We’ve now come to the middle of the series and it just looks like things are going to get a little deeper now. With the Musashi still at large, the prospect of outside intervention is starting to become more real, placing much undue burden on Principal Munetani, and possibly as well as her counterpart in Toumai.
Back at Yokosuka, Principal Munetani and her advisor discuss the sixteen ships that had been disabled by the Musashi. Wondering if the super dreadnought has truly rebelled, the advisor did state the failure of the electronics and guided missiles, and of the safety mechanisms that prevented deaths and only injuries. She is briefed that due to the difficulty of refueling a Yamato-class super dreadnought at sea, she was given a full load and still has 80% of her fuel and ammo aboard.
At this point, her subordinate reports that they had lost contact with the fast battleship Hiei and heavy cruiser Choukai. This would mean they had lost the aforementioned ships alongside the cruisers Maya, Isuzu, Natori; destroyers Amatsukaze, Isokaze, Tokitsukaze; the German Cruiser Admiral Spee. They have some ships still in contact, and heavier ships still at the docks, but can’t send them out. While it is possible to accelerate the destroyers, the heavier ships can’t be deployed. As of now, the only one that can confront the Musashi is the Harekaze.
Back at the scene of the Musashi, it shoots back at the Harekaze as it comes closer to rescue Mike, who made her way aboard. Thinking of what Shiro said, she is starting to have her doubts as being a proper captain of the Harekaze. Catching the shivers, Rin suggests she take a bath. Back on the bridge, while Rin is greeting Mike, her subordinate is on the wheel. As Shiro tries to get a status check, it seems that most electronics went down aboard the ship, forcing the girls to rely on the stars for positioning. This apparently has them at Lake Biwa.
Back with Mike, it seems the Engineering department is having their bath first, with a rather pointed remark by C/Assistant Engineer Hiromi about the improper example by the captain not waiting her turn. Maron though hears this and notices that Mike is soaking, and knowing full well where that could lead to, tosses the order out so Mike can rest in the heated bath (and telling Rin and Mina to join as well).
Elsewhere, at a level above Principal Munetani, the leaders of Japan (and possibly Blue Mermaids) discuss what can just be seen as a student uprising. Debating on a course of action, one of the shady figures note that the Musashi holds the best and brightest students and a proposed long-range strike with unguided torpedoes would be useless. One proposes to use equivalent force to fight it, but the Yamato (based in Kure) and Shinano (based in Maizuru) are docked, while the Kii (based in Sasebo) is off on a long-distance cruise. With that, their current options are not good enough.
Back aboard the Harekaze, the girls rest in the bath, which is heated by their troublesome engine. While bathing, Maron asks for an update on the situation, and Mike explains what has gone on. Though when she says she wanted the two forces to stop fighting, Hiromi makes a barb on Mike’s improper leadership and abandoning her post and about someone more qualified to be a skipper; though Maron shuts it down in her own rather unusual saying (on how a mobile shrine needs to be light and stupid).
Out on deck, as the damage control officers look over the scars from their tussle with the Musashi, Hiromi once again makes a barb at Mike as she walks past, though Mina explains how her captain aboard the Admiral Spee was probably like Moka in trying to protect her ship all by herself. This is in contrast to Mike, but Mina notes that it was her snap decision to go sortie that saved her from the water. Listening in from around the corner, it is doubtful that this touching moment, where Mina and Rin explain their gratitude for Mike, would change her mind.
Later, C/Telegraph Personnel Yagi Tsugumi comes to the bridge to explain she’s picking up a faint radio signal from within the ship. Leaving Shiro (whom she calls Deputy-Captain) in charge, she joins in on the search with Kaede, Tama (w/ Isoroku), and C/Operations Specialist Uda Megumi to the source of the radio signal, the sickbay. Opening it, they come across a horrific scene with Minami dissecting the rodent. Another appears and after a brief tussle, Isoroku catches it.
Warning Mike from touching it, it seems with the rat dead/or knocked out, comms and other electronics are back online. Minami explains it is genetically altered, and infected with a weird virus that she also found on Tama. She postulates that this could be the reason for Tama’s brief insanity and electronics backout. Finding the cause for their problems, Mike promotes Isoroku though Coco notes the dubiousness of promoting the cat and Shiro wanting to inform the school.
Unfortunately at this stage, the Harekaze has run into a mine.
As the mists of morning surrounds the Harekaze, personnel are on deck to push any mines away from the ship as the others have breakfast. While Mina struggles with natto, Kaede informs Mike of the nature of the minefield. Coco explains the method for mine-sweeping using paravanes on anchored mines towed along by their jet skis while any floaters would be disposed of by guns. Though Shiro reminds Mike not to be part of the team that clears the mines.
Noting Mina’s hesitance to eat her food, she says she’s not really accustomed to Japanese food. When Mikan says she’ll create German foods, Mina tries to walk back her statement to no avail. Mikan claims to be a master of German dishes though she seems to be having some trouble in reading the instructions.
With the mist dissipating and repairs complete, Mike orders Tama and Mei to take care of mines in their line of sight, leading the trigger happy torpedo officer and her reserved artillery counterpart to open fire with the deck-mounts. At the rear of the ship, Mimi, Momo, and Mikan finish decorating one of the ASW tools with a cat’s face, though when discussing names, Tama swings the gun around upon hearing her name, giving the three a fright.
Back aboard the bridge, Rin wonders on the origin of the mines (to which Coco explains in her one-woman plays). Shiro explains that the mines might be leftovers from when nations would mine sea lanes they had vested interests in. This would be fixed with the creation of the Blue Mermaids, which transcends national boundaries and its mission is to ensure the safety of those at sea and to keep sea lanes safe.
The jet ski deployed C/Torpedo Personnel Matsunaga Ritsuko and Himeji Kayoko aboard, the paravanes and wire cutters works as intended but a moment’s distraction causes them to miss a floating mine that destroys the jet ski. A rescue signal from the automated safeguards is detected by the Harekaze. When she starts to leave her post, Shiro berates her for doing so, though Rin speaks up, intending to go out to rescue them and asks Mike to help her, thus allowing Mike to go out as well but infuriating Shiro who is still trying to reconcile Mike’s actions with that of ‘The Book’.
Heading out, Rin places her confidence on Mike, even though she herself says she doesn’t know what a proper captain is like. Even with this, Rin is thankful she is her captain.
On the rescue raft, enclosed by the weather-protective bubble, Kayoko starts to panic as she realizes she’s the only one there, before Mike opens up the rescue raft and reveals Rin with Ritsuko aboard the jet ski, their rescue becoming a relief to the crew.
Later that night, the chefs present the fruits of their labors, though Mina seems to find fault with the majority of dishes Mikan created. Mina though is impressed by the one C/Supply Personnel Kinesaki Homare and Kinesaki Akane created, to which Mikan concedes her failure in comparison to their success. As others start to try to lit up the chief chef’s spirits, Mike looks on her crew, feeling a little bit more confident of herself it seems, as she still tries to find what it means to be a proper captain.
Later on, back in sickbay, it seems that Minami has found a possible antibody to the virus, though her eyes appear to be rather unlike its usual colouration. Momo restrains Hime as Minami approaches with a syringe. It seems that she has had herself bitten and Hime was being restrained merely because of her flighty nature. Asking her witnesses to stop her if anything happens to her, she injects the antibody into herself. The episode ends though with a title card, which is merely a scene from earlier, leaving the result of her experiment unknown until the next episode.
Not much in the way of plot developments, not as much as say, Episode 4 or 5. But at least the protagonists now know the source of the problem with Tama’s strange attitude and electronic interference.
I do find Minami’s experimentation of her home-brew antibody to be very shady though. Getting infected by the second rodent (the one she didn’t cut up) and then directly injecting herself with the antibody. I imagine when all is over she’d probably get (at the very least) a very stern talking to.
Like others, I feel there is a potential mutiny afoot. Hiromi’s constant snipes at Mike (and in my eyes, with some legitimacy involved) might be the spark that sets it off. While Rin and Mina seems to be solidly in Mike’s camp, there seems to be some discontent within the engineering department. As much as Mikan can try to control her shop, Hiromi has her own reasons to place Shiro as captain. This isn’t helped by Mike’s downer attitude the whole episode, where she still doubts herself even after Mina and Rin try to cheer her on. No doubt Shiro would’ve noticed that she calls her by her position as Deputy-Captain, rather than the more familiar Shiro, which might make her realize that they way she’s treating and handling Mike might be in the wrong.
Or not her own. I’ve still kept it open that there are collaborators within the student groups, and not all of them are ‘infected’. That or the virus enhances the thoughts and feelings of their victim. Tama did go crazy but was merely sprouting off on curry before she fired on the Akashi and Mamiya. Who knows if the differently coloured rodent is a different kind or class of carrier? One meant to increase the doubt one has over a decision. So a little bit if she gets Shiro in charge, has something bad happen, further soiling the Munetani name.
Speaking of the second rodent, how the hell did it get there? With the Harekaze having been resupplied by the Mamiya, there is no reason for my view that it was a timed release aboard their stores. Tsar1917 believes the rodent jumped on Mike’s jet ski after I said it might’ve come from the battle debri left by the Toumai HS’s Akizukis vs Musashi battle. We’ll never know, all I know is that cat is probably the good luck omen for the ship. Though another idea was it was a timed release, just in the Mamiya’s stores…but again very unlikely with the presence of a ship’s cat aboard both ships.
Apart from that, a quick preview on how mine-clearing operations were done, and a little bit of titbit. I did say and maintain that the Blue Mermaids is a Coast Guard type of organization. I thought it was a purely Japanese thing with sister services abroad, but it seems I’m mistaken. It’s more an international force, probably akin to a UN sanctioned service with contributions to it by member nations. Created to supersede nations in keeping sea lanes open and facilitating safe passage of the sea. Basically what the US Navy’s current mission (or one of its missions) is.
I can see somewhat why Sumeragi’s notion of an attempt to discredit the Blue Mermaid system is plausible.
Another thing of note is the mention of the Akagi, Kaga, and Shinano. Noting the lack of proper heavier-than-air vehicles in the HSF Universe, one can only imagine these ships were never converted to their CV forms and stayed in the class they were originally laid down as. There is also the mention of the Kii, the class that was meant to reinforce the IJN’s eight battleships and eight battle cruisers, but scrapped with the passage of the Washington Naval Treaty. If the appearance of the Kii class in the universe is true, alongside the possibility that the converts were never converted, it would seem that Japan of this age had managed to build all of the ships they wanted to lay down…and would also mean other nations would’ve built theirs too.
An interesting thought and look into that.
I look forward to the latter half of the series, as it seems we go further down, inch-by-inch, into the conspiracy. We know there is something going on, just not why. And I want to see Minami’s fate after testing drugs on herself. Who knows, she may turn into a great big green thing and rampage around the Harekaze. As for Hiromi, I don’t like her. I was misgivings with her from Episode 1, but with her constant sniping at Mike’s ability to command (I get it, I don’t like her not-by-‘The Book’ style irks me too) is more annoying than Mike’s need to running around and covering for everyone. She has yet to understand the leadership skill of trusting her girls to do their job, and running around to put out every fire, large or small.