Right after dealing with the wayward Hiei, the crew of the Harekaze prove they seem to be placed on a bracket way below their skillset as they now work as a team to take down their next prey. Each person has a skillset that in the real world would take some years to master, and even then, as ever, they bust out something that makes me go “hot damn”.
Fathers do not need to threaten any boys from these girls. These girls will end up doing it themselves if one could see their prowess.
As news of two more unidentified ships are sighted, Mafuyu is off to chase the lead that is headed towards Chuuk, while she leaves the Harekaze to go for the one headed towards the Admiralty isles. The girls are understandably in high spirits as they sail away after having subdued the Hiei. Word comes down though that the target they’re chasing is none other than the Deutschland-class cruiser Admiral Spee.
As the crew eat their meal with a heavy atmosphere, Shirou asks what Mike would do, only to be answered by Coco and assorted other students, proposing a raid of the ship. Mina realizes that they’re doing this for her sake, and explains that to stop the Admiral Spee, there is weak point on the ship that could disable her.
While the Admiral Spee is significantly less powerful, not as well armoured, and slower than the Hiei, it is much more maneuverable, with armor still thick enough to withstand the Harekaze, with the firepower to sink the destroyer. Fighting her would be very tough, and defers the decision to Mike, who asks Mina what she wants to do. After a short pause, she requests the Harekaze’s help in retaking her ship, to which the crew agrees to.
Catching up to the errant cruiser, Mike orders the crew to battle stations. With the Admiral Spee having yet to attack them, the Harekaze conducts a long distance torpedo run on the Admiral Spee. Finally noticing the destroyer, the cruiser returns fire. Realizing the Admiral Spee wasn’t going to dodge, they evade the Admiral Spee’s counterattack (though losing the number three turret). A second torpedo attack is ineffective and the girls realize that without the Admiral Spee dodging to let them have an angle on the weak spot, they can’t stop her.
As the bridge crew mulls over their choices, Coco tells Mina to not give up. Mina says she can’t afford to have everyone get blown up. Coco notes that the y made it last time, then realize that a skipper could dodge the fire the Admiral Spee would put out, though would be destroyed in one shot. Shirou asks Mike what to do, Mike asks to go out, and properly hands over command to Shirou, who had anticipated this.
Going out on both skippers would be Mike, Mina, Minami, and Kaede on one, and C/Navigation Personnel Katsuta Satoko, Mimi, Momo, and Noma. Back aboard the Harekaze, Shirou directs the crew to catch the Admiral Spee’s attention as the two skippers sneak up on the vessel from a rock formation. Bringing the Harekaze 200 meters closer to the Admiral Spee, the cruiser fires on the Harekaze, with the secondary batteries scoring direct hits.
Calling stations for the source of the hit, radar and both torpedo rooms report back alright, but with no response from the main battery central fire control center. For a moment, it seems as though members of the crew were lost, but safety features in the central fire control center saved the main battery operators.
With the crew safe, Shirou orders the Harekaze to leave the Admiral Spee’s effective firing range and leaves Mike to deal with the Admiral Spee, though it would take 30 minutes for the Harekaze to escape the Admiral Spee’s main batteries, and 20 for her secondaries. The Harekaze takes another hit and one of the storehouses are hit.
Back at the boarding team, Noma is first to board utilizing a grappling hook. Bringing along two high pressure water guns, she fights off the girls on deck and shocks the infected crew with the seawater, knocking them out from the hive-mind state. Back on the Harekaze, with her fellow damage control officer gone, Hime is dismayed before the main battery operators arrive to help, their station destroyed due to the last hit.
With the Harekaze taking an intense amount of fire, Satoko and Mike can only look on. Satoko asks Mike to do something but Mike had entrusted the command to Shirou. Back on the Admiral Spee, Noma displays Grammaton Cleric levels of gunplay in taking out the crew as Minami injects the antibody into the knocked out girls. Mina runs inside leading the way, accompanied by Isoroku (who was also part of the raiding party apparently).
Back aboard the Harekaze, the engine room is turning into a sauna, with Hiromi complaining to the bridge about being on full power. Shocked that the person who responded was Shirou, she has a complete turnaround from her spiteful attitude and encourages the engineering crew to do their utmost, leading Maron to get annoyed that Hiromi took her line.
Back aboard the Admiral Spee, Kaede shows off her own special skills with a practice naganata, effectively stunning the three girls that had met them in the hallway and allowing Minami to inject them. Isoroku finds a rat and chases after it, Momo in tow, and the rest continue onto the bridge. The Harekaze now cleared of the secondaries, Shiro can’t help but wonder if the raiding team is done yet.
While staying behind to fend off other infected students, Mimi is rushed and overpowered, while Mina confronts her captain. Taking the brunt of the smaller girl’s roundhouse kick, Mina hugs her close to incapacitate her and allow Minami to inject the antibody into her. As she goes down, Mina apologizes for being late.
With this, the rest of the crew is cured and the Admiral Spee runs up a white flag indicating a successful mission. Mimi passes out just as Momo comes to recover her, and Isoroku presents the last of the rats he’s killed.
As the Harekaze comes alongside the deactivated Admiral Spee, Minami is done administering the antibody on herself, and Mike and Shirou make their introductions to the Admiral Spee’s captain, Thea Kreuzer. She states her intentions to head to Seeadler Base for resupply, and will be taking Mina with them. Coco hears this though and runs off.
As the combined crews admire the food presented before them, Thea has Mike to lead the toast as everyone eats. The Admiral Spee crew and Harekaze crew interact, with a throng of girls each present Mimi with a certificate, no doubt to taking on the girls surrounding her, and Momo gaining new fans for her prodigious skill. Shirou’s luck manifests again when Isoroku takes the last of the sausages from a plate.
Finally able to return her cap, Thea asks Mina to place it on her and she barely hides tears when it is finally back on her head. She tries to move the talk over to the Harekaze’s damages, though Mei points out it was the Admiral Spee’s fault, and commends her for the hit, though not enough to beat them. She offers to have them come with them to Seeadler for repair and resupply, but it seems the Harekaze was ordered to meet with the Akashi.
As the two captains shake hands, Mina looks around for Coco. Coco was back in her room, distraught as she recites one of her famous one-girl dialogues, though this time the content of her dialogue symbolizing the fact her friend is leaving the Harekaze. Just as the Admiral Spee is about to pull out, Mina still looks for Coco, though when asked, she says its nothing.
Saying their goodbyes, the Admiral Spee starts to steam away from the Harekaze. Hearing the whistle, Coco runs out to the deck and the two friends share one last playacting together before the Admiral Spee disappears.
Shirou comforts Coco, noting that she did the kind of work that doesn’t have a payoff. Coco merely tries to go back to her old self, playacting a line, noting that she’s now broke. At the post credits scene, as the Harekaze is alongside Akashi, Shirou notes that their gamble worked well. Mike though notes the damage the Harekaze took just taking on the Admiral Spee, no doubt realizing that going after the Musashi would become a lot worse.
That helped tie up one of the loose plot points of the show. The Harekaze’s fight with the Admiral Spee was not as ‘edge of your seat’ to me as it was versus the Hiei, but I think I can attribute that to a crew that has learned to come together. The crew now follows Mike’s lead (with some rough spots) and Shirou is able to fully support her in her decisions. That said, Mike is able to trust Shirou in that and it seems the two have created at the very least, a comfortable working relationship.
As for Mina, I think I can speak for everyone that it was sad to see her go. One thing that was surprising to see was how deep of a relationship Coco and Mina had. But looking back, considering that the two started going off in staging their little playacting, it seems that Mina had been using Coco as a bit of an emotional crutch while she was exiled from her ship. Mina is clearly hurting when she came aboard the Harekaze, teased slightly at her different mannerisms, Coco and Mina bonded over the old films and Mina started to go along with Coco’s sometimes outrageous playacting that acted as a sort of sly narration for the audience.
To see them part with tears in their eyes was heartbreaking to say the least, and brings out a different emotion from say, the girls Ooarai’s Senshado team laying eyes upon their beloved School Carrier docked at their hometown. And come to think of it, it seems like Coco was the one to really press the crew to a boarding party to retake the Admiral Spee. It speaks volumes on how much that details matter in an anime, and while I never picked it up before, having passed those scenes off as part of the slice of life aspect, it comes barreling back to be a major part of a few characters. That I think was the best part of the episode.
The method that the Harekaze employed to take down the Admiral Spee was quite ingenious. I’m not entirely too sure if the actual Deutschland class had such a weakness. The fact that the infected crew aboard the Admiral Spee kept their heading meant that yes, they did retain their knowledge and seamanship. They knew that such a point would be vulnerable even to the Harekaze’s 10cm artillery, and kept their ship at an angle as to keep that spot covered. This prompted the boarding action. Utilizing some suspiciously well placed reefs to get close to the ship, the Harekaze giving itself up as a decoy meant the whole operation, done on the fly, was already a risky endeavor.
Noma and Kaede were the stars of the boarding action, and already Kaede had jumped to be a friend’s favorite character from the series in some episodes prior, but this sent him to a tizzie (looking at you Nauf). Noma though holds the cake for me, with her seemingly skillful aim and acrobatics. Gun-kata is highly stylized nonsense, but it is still great entertainment. Combined CQB with weaponry involves either taking them down with the weapon or brute force, but what Noma did there was akin to when Cleric Preston from Equilibrium taking on Cleric Brandt then Vice-Counsel DuPont at the climax of that film.
Also, I think what she had in those waterguns would be cold seawater, considering that’s what got Tama to fall out of sync with the virus. My thought processes played out that Spee’s more exposed crew would probably be KO’d after losing that sync, rather than returning to their own selves. This KO’d state would allow Minami to inject the antibody into them.
Though Kaede proves again that “fear the cute/quiet ones” is a trope for a reason. I hope the girls had no long lasting physical injuries. Already some friends online are turning that scene into a meme sourced from the newly released first person shooter Overwatch, with the “Play of the Game” being the common comment. A skype group I’m in notes that the whole crew are badasses, leading me to think that yes, it seems like the crew of the Harekaze are a bunch of badasses who managed to stumble together to become a very effective team.
But one thing that bothered me, and it seems like, Infinite Zenith, was the lack of proper boarding equipment. Maybe it’s to save animators some time, but if you’re going into a known biological contamination zone, at least a mask should be worn. But if the virus requires direct contact for some time with the rodents, yeah. I think Infinite said this better. What irked me though was the lack of any aspect of what folks would call ‘room clearing’ or any proper way to board. Granted this is anime, and I just went off on a long three paragraph spiel on how kickass Noma and Kaede were (and by extension the rest of the crew), so I’m going with “it’s an anime” with this one.
Anyways, with Mina and the Admiral Spee gone (for now one would hope), Mike can finally get back to the important mission on rescuing her childhood friend.
One technical thing I wanted to point out, that it seems like the animators used the torpedo scene from Episode 1 where the Harekaze’s single torpedo strikes the Sarushima. Looking at the scene, the Admiral Spee’s hull suddenly earns a more angular hullform with another hull seemingly coming out to the side. The show redid animation last episode with the Hiei, granted though Mike was hoping the Hiei would go the same shallow path. I guess time is running out to produce the last few episodes.