All seems going to plan for Zorzal and Tyuule, while Japan is increasingly being held up with red tape, public opinion polls, and other nations. Itami and company though, decide to strike back at their infamous assassin.
While the Oprichnina (Zorzal’s Secret Police) and Rose Knights battle at the grounds of the Jade Palace, in Japan, PM Morita and Defense Minister Kanou discuss what is going on. Morita wants to rescue the Japanese citizens in the capital, but Morita doesn’t approve. With foreign delegates and the media currently in the Special Region, they cannot risk upsetting the current state of affairs. He places his trust on the Rose Knights in defending the Jade Palace.
He can’t approve of any operation that might be seen badly by the people and media back home, and tells them to wait a week. Once the foreign ambassadors and media are gone, they can do whatever they want. Kanou and his subordinate point out what could happen if they break through the knights, but the Prime Minister is still hesitant to unleash the JSDF in a rescue mission.
Back at the Jade Palace, the Rose Knights continue to hold off the Oprichnina. Sugiwara tries to lead Sherry away, but she refuses, preferring to watch the battle, as it was her actions that led to this. Sugiwara understands, now fully realizing what he’s done.
He doesn’t regret it, seeing that if he had turned his back on her, he’d had regret leaving her in the hands of the Oprichnina. Marquis Casel appears, having been rescued by the Rose Knights, informing him that no matter what path he’d taken, he’d have borne a sin regardless. He says those that look away from battle and choose humiliation will only find both in the end. A man can only choose to put up with a sin he can palate.
Another thing, under Imperial law, he is Sherry’s guardian, and will be Sugiawara’s father-in-law, surprising the two of them.
The battle concludes with the Oprichnina retreating, but the Rose Knights have taken casualties. While none of the female knights are seen injured or killed, the male component of the knights have a few deaths and injuries.
At Alnus, a journalist informs Noriko of the sloppiness of the JGSDF (ready reaction forces waiting to board their planes on the tarmac). He intends to show the ‘true nature’ of the JSDF to the Japanese people. The journalist refutes Noriko’s comment that they’re not slacking off, since she was saved by them and is naturally biased, even if she’s doing her best to be a neutral chaperone for the media team.
The journalist goes to inform her that it’s their job to be skeptical of the SDF’s activities, believing that Alnus and surrounding villages are just Potemkin villages made to look good for the press, and that they will never see the ‘true’ gritty side of the SDF by finding places where they’re not liked.
When Noriko points out that looking for bad press doesn’t seem very objective to her, the journalist informs her there is no such thing, and that it is not the media’s responsibility to see who the readers can trust, since what they’re doing is being part of a business.
Noriko is then called away by Nanami Kuribayashi, talking about how the French media team is having trouble with the locals, and the two rush over to help, leaving the journalist to continue taking pictures of the ‘un-disciplined’ rapid reaction forces.
Back aboard a Humvee, a JGSDF soldier explains the current situation to a bunch of foreign military officers. Explaining that the Empire has stalled the talks and is switching to guerilla tactics. One of the officers had asked for the distance between Alnus and the Empire’s capital, with the JGSDF soldier explaining that they had handed out maps (albeit devoid of most important information) to them.
When visiting the Alnus PX, they stumble upon a complete map with more information, but are beaten to the sale by the JGSDF officer, who happened to commandeer her fellow’s money in order to keep the information from falling into the hands of the foreign military officers.
Shifting back to Itami’s group, they arrived back at Rondel, having arrived because Lelei has her dissertation ready. She notes that if she drops her attempt at Master, they can avoid conflict. Rory and Tuka note that it doesn’t mean the assassins will leave them alone, and they continue on. At a balcony overlooking the street, three figures laugh ominously.
Later that night, the three figures sneak into their room. Itami tells Shandy not to open her eyes, and in a flash, the intruders unsheathe their knives and stab into the beds. Itami has anticipated this and rolls a flashbang grenade into the room. Shandy though had not listened is also caught in the grenade’s effects, while Rory knock out the three inn staff that had tried to kill them.
With the coast clear, they get an answer from the inn keeper. The three servants had been tricked when at a bar, and were shown that there was a bounty placed on Itami’s group, proclaiming them to be murderers. Grey notes that this is how the Pied Piper works, by manipulating people to do his bidding.
At this point, Hamsel, the innkeeper, asks forgiveness for his staff, noting that their motivation for their action was for the protection of the inn and its patrons. Rory mercifully forgives them, but as the owner, he should be educating them as to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
When offering to have them move to another inn, Lelei declines, noting that they’re safer where they are, a person who has been tricked ones is more cautious. Later, Lelei explains that the Pied Piper is probably looking for those who are easily swayed to murder, and is skillful enough to manipulate those into committing it. Itami points out that the Pied Piper makes it easy to find chuunibyou cases, and explains to Lelei that they are people whose thought patterns and values makes it easy to break their ‘locks’. Though he discourages Lelei from using it.
Lelei notes that those who were deceived once can be deceived again, and it’s best to narrow down their suspect list. They intend to use them as bait to lure the Pied Piper out. It would be hard, since they all know their faces, but Lelei points out that they don’t know Shandy (who had gone away when the servants were awakened to find some relief from the flashbang).
Later the next day, a huge crowd had gathered in front of the inn, where Grey informs Itami that when the bridges were repaired, a messenger came through with the news of the Fire Dragon’s head in display at the capital. The group turned into celebrities, primarily Lelei, who is attributed to the final kill.
Itami finds this odd. While Grey and Shandy already knew about this, but it had just become public knowledge. There happens to be more than one bridge on the river between Rondel and the Capital, leading Itami to say they were knocked out. This could only mean that something has happened in the Capital and don’t want them to find out. While they’re far beyond wireless range from the JSDF, Itami will try to get in touch.
Back at Zorzal’s palace, Zorzal and Tyuule demand answers from the Oprichnina’s head. Having no excuses on how his forces were defeated by women and old men, Luflus explains he already executed the leader of the band that had confronted the Rose Knights. Tyuule points out that Marquis Casel can’t be left to be free, and tasks the obviously fearing for his life subordinate to finish it.
Back at Piña’s palace, Hamilton briefs her while she takes a bath. While Bozes and Beefeater’s actions are in line with what the Emperor wants, with Zorzal in complete control of the Senate, they won’t accept that. Determined to make it to the Jade Palace, she is instead summoned by Zorzal’s henchmen to his palace.
Back at the Jade Palace, Bozes and Beefeater discuss their actions. As Piña’s subordinates, what they do can affect her. But so far, they are there to protect the palace, the treaty, and the will of the Emperor and the honor of the Empire. They are interrupted by one of the older men informing them that the enemy has returned. Shocked that those facing them down are members of the regular army, they ready their swords as Piña responds to her brother’s summons in his palace. While he doesn’t want to have any more bloodshed, he can’t let the fugitives go free. Promising to only demand the ambassadors leave until the political situation is stabilized, he asks if she would have her knights stand down.
Unwilling to hand over Marquis Casel, and that the knights have been tasked to defend the Jade Palace, Zorzal had expected this stubbornness from her. When she proclaims that the country is his, and is free to do what he wants with it. She says her farewell, intending to go to Alnus, but is placed under arrest by Zorzal.
Back in Japan, Morita is stresses them to wait until the foreign ambassadors and media are gone from Alnus. Kanou’s subordinate points out that they would not last a week, and there are members of the pro-peace faction at the Jade Palace. When Morita points out that he thought they weren’t supposed to take anyone in, Kanou states that it’s their job to clean up the messes caused by those in the field.
Morita seems to be more concerned about polls and public opinion in the lead up to the upcoming election, with Kanou’s subordinate stating that it’s their responsibility to be decisive when it comes down to making the right call.
Morita gives permission, but tasks Kanou to be the one to take all the blame. He is fine with this, and orders the rescue operation to go ahead.
Ah the ever-loving blessing and a curse that is public opinion. With the foreign ambassadors touring Alnus and the media snooping around, the folks are under greater scrutiny than before. Made worse by those rather pesky? Or annoying ‘journalist’. I have a little bit of an annoyance with Mr. “I’m-not-an-objective-journalist”, and it’s also a bit of a rant to the author. We get it, journalists now are highly biased and would like to portray anything they don’t like in a bad light. There hasn’t ever been an unbiased news report in media history.
What makes him rather annoying is that he doesn’t hide it. I’m guessing that comes from the author’s views. And while I can agree with him, that there are times where the media looks like it is deliberately looking for ‘bad angles’ to sell papers (a few things spring to mind), the way it is revealed is just too blunt, too open for me. And too shoehorned. He believes Alnus is a Potemkin village, that the JSDF doesn’t want him going to other places so they can only see the good.
More like they don’t want you to ramble on and get killed by the enemy. But I digress. The author has his opinion, and it doesn’t really sit well with me. Yes there is bias, and they can run people into rings around the truth, showing only what they want them to see, but I’d prefer if that had become a little bit of a small side plot rather than being tossed out there for Noriko (and this viewer) to be uncomfortable with. I agree with the author, but not in the way it was presented.
Granted the last time they tried to drag the JSDF through the mud backfired.
Regardless, I find more enjoyment in the episode when it deals with what’s going on in the Capital. Maybe yes, the focus is on Itami and the girls, but in terms of a more high stakes game, what Piña and her knights are doing is much more ‘on the line’ than what Itami is currently doing.
So with Piña under house arrest, Bozes and Beefeater unwilling to stand down, the restart of hostilities brought about by Sherry and Sugiwara’s decision has a more engrossing story than “running from assassins” that Itami is currently in.
I did like the scene with the foreign military officers trying to wheedle more information about the Special Region from the Japanese. It’s clear their intentions are not all that pure, no doubt with enough information, they can politically (or maybe even by force) make their way into Alnus to do what the Japanese are already doing. While not exactly the end all be all in detailed uniform wear, I think I can say definitely one of them is an American, the other is German, and another is Russian. The white uniformed officer is Royal Navy, while her colleagues (or fellow guests to be honest), behind the Russian would be I believe, Vietnamese People’s Army and the People’s Liberation Army from Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China, respectively.
That said, with Japan deploying its rapid reaction forces, I can’t help but wonder what the foreign visitors and media would think about Japan suddenly deploying paratroopers for operations.