Tachibana Takae deflects Momoyo’s attack into the city before the two of them clash in an explosive onslaught of punches and kicks. And while Momoyo takes some damage she focuses some of her life energy into accelerating her regenerative abilities.
On the sidelines to all of this the other girls observe and comment on the fight, then deciding to intervene following one of Yamato’s plans, based on of all things the way Takae’s breasts jiggled, to turn the fight in Momoyo’s favour. After which we are shown a seemingly later talk between Momoyo and Ageha where they discuss Takae, with Ageha explaining how she retired from the Big Four after being defeated twice and was seemingly killed in action during a mission with the JSDF. Then noting on the current faulty state of the military, which because of she began funding research regarding cyborgs and combat armour.
Following this it cuts back tot he fight at hand where Takae has her support, Saki evaluate the situation, finding that Shakadou has escaped and that their opponents are being commanded by the boy who isn’t fighting, advising that they withdraw and buying her some time when she refuses. And while all the girls attack Takae at once, by predicting and calculating their attacks she’s able to avoid them all with ease, even leaning in close to plant a kiss on Momoyo’s ear. Yet still they persist, with Momoyo creating an opening for them to plant grenades on her limbs before cutting back to the talk between Ageha and Momoyo as they go off, where this time she explains that their cyborg prosthetics would allow experienced soldiers to return to the battlefield and that Tachibana Takae had been brought in as a test subject after being fatally wounded.
Amazed at how fast she adapted to her new limbs, and if anything, how she exceeded their expectations in destructive power by also implementing her life energy on top of the superhuman strength she gained. However, she managed to escape with a subordinate of hers during the timeframe of the Kawakami battle in the first episode, reappearing a few times after that. And despite being told to stay out of the matter, Momoyo declares not to. Then recalling how her previous confrontation with Takae ended with her emerging seemingly unscathed and dispatching of everyone but her, leading to the two of them clashing once more with Momoyo starting to lose herself in the fight, continually healing herself until she’s unable to. At which point Yamato had come to, wanting to stop her but instead being caught in the crossfire.
Not an entirely terrible episode but I think that it goes without saying that this series works far better when it’s working with comedy and fun hijinks as opposed to serious pseudo politics and over the top ridiculous fights. The story may have been bound to take this turn eventually, but I just don’t think it’s one of the show’s strengths.
That said, despite this serious change I still liked how we were able to get some answers in regards to Tachibana Takae, or at least some more information about her, allowing us to make sense of all her past appearances and even about her as well. Revealing that she had retired from the Big Four after being defeated by both Momoyo and Mayucchi, and that her cyborg enhancements were the result of a project by the Kuki. Both explaining a little more about her along with how she seems to have similar habits to Momoyo. Finally however, it may have been due to me being a little dense but Takae’s goals still seem a little blurry. We learned that she was behind the weapon smuggling but not exactly what she intended to do with them, though what she’s been through would be more than enough reason to hold some sort of grudge, whether it’s from being defeated or forced to be a test subject.
Amongst all of this as well, while the animation for it may have been great with consistent fluidity and decent art throughout, I thought that the action was still the weakest part. In a series like this with all manner of ridiculous (yet sometimes awesome) over the top sorts of things, the very nature of it all didn’t exactly feel out of place compared to everything else, especially considering how Momoyo’s strength is something that had never been tiptoed around. But it just didn’t seem to go anywhere, at one point it would appear that Momoyo was able to seize the upper hand only to have Takae take it right back, and then you have to consider that this futile power struggle lasted for a good part of the episode. It just felt tedious, not to mention whenever Momoyo actually took some damage she could near automatically negate it.
Regardless though, how it ended up being more of a battle of attrition as opposed to an upfront battle, with Momoyo on the losing side, was one of the things that I liked about it. Despite how powerful she was, the reality of it was that she wouldn’t be able to keep using that technique forever, and that sooner or later it was going to fail and the damage would quickly pile up. Not to mention that Momoyo also seemed to be starting to lose herself in the fight itself and wouldn’t have really realised it or cared if it did, at that point she looked more concerned with having fun than her own safety (which I guess she wouldn’t have have had to normally worry about anyway). And finally it brought it all home for her by having her disregard for everything but having fun fighting Takae indirectly result in Yamato getting seriously injured, which while kind of forced was fairly nice for her character as well.