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Episode 2: The Situation Beneath the Surface

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

August 18, 2010

 

Summary

 

Chidori stumbles out of bed and notices a flash from an adjacent building when she looks out the window. At Merida island, Kalinin and Tessa show the SRT footage of the Helmajistan operation and explain the details of the Lambda Driver. Known as the Hidden-string Repulsion Field Generation System, the Lambda Driver turns the mental thoughts of the user into a physical force. The soldiers laugh at the idea and Mao asks why Sousuke doesn’t use it if it’s installed on the Arbalest. Tessa replies that the Lambda Driver requires extreme concentration to utilize, and Gaulon’s ability to do so with ease is either through intense training or the use of drugs. Another soldier asks if they have other machines equipped with Lambda Drivers, and Tessa replies that there are currently no plans for that yet. The SRT start nervously muttering to themselves and Kalinin silences them by announcing that they’re researching other ways to counter the Lambda Driver. After dismissing the troops, Kalinin hands a report to Tessa from Sousuke. Tessa thinks that only having Sousuke and Wraith, another agent, guard Chidori isn’t enough. She wonders if they could have led normal lives had they both not been Whispered. At Jindai High, Chidori and Kyoko suddenly notice that electrical devices are shorting out and the students notice a commotion coming from the roof. Realizing the source, Chidori dashes to the roof and finds that Sousuke had installed a radar there. She quickly administers a beating and has the radar shut down. Later, Shinji brings to Sousuke’s attention a website displaying photos of Chidori. Sousuke tries to inform Chidori but Shinji stops him. An awkward moment ensues while Wraith watches from the rooftop of a nearby building. In Hong Kong, the Xia twins Yu Lan and Yu Fan discuss their master’s condition while showering, and note that they need to get more bandages. Yu Lan asks how long their master will live, and hugs her sister adding that she’s happy they met again. Their cell phone rings and Yu Fan picks it up, saying that it’s a job. Sousuke starts recklessly harassing anyone who approaches Chidori out fear of them carrying a hidden camera. This drives Chidori mad and Kyoko notes it’s the same as when he first came to the school. Chidori finds Sousuke snooping around the girl’s locker room with a sensor and the latter finds what he’s looking for. The camera is hidden inside the smoke detector but Sousuke’s rough handling sets off the sprinklers in the entire school. As usual Wraith is observing the chaos.

 

The twins along with an agent named Gates ride a helicopter through the Baltic nation. Gates deduces how the entire battle with Mithril went based on the tracks and dropped armaments, then drops his assistant into the river for constantly discrediting his analysis. The teacher once again scolds Sousuke for his recent blunder. Chidori tries to get an answer out of Sousuke for his strange behavior, but Shinji walks up and offers to explain everything. Gates meets with Maress in a stadium and the latter tells him that he won’t pay them anything because the technology they gave them was useless against Mithril. Maress has a squad of soldiers and a Mistral point their rifles at Gates’ group and tells them to scram. Gates taunts Maress and shoots him in the head. The soldiers open fire and Yu Fan uncloaks the Shadow she’s piloting and stops the bullets. Gates gives the order to kill everyone and Yu Lan starts slicing the enemy soldiers with a machete while Yu Fan stabs through the Mistral’s cockpit. Chidori is furious when she sees her photos online and demands the culprit to be caught. Sousuke traces the frequency of the transmitter on the camera he found in the locker room and determines the receiver is in the next classroom. Sousuke blasts a hole through the wall and holds a gun to the student he finds in the other room. Chidori smacks Sousuke with a chair for blowing up the wall and allows the student to escape. She orders everyone to give chase. Gates notices that all the enemies are dead and angrily asks how they will collect their money now. A soldier reminds him that they just followed his orders and gets shot in the head for his troubles. Yu Lan calls Gates stupid. Sousuke, Chidori, Shinji and Kyoko corner the student on the roof, and the latter threatens to upload a photo of Chidori picking her nose if they come closer. He reveals that this is revenge for losing the student council elections. Sousuke activates the radar and shorts out the laptop, along with every other electronic device in the school. Gates holds a gun to Yu Lan’s face and lightly bashes the nozzle against her teeth. He restrains himself and walks away, mockingly offering his condolences for the death of their master. The twins get a call from Leonard who tells them that he knows about their master and that they should keep a low profile. Sousuke interrogates the student about his photos, and Chidori asks if he was spying on her apartment which the student denies. Content with that answer, Chidori stops Sousuke from chasing after him when he escapes again, and wonders what it was she saw in the morning. Gates and his men fly back to their base.

 

Commentary

 

This episode jumps between the serious aftermath of Mithril’s intervention in the last episode and the usual high school comedy. Several new characters show up here. First there’s the mysterious Wraith who spends all his time watching Chidori from rooftops, then we have the Xia twins and Gates. While Gaulon was a calm and collected bastard most of the time, Gates is just outright crazy and has no problems capping his own people in the head or pushing them off of airborne helicopters. Tessa’s brother Leonard also makes a brief appearance when he called the twins near the end of the episode. There’s some weird fan service here. We got some gratuitous shots of Chidori’s pajama-clad bum, then jumped to full nudity with the twins having a shower scene and hugging each other, which I found a bit creepy. The other mystery of this episode is the twins’ master that gets mentioned a couple of times, though it shouldn’t be too hard to make a few educated guesses about his identity.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Buy the collection (eps 0-13, OVA) on Blu-ray from Amazon

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