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Episode 10: Kugai

 

Review by Brian Shea

January 20, 2011

 

Summary

 

The Fakes reveal themselves. Misuzu and Ataka flee from them. Miharu's Fake heads towards the storehouse while the other one heads down a cliff towards the stage. Miharu's Fake breaks through the storehouse wall. The other Fake leans down and analyzes the stone stage. Ataka wonders what it is doing. Miharu reports to her superiors who tell her to continue on. Meanwhile at the Yausudake Training Grounds in Hokkaido, four pilots sit in a room, appearing to be very tired and worn out. An officer enters the room telling them their operation will begin at 1600 hours. Back in Kinashi, the Fake continues to analyze the stone stage while Miharu's Fake blasts around the vault door, permitting her to open it. Yushiro senses something is happening and rushes up the stairs. Miharu spots him immediately and attempts to capture him, smashing her Fake through the hall. Yushiro backs down to the basement and Miharu spots the dormant Kugai there, which makes her very afraid. Yushiro acts like is in a trance, and suddenly starts dancing. Miharu shouts out that what he's doing will bring the 'terror', but he continues. Miharu's superiors tell the other Fake to expedite its operations due to Miharu's non-responsiveness. The Kugai starts to move. The other Fake finishes its work and starts heading over the the storehouse. The Kugai's chest opens up and Yushiro heads inside it. Miharu, deathly afraid starts backing up her Fake. The Kugai stands up and starts heading towards MIharu's Fake, which is quickly backing out of the storehouse. It catches up to her and grabs hold of the Fake, holding it against the wall, then shoving it through the remains of the storehouse wall, to the cliff outside. Ataka and Misuzu, nearby, wonder what is happening. The other Fake continues its way up towards the cliff. Miharu fires her missiles at the Kugai and punches it in the face to no effect. She punches its abdomen but her Fake's fist simply shatters. The Kugai tears off the top armor of the Fake and grabs at Miharu, who has passed out. The Kugai pauses and is attacked by the other Fake, which seems unfazed by the attack. The Kugai grabs a large sword out of its sheaf and heads towards the Fake. The Fake manages to blast the right arm off the Kugai, sending it and the sword to the ground. The Kugai jumps on top of the Fake and starts tearing away at it. Symbol decides to declare the mission a failure, and sets the self-destruct units on the Fake. The Kugai grabs Miharu out of the Fake just before it explodes. The Symbol forces recover Miharu's companion but report that Miharu has been captured.

The JSSDF, in confinement, wonder what has happened to Ataka. Misuzu and Ataka arrive at the top of the cliff but are unable to find Yushiro, who has by now abandoned the Kugai. Meanwhile in Hokkaido the pilots are secretly injected with drugs at a test of TAs. The test begins. Sorachi brings Miharu a change of clothes. Yushiro asks him what a Kugai is, and he tells him that it is created by the act of Gasaraki and piloted by the Kai. Yushiro asks if he is a Kai, and Sorachi tells him to get an answer to that question he'll have to head to Kyoto, to the ancient land of the Watanabe, which is where the Kugai was originally found. Miharu says she has been there and that he has as well. Ataka heads into the storehouse and finds the body of the real Yushiro. She tells Misuzu that she needs to leave. Sorachi tells Yushiro and Miharu that they are both from the Monoyose Kai bloodline and need to travel together to find the truth. A pair of helicopters arrive and troops head out. Miharu takes off her pilot suit. The troops report to Kazukiyo and Daizaburo that Yushiro piloted the Kugai. Yushiro and Miharu run through the woods. Meanwhile one of the TAs being tested collapses when the pilot passes out from exhaustion. One of the technicians thinks they should cancel the test but Yonetani thinks they should continue. Misuzu finds Sorachi, who tells her that he has left on a journey. She asks if Yushiro is really her brother, which he thinks is something that is not really that important. Technicians recover the collapsed TA but find the pilot completely psychotic, attacking anyone who comes near, before he passes out. The technicians are concerned about the state of the other three pilots and their TAs, all of whom are breathing heavily.

 

Commentary

 

This is another very interesting episode, featuring the 'awakening' of the Kugai, the mysterious being in the storehouse basement. Rather than a traditional mobile suit, the Kugai seems to be a living suit of armor, kind of similar to the Guymelefs in Escaflowne. The appearance of the Kugai brings a more mystical quality to the series, a big contrast to the realistic action we've seen from the TAs to this point. Miharu appears as if she has witnessed the Kugai before as if she has lived a past life in which she encountered it. This episode also starts a storyline which runs through the next few episodes featuring a test of TAs that goes horribly wrong. Its a storyline I don't particularly care for, but doesn't stop this from being the best episode of the series thus far. After a rather poor episode with episode 7, the show has really picked it up over the last three. The episode does feature a technical oddity in that Miharu's fellow pilot has the appearance of a man, but the voice of a woman, at least in the Japanese language version that I watched.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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