Its back to the water we go for the start of this week's Arpeggio of Blue Steel, as the I-401 returns to the sea for a journey "home"... and this time, she's bringing a trio of new guests with her.
Upon arriving at Chihaya's carefully hidden dock, Iwoto, it appears that it perhaps wasn't quite so carefully hidden as they have an unexpected guest waiting for them in the form of Takao. Of course, Takao's goal isn't one of aggression, and although she's unable to verbalise her feelings in front of Gunzou it's very clear that there is nothing to fear from her at this point in time. It also seems that Chihaya has yet another mental model within the growing crowd surrounding him in the form of Hyuuga, who is set the task of repairing the I-401 - a task which she clearly relishes given her rather, err, "unique" interest in Iona.
Much of this episode is spent either goofing around or getting to grips with the feelings of Gunzou's harem, I mean collection of Mental Models, as they themselves try to fathom how they've ended up in the positions they now occupy. Either way, none of these ships seem to be particularly keen on fighting for the Fog against humanity, which could give Chihaya an immensely powerful arsenal if those around him side with him during his coming mission to move the vibration warheads in his possession to America. Needless to say, it isn't looking like an easy journey however.
While I'll openly admit that the early part of this week's episode of Arpeggio of Blue Steel was rather a lot of fun thanks to its comedy leanings, it does also unfortunately serve to undermine any pretensions at serving up a serious story as a result. With such a collection of battleship-girls around him, this is starting to feel a little like a half-baked harem show, so I really hope that next week's episode can bring us some naval action again - not only because it's what the show does best narratively, but also because it's best suited to the series' CG rendered aesthetic, which really starts to struggle when characters are flinging themselves at one another and trying to act like embarrassed school girls. It feels as if the laughs are over and we're returning to serious business now, and this certainly seems like the right moment to break with such levity and get down to it, as time is fast running out to bulk up the show's story.