This episode picks up right after Kanata finishes playing for Rio, and she tells her that from now on she’ll practice with just her mouth piece, and then Rio directs Kanata to the mess hall. Before breakfast begins Rio introduces the rest of the platoon to Kanata; Lieutenant Felicia Heidemann-the tank commander & Captain of the unit, Corporal Noel Kannagi-the tank pilot/driver/mechanic, and Private Kureha Suminoya-the tank gunner. After the group finishes breakfast Rio tells Kureha to show Kanata around the fortress.
Well, Kureha gives Kanata the ten cent tour of the base and their mission, the platoon has one tank, one heavy machine gun, two light machine guns, four rifles, five pistols, and their mission is to guard the town and the general area which boarders no man’s land. Also, the fortress has one telephone line, and if it rings something big as about to happen.
Then Kureha shows Kanata the quarter’s area, the latrine, and so forth. Kureha gets mad when she sees Felicia doing latrine duty, and says she’s setting a bad example for the new recruit. Finally, Kureha shows Kanata their main battle tank which happens to be a zero generation model and isn’t even in running condition. While Kanata hasn’t said a bad word about the tank Kureha gets defensive and tells Kanata not to make fun out of them even though everyone else does. When Kanata sees how upset Kureha is she tries to be friendly to Kureha by calling her Kureha-chan but that just causes Kureha to tell Kanata the tour is over.
Later, we see Felicia and Rio talking about how Kureha got upset the other night when she found out that Kanata wasn’t going to be trained as a driver or loader, orders are orders. A minute or two later Noel walks in and wants to tell them that she just saw the “ghost”? Later, when the group is together Noel tells them about the ghost, and Kureha goes off on her saying there are no ghosts, but Kanata tells them she saw it to. Kureha goes off even worse yelling at Noel that she’s an engineer, so investigate, NO, scared. Kanata says, what’s the big deal about a ghost, and she doesn’t seem to be bothered in the least bit. As Kureha is pounding the table saying there are no ghosts Rio agrees with her.
Then we switch scenes to see Kanata and Kureha all geared up with Rio telling them to investigate the busted up old barracks area. Well, it’s storming and Kureha seems scared but Kanata seems to be enjoying the whole adventure thing. As they begin to explore the deserted and busted up part of the fortress Kureha has Kanata take point and Kanata finds an old book that seems to have a picture of what looks like modern day school girls. Later, Kureha asks Kanata if she’s scared, no. She tells Kureha that ghosts are supposed to protect us, and back in her home village they used to hold an annual festival to honor and thank the ghosts (O-bon?). Kureha tells Kanata about all the bad things ghost are supposed to do to people when a rat jumps out and scares her, and soon the girls are being chased by a large group of rats. As they continue to wander around the abandoned area Kanata tells Kureha that she thinks this used to be a school for lots of kids. Kanata spots a piano in one of the rooms and tells Kureha that she thinks that this was a music classroom. But, Kureha is very doubtful because she says that not even the capital has schools this large, and Kanata says that there were supposed to be a lot more people long ago.
As Kanata is thinking about what music class would be like if the platoon was students instead of soldiers Kureha interrupts her musing by complaining about the platoon’s situation. Just then the girls get attacked by a fire breathing dragon owl and Kureha flees from the room and eventually fires her rifle at the owl. While she misses the owl, her shot hits the ceiling and the shrapnel stuns the bird.
Later, the group discusses what to do with the bird, and since the owl was the very same one that snatched the charm from Rio she says cook it. Felicia names the bird Shuko, and says they’ll keep the bird since their unit patch contains the image of a bird or owl. Then next morning, Kanata finds that she’s been fully accepted as a member of the unit, and even Kureha is friendlier towards her. Well, that’s all for this episode.
This was a very interesting episode because we found out a lot of information about the functioning and status of the country the girls are supposed to be defending. Firstly, we discovered from Kureha that the unit is basically considered by military higher ups to be group of misfits that gets old broken equipment and sporadic resupply. I don’t know if this is just an issue of the military being worn out after a long conflict or if they don’t know what to do with female soldier, so they put them out of sight and out of mind. Also, Kureha tells Kanata that other units make fun out of them, so I tend to think that the military doesn’t know what do with these female soldiers.
What is also interesting about this episode and this world is that it seems to be a sort of steam punk world. While, the broken main battle tank is a walking tank (more advanced than any of our real life tanks) the platoon has a rotary dial telephone, and rifles that look older than my grandfather. This episode had the feel of an YKK episode in that the world feels like it’s winding down. Kanata found a book in the ruins of the fortress that had pictures of what seemed to be modern school girls, and Kanata came to the conclusion that the ruins were a former school. While, finding a former school isn’t shocking, Kureha’s response was, not even the capital has schools this large.
So, I’ll be looking forward to finding out what the hell happened to the world to cause such a population loss (war/ecological disaster), and why can’t Kanata or Kureha read the text from a book found in an abandoned school inside their own country. The book Kanata found was in fairly good shape so that tends to indicate that the “great change” in their world didn’t really happen that long ago, so why doesn’t anyone know anything about the near history of their own country/world.