Interesting. Very interesting. It was a shopping episode that furthered the plot that few other anime’s shopping episodes manage to do. I’m going to quote a friend, but:
“[I]t might still be a conspiracy, but not the kind we thought it would be.”
Several days after their encounter with I-201, the Harekaze is sailing along, still headed for the port of Yokosuka and the school. In the storage area, two of the Logistics personnel, C/Damage Control Chief Wazumi Hime and C/Damage Control Personnel Aoki Momo are taking stock of their supplies. While they do have enough provisions to last, Momo notices an empty box.
Back aboard the bridge, Shiro suggests trying to go as fast as possible, much to Shima’s agreement and Mei’s annoyance. Kouko interprets the scene properly with her one-woman play, between Shiro’s impatience and Mike’s concern over the Musashi. At this point though, Momo and Hime appear declaring an emergency.
Having the entire class meet in the main classroom aboard the ship, Momo and Hime declare that a study has shown that Japanese women use 12.5cm of toilet paper a day. Considering the nature of their training, they were given 250 rolls of toilet paper just in case. Unfortunately, they’re all out of toilet paper. An uproar ensues, with girls coming forward to explain their sins before them, with Mina being so weird to blame the softness of Japanese toilet paper for her overuse, with Minami calling the whole thing a fruitless war of words (and Shima playing with Isoroku).
Shiro asks Mike to do something about this, and Mike asks if there is any other item that they’re in short supply of. After getting some answers, Shiro says she’d like to replenish their supplies. While ammo and fuel are obtained through the school, Mike wants to maintain a steady supply of food, medical items, and everyday provisions. Rin is a bit apprehensive, not wanting to meet other ships even with the no-engagement rule up, and Momo notes that buying supplies in line would just give away their position. Mei recommends shopping, while Shima pulls up Kouko’s tablet to show an off-shore shopping center.
While the girls dream of the shopping excursion, and of the little things they forgot, Shiro reminds Mike that a ‘fun’ shopping day isn’t feasible given their current situation. Though C/Accounting Chief Toumatsu Mimi brings up another point. They’re rather poor.
While Mike asks for donations to the toilet paper fund. Many give what they can, though some, like Kaede only has check, Kouko has Zimbabwean money, and Mina has Euros (apparently a wordplay that makes her speak like an old man…may be wrong). With the combined funds, Mike, Minami, C/Supply-Artillery Ops Irako Mikan and Hime leave on the jet skis to the shopping center, with Minami informing them to keep a low profile and not buy unnecessary items.
Arriving at the futuristic floating supply station (more like a little outpost/outlet mall), they go shopping, with the folks on the Harekaze going about their daily chores or hanging out. At the side of the ship, C/Torpedo Personnel Matsunaga Ritsuko and Himeji Kayoko start bringing up debris floating nearby, possibly from the offshore outlet mall.
The engineering crew are lounging, with Chief Maron sleeping below decks, and others seemingly nodding off. Seeing this opportunity, Shiro leaves, trying on Mike’s cap and pretending to be captain. Hiromi catches her in her flight of fancy, reminding us that she wanted her to be the captain. Shiro brushes this off and asks what she needed. Hiromi tells her that Mina wants a tour of the ship, which she agrees. Elsewhere, the Engineering crew and some of the cooks are snacking, and talk about their predicament.
While they fear suspension or being expelled, C/Engineering Personnel Wakaseo Reo thinks otherwise, since Shiro is the principal’s daughter. She is the trump card for them. Reo though wonders why she’d be aboard the Harekaze and not the Musashi, a stickler for the hard-working and intelligent, yet unlucky Mashiro. Her companions, Mina and Hiromi notice this, and tell them to cut the chatter and get to work while Shiro stays around the corner away from view.
Later, it seems Ritsuko and Kayoko encounter something, an air-package box. Bringing it aboard, thinking there might be magazines inside, a small furry creature instead escapes from its container and the box and runs off. Isoroku notices and gives chase, knocking over Shiro.
Back at the floating outlet mall, it seems that Mike won a lifetime supply of bath tissues due to her amazing luck. Wondering how they can bring it ‘home’, the person at the booth says they’ll deliver it, leading to an emergency meeting. While they discuss this, they are observed by Blue Mermaids officers, and bringing back as much as they can, are apprehended, with the patrol reporting into their commander, Shiro’s sister.
As the sun sets, the Harekaze is encountering rough seas, with the bridge crew wondering where the shopping crew had gone off to. Isoroku comes back with his catch, the hamster/rat thing, which is instantly doted upon by Shima. While Shiro objects, Kouko says they should take care of it until they find its owner.
At this point Noma spots the supply ship Mamiya, repair ship Akashi, and two escorts heading towards the Harekaze. There sitting ducks, with no captain and with the boiler not lit, they can’t escape. Though it seems that the Harekaze jet skis are with the four vessels, followed closely by the Blue Mermaid boat with Mike aboard her.
The situation is tense as they approach the Harekaze, surrounded on all sides by the four vessels. Mina makes it to the bridge, just in time to be informed that Mike had returned, the two jet skis followed by a Blue Mermaid patrol boat. Realizing they might be arrested, Shima suddenly blurts out that this was no time for curry, startling everyone on the bridge. Her change in demeanor is noted by all, though Mei seems to be more liking this ‘attack everything’ Shima.
With the no-engagement rule in effect, Mei and Shima attempt to restrain the crazed Artillery Officer, who shoves them away, before leaving the bridge in all fours with Mina in chase. Displaying insane agility, she makes it to single-gun 25mm mount and fires upon the Mamiya and Akashi before being thrown overboard by Mina, who realizes her mistake afterwards.
The rough seas tosses her back aboard with Mina hugging her, glad she’s safe though Mei was quick to point out the word she used for her isn’t necessary. Kouko though realizes that the small furry thing was in her pocket. Mike calls from the Blue Mermaids patrol boat to say that the Mamiya and Akashi have arrived and are helping them. Shiro reacts to this by noticing the signal flags on the Akashi (which a quick google-fu indicates that Akashi is signaling for them to stop and watch their signal, and that they are coming alongside, and the top pennant being the naval flag for the number 2).
Later the next day, near a safe harbor, the Harekaze, Akashi, Mamiya, and the supply/repair ship escorts are anchored, and Mike introduces the Maritime Safety Support Department’s Safety and Oversight Office’s Inspector 2nd Class Hiraga. Noting this, Shiro apologizes and asks if she’s with Mashimo Munetani’s department. She ansers in the affirmative, and says her sister had asked to make contact with the Harekaze (much to Mike’s amazement).
Hiraga notes that while most of the MSSD believes the mutiny story, her office thinks otherwise, and Mike had explained what had happened, seeing that it was a clear-cut decision in self-defense. Asking about Shima, Mike explains they have her confined, and she is spending her confinement sorting the toilet paper, with Mei having joined her, and congratulating her shooting, having a new opinion on her fellow combat chief. Shima though wonders why she attacked the ships in the first place.
At this point, one of the cooks comes in with curry for both, having been told of her fondness for the dish. Shima returns to her shy self, though Mei gives her thanks for both of them. Up top, Mike apologizes to the captains of the Akashi and Mamiya, noting that a quiet girl like her would never attack like that, though they think she may have been under a lot of stress. The Mamiya’s captain, C/Captain Yui Fujita said they were supposed to meet after the exercise, so they are unsure of the situation.
Asked why they were helping them, it was apparently an order from Principal Munetani, and Inspector 2nd Class Hiraga had requested said it was out of place for the Harekaze to attack the Sarushima and the I-201. With Inspector Furushou having recovered from her coma, it seems that they would get to the bottom of this mystery soon. Going to interview Shima who fired on the Akashi and Mamiya, she leaves the captains of the two ships to their duties.
Mike thanks Shiro, noting that due to her mom’s belief in the Harekaze, they’ve been cleared of suspicion, which Shiro notes it was always her mom’s way. Reacting to the nickname of the Blue Mermaids (Blumers, similar to bloomers), she reacts angrily at the shortened form. Her anger turns to fear as she notices the two cats nearby, pets aboard the Mamiya and Akashi. C/Captain Sango Sugimoto notes that it’s quite easy to get a rat infestation on a supply ship, so they have cats to counter that. Shiro’s phobia of cats overtakes her and she runs, with the two new cats giving chase, and Mike not realizing her hatred of em, rather calling it lucky she’s well-liked by cats.
Back at Yokosuka, Principal Munetani converses with her daughter Mashimo, who reports her subordinate’s findings. Having filed a report to the MSSD, they still believe that there is a dangerous element aboard the Harekaze, with some thinking the Harekaze’s crew should be detained before reaching the school. Mashimo warns her mother that if anything were to happen to the Harekaze, her position will be in jeopardy. Mayuki tells her daughter that she shouldn’t worry about her, but notes that something extremely fishy is going on.
While the Harekaze is being fitted out and restocked, Minami and Kouko look over the furry pet. Having failed to find its owner, they will keep it, though Minami notes it isn’t a hamster, and will investigate its origins. Back topside, Mike explains that the Akashi had spare 10cm/65 Type 98 Naval Guns in stock, and appropriately upgraded the Harekaze to the faster firing and more potent weapons. Kouko is ecstatic with Shiro being more at ease with the better weapons.
Sango comes over and gives Mike a USB drive with all the repair work they’ve done on the Harekaze, and notes they’re off to the Musashi. She says that the Musashi’s beacon had been deactivate, and they’re off to find her and investigate as well, leading Mike to ponder on her friend’s fate. Speaking of which, the Musashi is seemingly sailing in a fog bank somewhere.
That was a very interesting shopping trip. There is definitely a conspiracy, but talking with friends on Skype has indicated a source of these sudden mutinies. I made the case, seemingly supported by Sumeragi, that there is some sort of ‘virus’ or something of the sort infecting the ships of the Yokosuka Girls Maritime High School.
The scenario I put forth was whoever was in charge of the conspiracy could’ve smuggled aboard these especially bred rodent-like creatures on the ships, leaving only the Harekaze uninfected. Noting the usage of supplies, they could’ve been placed discreetly in their stores, specifically ones being used within a day (allowing the training flotilla to make it to the exercise area). Instructor Furushou didn’t exhibit the rodent-like redeyes or going on all fours, though I reckon she is into the whole conspiracy and was the leader that held the other ships back and only letting the Sarushima take the hits.
There were none aboard the Akashi and Mamiya, no doubt due to the presence of the cats, though Isoroku’s appearance may be a fluke, considering there is already enough reasons not to infect the Harekaze, chief among which is the fact that Mashiro Munetani is aboard her, and what better way to discredit the Munetani name (and the concept of the Blue Mermaids, founded by the Munetani family), than to have the youngest daughter of the Yokosuka Girls Maritime High School’s principal (and well renowned Blue Mermaid captain), go rogue?
While one can easily explain I-201’s actions as that of a ship following orders (the MSSD basically issuing a sink-on-sight order for the Harekaze at this point), a sticking point is the Admiral Spee. They could just be following orders, but the appearance of a mutiny aboard could mean that some of the crew were infected. Sumeragi had pointed out this is similar to the ‘Rage’ virus from the movies 28 Days Later/28 Days Later, which seems possible noting Tama’s reaction.
Other things of note, I do like the middle-of-nowhere floating colony, which I called an outlet mall. It seems like a good call, no doubt a way-point for pleasure craft as they sail the ocean around Japan, stopping by to grab provisions and the like before continuing on. Much like a little truck stop is on an interstate. The trash that the two girls were hooking from the ocean most likely came from there.
The appearance of the rodent is a bit of a surprise, and I honestly think it was accidental. Maybe it was intended for another ship and got washed overboard or something, but appearing in the courier box meant it probably was headed for other ships, maybe a reason why the Admiral Spee mutinied? Other ships were infected? Who knows, but this thing on rodents being mind control vectors is interesting…if possibly wrong. We never know.
I do want to note that I considered the Blue Mermaids to be something akin to a heavily militarized Coast Guard, the appearance of a generic motor lifeboat (distinguishable from the cockpit and the recessed retrieval wells).
Also, Sumaragi notes that Mashiro’s shark is on sale at IKEA. I am quite tempted. Anyways, I can’t wait to see next episode, the show is teasing us along, and I can’t wait to see what others have seen that I haven’t. Edit: Infinite Zenith has a post for Episode 4 up. Link
Edit2: A friend of mine sent me this joke on Facebook…though if it becomes true I owe him a dinner then I’m gonna hit him over the head.