Kurst, formally an area known for its military industry, was reduced to rubble by the Jovian forces early in the war through use of a large weapons platform, which the UEF has codenamed ‘Walkingstick.’ Though many teams have been sent in to destroy it, none have made it back alive. And now it’s the Nadesico‘s turn. Yurika plans to destroy the target from a distance with the gravity blast cannon–a plan that everyone seems to be able to agree to. Unfortunately, as soon as the Nadesico clears a mountain range to line up their shot, the Walkingstick fires a blast which goes right through the distortion field, knocking the Nadesico into a crash landing. No one is harmed, but they are sitting ducks for the next attack. Inez doesn’t believe it will be able to fire for another twelve hours, so they’re safe for the time being. With few other options, Yurika plans to send the Aestivalises in on foot to destroy the Walkingstick before the Nadesico‘s time is up. Akatsuki is appointed the commander for this operation, and Uribatake fills them in on the large batteries they will be carrying since they will not be close enough to the Nadesico to recharge. As the five pilots wait for their Aestivalises to be equipped, Akatsuki tells them that a competent commander is the base for a successful operation. Akito mummers that it takes more than that, to which Akatsuki agrees–preparation and training are important as well. Akito tells him that’s not what he means–it takes teamwork. This gets quite a laugh out of Akatsuki, Izumi, and Hikaru, who immediately appoint Akito as quartermaster for this mission. As Akito’s Aestivalis is piled down with all the team’s equipment, Akito gets a private communication from Megumi, who wishes him luck, and tells him that if he makes it back, she’s sure that their relationship will advance. Before Akito can respond, he gets another private communication, this time from Yurika, who gives pretty much the same speech he just got from Megumi. He puts her on hold as well, when Ryoko pops up to tell him that Howmei has been trying to get ahold of him. Howmei informs him that she’s loaded him down with plenty of real food to supplement their rations–a first class cook has to be able to make anybody’s favorite dish at a moments notice, after all. As the group sets out, Uribatake and his deckhands yell after Akito how envious they are of him. A musical montage of their trek through the forest ensues.
That night, the Aestivalis team stops to eat and catch a bit of shuteye. After dinner (made by Akito), Hikaru and Izumi nap, while Ryoko sneaks off to bring Akito some of the food he didn’t get a chance to eat. Ryoko finally seems to be having a nice moment with him, when Akatsuki walks up behind them and ruins it. He suggests that it wouldn’t be a good idea for her to let herself be influenced by Akito. Akito obviously takes a bit of offense to that. Prompting Akatsuki to explain that people who like anime tend to disguise their shortcomings in relationships by saying their only interested in platonic love–he really needs to be more outgoing. Akito isn’t liking what he’s hearing, so Akatsuki corrects himself by saying that he shouldn’t imply that Akito’s bad at romantic relationships, seeing as how the captain and Megumi are all over him. Akito tells him that that’s not what he’s angry at–he just doesn’t like it when people put down other people’s hobbies. Before the conversation can escalate, the group comes under attack by a large group of old-style tanks. It seems that the Jovians took over them over to protect the Walkingstick from just this kind of attack. Though the Aestivalises have the technological advantage, they still pose a threat in such a large number. Akito counterattacks with his heavy artillery, but Akatsuki stops him, reminding him that Akito’s and Akatsuki’s heavy artillery frames are what they’ll need to take down the Walkingstick and to leave the tanks to Ryoko, Izumi, and Hikaru. Akito doesn’t like the idea of leaving the girls to take care of the tanks alone. As the action heats up, the stress finally gets to Akito and he opens up with the heavy guns. In the ensuing chaos, the extra battery packs are destroyed. After the battle, Inez contacts the Aestivalis team, telling them that according to her data, the next blast from the Walkingstick will be disastrous. While the previous blast when right through the ship and broke up in the atmosphere, the next one will surely hit land, resulting in a catastrophically radioactive explosion. Hoary orders Akatsuki and Akito go on alone with the girl’s batteries, leaving them stranded. Further down the road, the two are ambushed by a larger Jovian tank, while back at the campsite, Ryoko and the others are forced to deal with a surviving tank without the help of their Aestivalises. Fortunately, with Uribatake’s instructions, Ryoko is able to take out the tank with one of their remaining mines. Their victory is short-lived however, when Akatsuki calls in an emergency evacuation–it seems that the Walkingstick will be ready to fire sooner than they expected. Akatsuki and Akito dash for the Walkingstick with the Jovian tank hot on their heels, when suddenly, Ryoko and the others come crashing in riding a salvaged tank. Akatsuki decides that Akito will go for the Walkingstick, while he and the girls keep the tank pinned down. Ryoko rams her tank under the Jovian tank’s tread, lifting it up enough for Akatsuki to get a clear shot at it’s weak underbelly. Meanwhile, Akito makes it to the Walkingstick and starts unloading all his weapons. Unfortunately, since he wasted ammo earlier, he runs out of ammo before he can disable the Walkingstick. Fortunately, Akatsuki and the others arrive just in the nick of time to finish the job. With the Walkingstick disabled and the Nadesico safe, Akatsuki congratulates Akito on a job well done.
Nadesico has some great episode titles, but this one will always be my favorite. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for the rest of the episode. As the title suggests, this is a routine and very forgettable plot. Ryoko finally makes a move on Akito (which doesn’t get far) and Akatsuki and Akito manage to set aside their differences temporarily to work as a team. Beyond that, there’s not much else to this episode. The musical montage of the Aestivalis pilot’s grueling trek through the forest (with Akito always falling behind thanks to being overloaded with all their supplies) is pretty funny, but the second half of the episode doesn’t really manage anything horribly memorable.