seems pleased with him, but then three people tell him that his need is over and they’ll take it from there. Shu is confused and doesn’t notice Souta coming up behind him and pushing him into a crater caused by the explosion of the tower. Arisa reveals her plans to usurp power from him before realizing that someone is standing behind her. Instead of fearful, she seems relieved to see the person standing there. As Inori runs to Shu, she’s suddenly impaled by a sword and we find out that this person who is taking over is Gai! Somehow he’s been brought back from the dead and he seems pissed. He approaches Shu and yanks the sword out of Inori (though she’s not dead, so maybe it was her Void?) and slices off Shu’s right arm, releasing the King’s Mark and allowing Gai to gain the power. Shu collapses, though he still can’t seem to process what happened to him between the shock and the blood loss. Gai makes the comment that Shu wasn’t meant to be king; only he was and he’s come back to take on that role.
Opinions: Well…damn. Shit has hit the fan and I’m really eager to find out what happens next. I have to admit, I never saw Arisa as the type of person to sell herself for intelligence, but I suppose that desperation will cause all sorts of people to do things that they would never do normally. I kind of saw the coup coming since Shu was using scare-tactics to keep everyone in line and it had to end sometime. The fighting scenes were done extremely well as per usual, though I think the big shock of the two episodes was seeing Gai back from the dead (and obviously changed) and what he did to Shu. I have to wonder if Shu is even going to be able to survive that and what he’s going to do to fight against Gai if he does somehow survive. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how this all plays out, that’s for sure!
Overall score: A/A+
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