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Stage 3: The Third Man

 

Review by Peter Laliberte

January 1, 2007

 

Summary

 

On the moon, Raidiese F Branstein prepares to start up the Huckebein PT while Irmgult Kazahara and Kirk Hamil watch on. When Rai starts it up, the mech's Black Hole engine goes out of control. They try to override it, but it's no good. The cockpit compresses around Rai, crushing his hand. The engine then blows up, taking the base with it. Only three people survive this incident and it stands as an example of the dangers of EOT. Rai arrives at Izu and reports to Ingram. He introduces Aya and Rai questions why he was transferred, considering the accident. Ingram tells him they needed some one of his skills. Aya shows him around and Rai asks about the other pilot. They go to the simulator room where Ryusei is practicing. He shoots down virtual targets and Aya says he's good for a rookie. Ryusei exits and Aya introduces Rai. Ryusei mutters that they have a cool loner playboy type now and introduces himself. They shake hands and Ryusei asks to see Rai's skills. Rai says they're nothing to show off but Aya suggests it will be good for Ryusei to see. Rai gets in the simulator and takes out targets quick and effectively. Ryusei is amazed and Aya tells him he's the second son of the Branstein family, a prestigious military family. She adds he was a famous pilot in the United Colony Corps and he should be careful not to fall behind. They prepare for a mock battle against a tank corp, Aya and Ryusei in Gespenst Mark II Type TTs and Rai in a Schutzwald. Aya goes over their formation and Ryusei can't wait to start. Aya reminds him they're up against veterans, but Ryusei insists that tanks can't beat robots. The battle starts and they charge forward. Ryusei notices how slow Rai is and the tanks pull back. Ryusei charges ahead and Aya tells him not to break formation. He says Rai's the one lagging behind and the tanks will get away. The tanks fire and Aya trips. Rai suggests they fall back and a second group of tanks attack. Aya is hit in the shoulder and Rai tells her to retreat while he draws them away. He takes out a tank and the others pull back. Aya asks about Ryusei but Rai says it's already too late for him. Ryusei chases the tanks and wonders where the command unit is. He spots it on a hill and boosts towards it, but is caught in a pincer attack by more tanks. He tries to fire back but he's out of ammo. All the tanks open fire, disabling him.

 

Aya chastises Ryusei for his actions and he says he'll do better next time. Rai says it's impossible for him to beat tanks or even infantrymen. Ryusei argues but Aya tells him to go write an apology. Ryusei walks off and finds himself near the tank hangar. Two tank pilots ask him who he is and recognize him as the Gespenst pilot. They laugh at how he fell for their trap and figure he thought a tank could never beat a robot. They say amateurs always get killed and ask if he enlisted because he was told he'd get to pilot a cool robot. Ryusei denies it and they ask if it was to protect the Earth. They laugh at him when he says yes and say he should run back to his mommy. Ryusei throws a punch but is easily tripped. They start beating him up but Rai steps in. Rai says he's come to pick Ryusei up, but the tank pilots say they can't let him go for free. The captain of the tank squadron, Haruma, steps in and asks what's going on. The tank pilots try to explain themselves but Haruma tells them not to make fun of children and to return to their posts. They run off and Haruma says he'll forget what he saw. Before Ryusei and Rai leave, Haruma tells Ryusei he'll die in battle the way he is now and drag his teammates down with him. Ryusei tells Rai he'll make it up to him next time but Rai tells him that on the battlefield, there is no next time and one mistake could mean the end. Over the ocean, four Lion Armored Modules perform a test flight. One Lion lags behind and Sleigh Presty tells the pilot, Ibis Douglas, that she's sloppy and to report engine trouble and fall back. Sleigh wonders where the fifth unit is before they start a mock battle and Tenzan flies in. Sleigh tells him the battle hasn't started yet but he attacks the enemy fighters anyway. He easily out maneuvers and disables them. He says he can get used to this game and Ibis and Sleigh watch on in amazement. Alder Koch watches and comments that Tenzan is better than fully trained pilots. Bian enters and Alder gloats about Tenzan. Bian asks how production of the AMs is going, and Alder answers that it's right on schedule and the Federation doesn't have a clue. Bian tells him to send a Lion to scout Izu, much to everyone's surprise. Alder objects, saying the existence of the AMs will be revealed but Bian doesn't care. He leaves and Alder questions his decision. Tenzan reports he's taken care of the fighters and asks for a more enjoyable game. Alder says he'll grant his wish.

 

Commentary

 

This episode introduces the third member of the SRX Team, cold, level headed Rai. He's an experienced soldier who knows how things are, in contrast to Ryusei who's hot bloodedness gets him a serious ass whooping. From these actions, however, Ryusei is finally beginning to see what it really means to be a soldier. We get to see the Huckebein incident, which earned it the nickname "Vanishing Trooper" and took Rai's hand (he has a robotic one now). There's actually more to this 'accident' than meets the eye, but that's a story for another time. Surprise (pleasantly so) cameos go to Ibis, Sleigh and Tsugumi Takakura, who aren't supposed to show up until Original Generation 2. We also see where Tenzan ended up and now he's off to cause some trouble at Izu, where he'll no doubt run into Ryusei. We'll have to wait and see if it turns out like last time.

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Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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SRW OG Episode 3 SRW OG Episode 3

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Buy the collection (eps 1-26, OVA 1-3) on DVD from Amazon
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