Wow, was not expecting that curveball in terms of someone’s background. Nothing really major comes about in terms of advancing the plot but it helps in understanding why girls do what they do.
While under orders to pursue the Musashi, the Harekaze suffers a breakdown in its water filtration plant. As the girls try to make due with salt-water showers and laundry, canned food dishes and ramune, there seems to be a bit of an impasse between Mike and Shirou. While the results of Minami’s research is well known now throughout the ship is known, what plays out on screen is this widening personal gulf between Mike and Shirou that others can see and pick up on. Ever since the last encounter with the Musashi, Mike has refrained from being too friendly with her.
As this goes on, the Harekaze enters a fog bank and makes its way through some reefs. They are greeted with rain and the crew rushes out to bathe and collect rainwater. The fun times ends though as the light rain upgrades to a low pressure area or (assuming the location being near the Yap Islands) what I assume to be a tropical depression.
As the rain catching efforts are abandoned, Mike was in the process of heading out when lightning hits the main mast of the ship, frightening her. Minami appears in rubbers asking for her audience. Meanwhile below decks, the hallways are crowded as girls try fit past each other due to the fact no one can be above decks in the storm.
Back aboard the bridge, Mike barely holds it in and leaves the bridge to head below decks. She latches on to the next person she sees, Noma, much to the annoyance of Mimi, her admirer. Making her way to Shirou’s room, where Mina and Coco are enjoying a show, she manages to blurt out her fear of lightning. Coco leaves to take over Mike’s watch and lets her calm down in Shirou and Mina’s room, where she explains herself. It isn’t that she’s scared of the lightning and thunder itself, but it brings up some bad memories.
When she was younger, she was on a sinking cruise ship alongside her parents in a storm. Hesitating to jump from the deck, a wave crashes against the ship that sends her tumbling. When she comes to, she is aboard one of the liferafts, only to realize her parents never made it off the ship.
She seems to be regretting being indecisive at that crucial moment, wondering if she had jumped when told, her parents would’ve been right behind her and not washed off or left behind. The girls listen on as the implications of what she’s said gives them pause, only for an urgent message from the bridge interrupts them.
A distress beacon was sent out, and the Harekaze is the closest responding vessel to the stricken ‘shopping mall ship’, Shinbashi (a converted Liberty-type ship). There are a total of 552 passengers and crew aboard and are all evacuating. Mike orders them to contact the Blumers HQ and the school, and confers with the Shinbashi’s captain.
They ran aground 13 miles southeast of Falalop and are stranded on the rocks. They have 10 slightly wounded. While there is no reported fires they are taking in water on their port side. After telling him to continue evacuating, she calls the ship to action stations and explains the situation, calling on her crew to prep for sea rescue and ordering free personnel from the weapons and navigation department to help prepare.
As some of the girls realize they may had gained weight since last trying on their dry suits, the Harekaze approaches the Shinbashi. With a fear of the ship overturning if the list goes past 50 degrees, Mike orders the rescue team to head out and was about to go out herself before she remembered Shirou’s exasperation in the previous incident. She pauses and more or less goads Shirou to tell her to stay aboard, while she and Mina go along with the rescuers, while Mike provides orders from the bridge.
As the rescue longboat makes its way to the stricken ship, the girls are a little apprehensive at their first true rescue, Shirou not helping much with mentioning her luck. As they get closer to the Shinbashi, the rescue force divide into teams as some go under water to find the cause of the list, while others coordinate triage with Mina and Shirou leading search teams.
Inside the shopping center, the search team realizes the sprinklers aren’t on, meaning the emergency systems are non-operational. That, alongside the news of a 120 meter long crack on the hull indicates it isn’t long until it capsizes. Mike orders the Harekaze alongside the ship, as a full evacuation aboard the Harekaze is conducted.
Mina and Shirou coordinate with the rescue team to get people aboard the Harekze before they encounter two members of the ship’s compliment who comments that ‘Tamonmaru’ isn’t with them. Shirou and Mina act on this and head back inside to look for ‘Tamonmaru’ as the rest evacuate.
Above decks, everyone is aboard the Harekaze except for Mina and Shino. As they search deeper into the ship, Shirou finds Tamonmaru, a small grey and white kitten. Hesitant to touch the abandoned kitten, the ship starts to split apart. Mina manages to escape the ship as the Harekaze cuts itself free from the Shinbashi. The rescue team manages to pluck Mina from the ocean but are unable to find Shirou.
Back aboard, Shirou is with Tamonmaru, having escaped the rising waters by climbing above it on store shelves. Getting over her aversion to cats, she takes the kitten and entering the air ducts. Aboard the Harekaze, Mike tries to hold it all in and orders her crew to care for the rescued people.
Back in the sea, the rescue party is illuminated by the passing spotlights of a Blumer P-791 Airship and Skipper Jet Skis from the Rapid Response Security Fleet. Managing to explain it all to the leader of the RRSF rescue contingent, Kishima, the Blumers speed off to rescue Shirou.
Speaking of which, Shirou is crawling around in the air ducts with Tamonmaru, trying to find a way out, while aboard the Harekaze, the crew is feeding and treating rescued personnel.
Shirou’s flashlight fizzles out, and in her frustration, hits the top of the duct with it, commenting on her unluckiness, but allows the Blumers team on top to start pinpointing her location. Coco explains to Mike that a Blue Mermaid team is looking for Shirou, as Mike prays for her recovery.
As Shirou lays in the duct, noting her growing hunger, she hears the hammers from the Blue Mermaid team and hammers back in response, allowing them to cut the hull open to rescue her, where she realizes she’s been saved. Meeting up with the folks on the rescue boat and saying she’s alright, she starts to rub against Tamonmaru, while Mina and others wonder why Shirou is speaking like a cat.
After getting back aboard the Harekaze, she presents Tamonmaru to his owners, only for the kitten to go back to Shirou. Noticing how the kitten has taken a liking to her, they ask if she could adopt him.
Elsewhere, Minami hands over the second rodent to the Blue Mermaids leader, as well as her research and antibody.
On the bridge, Mike is ecstatic that Shirou is alive, and greets her enthusiastically, referring to her by her nickname now and all traces of their coldness gone. She was miserable and is really sorry for having put her through the ordeal. Hiromi appears on the bridge, no doubt to talk to Shirou but not only walks into Mike crying on Shirou’s breasts, but also the appearance of the kitten Tamonmaru from Shirou’s shirt.
Shirou asks shyly if they could have one more cat aboard, everyone surprised that the cat-shy Shirou now has one of her own, and the Mike (and the rest of the bridge) wholeheartedly approve while Hiromi merely looks on in the corner with disgust.
Later, as the Harekaze is sailing through the fog to their next destination, Mina comments on how great the Blue Mermaids were, and Mike explains that they also saved her when she was younger, and was one of her driving reasons to be one. She though also says that if she were to go aboard a ship, she’d be able to have a family. The significance of which gains new meaning now that most likely everyone understands that Mike is an orphan, and a reason why she’s so close to Moeka, who was like a surrogate sister to her.
Shirou finally gets it why Mike always say ‘comrades at sea are like family’, and Mina remembers who she left behind on the Admiral Spee, her captain and friend since middle school, and understands why Mike was so insistent in saving Moeka. Now that they have an antibody to the virus, they are closer to being able to do just that.
Until they sail into the same fog bank the lost Hiei is in as well.
Now that I know, I do feel like quite an ass for thinking Mike has something against procedure. I think it’s just part of her trying to overcome her trauma from when she lost her parents in the sinking of the cruise liner they were on. A lot of the times where she’s done thing of her own volition, it’s merely to try and rescue everyone she can.
And this is in direct contrast to Shirou, who has rather big shoes to fill and has always believed herself to be unlucky in trying to fulfill them.
I think at this point one can say the friendship that was hurt in the last encounter with Musashi has been mended with both girls coming to grips with their fears. Shirou believing her luck would cause her demise (and in a minor form, her fear of cats), and of Mike fearing that a member of her crew, her family, would be lost. It’ll only make them stronger, if not acting together whenever Hiromi decides that for some reason, she must right a wrong and declare Mike unfit for duty as the captain of the Harekaze and instate Shirou as the rightful head.
Another thing that worries me is Minami handing over the proof of the genetically engineered rodents and her research to the Blue Mermaids RRSF rescue leader. Call me paranoid though while the Blue Mermaids seem to be outside the purported plot, I can’t help but think that such information that could blow the whole thing wide open would be good to trust. Had it been given to a Munetani, I would be understanding, but without fully knowing where Kishima (the Blumer rescue lead) fell in terms of loyalty, I wouldn’t be too sure in handing over everything to them.
Maybe I’m just someone overthinking it, but I hope Minami has some backups to go along with it, hopefully the corpse of the first rodent she had dissected?
Other little things of note, it seems that a lot of WWII vessels were repurposed for other uses. The Shinbashi is quite clearly a Liberty Ship, while of course a lot of the IJN vessels were utilized as first year training vessels for Blue Mermaid feeder schools like Yokosuka. Though there seems to be a little bit of a scaling issue with the promenade inside the Liberty ship, in relation to the ship’s size and Harekaze. Dunno, might just be my tired eyes seeing things.
I’m also amused at the earlier incident with the water reserves/water purification system failing. Salt water is not really the best stuff to have running through your pipes. Or using for washing and toiletry needs. I’m unsure if their reservoir failed or their desalination plant did, though I am currently going with the one or both deal. Doing a quick google search provides ample examples of desalination mechanisms available for pleasure craft, and desalination plants are common-everyday machinery found aboard vessels. The fact they allowed the plant (if they had one) to go and get busted and run their reservoirs empty means someone let the ball drop.
Speaking of letting the ball drop, whoever was in charge in the Navigation department to keep track of weather patterns need to be hit with a week-long diet restriction to nothing but cheese, crackers, and ramune. Having grown up on Saipan, even a mere tropical depression, which I assume the Harekaze and Shinbashi fell victim to, is dangerous. Such storms are plotted and tracked to either their dissolution as a really bad thunderstorm or their growth to an actual typhoon. Did anyone ever wondered why it would suddenly start to rain? Or were they too preoccupied with other things (like fluffy soft hair) to really care?
Bah, might just be me, but you’d think that the Blue Mermaids and their feeder schools would have something on weather forecasting embedded into their navigation classes if they had something similar to the Fourth Fleet Incident or Typhoon Cobra in their timeline.
Speaking of feeder schools, holy crap what are they teaching them in middle school?! A lot of these girls are sporting certifications that grown adults take time to master. I mean to be SCUBA rated is one thing, but to be a rescue swimmer or at least one that can swim next to potentially unstable wrecks isn’t something I can see really being entrusted to teens their age.
Granted it might just be for the plot, but then, if Mike can pass a grueling exam to be the commander of a mixed-tech WWII destroyer, what else can such schools teach. Minami is already approaching mad scientist levels of intellect and is a fully capable corpsman on her own, while it seems Tama and her artillery crew are able to accurately shoot down a Yamato-class’ shell.
Anyways, apart from my misgivings about Kishima and the Blue Mermaids RRSF force, I am waiting for Hiromi to go full retard. By that I mean to cause a mutiny aboard the Harekaze over Mike’s unbecoming of an officer (in her eyes). Or for her to turn a new leaf like Shirou is doing right now.
Edit: Something just occurred to me. How the hell are those islands still visible after the oceans in this world rose basically tens of meters high due to
global warming climate change whatever its called now?