The fight against Cartia and her goals continues on rather quickly as Rio gives it her all.
What They Say:
Cartia's henchmen give Rio no time to rest. Her next opponent is the "Merciless Queen", a skilled sniper. Rio competes against her in Sky Resort's "Sky Jumping Shooting". While the two are evenly matched, Rio falls under increasing pressure from Cartia's tricks. Meanwhile, Mint searches for Jack to find information on Cartia.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Rio's gate battle in the previous episode, while not terribly exciting overall, is certainly something that can cause a drain on a person. It's a very active event and it's got her fairly worn down afterwards. Rio's the type to keep going at it though since she has so many people she wants to protect at the resort, friends and family alike, even at the physical and mental cost to herself. Those around her understand this as well which is why they get rather furious with Cartia for pushing a second gate battle so quickly in her efforts to acquire the Howard Resort and all that it has. The girls, and Howard, are all fairly helpless at this point to do all that much to stop it.
The Sky Resort so far hasn't introduced much that I've cared for, compared to the more traditional (mostly) Howard Resort that the first episodes showed. Some of those games were certainly wacky, but here it goes in an even stranger direction, from the virtual game in the previous episode to the larger jumping/flying game that we get at the start here. The shift away from the more traditional gambling aspects have reduced interest a bit as well since I found all of that to be a lot of fun. Still, there's something to be said for the creativity of the matches at times and having Rio and Queen dressed up as different creatures, Rio as a flying squirrel of all things, going at it in the air does have its moments.
Rio spends its time doing two things here. The first is having the match, which takes up a bit of time, as well as a follow-up incident later on that puts Rio in a fare bit of danger outside of the gate battle. That one actually has some rather amusing tentacle moments to it as it uses the hologram room to mess with her head. The flip side of the episode is that it spends some time with the various characters trying to help out Rio by relaxing her and putting her at ease, such as when Rina takes her to the hologram room for some pleasant scenery that never actually happens because of the larger motives at hand. The virtual nature of it is something that is used amusingly to really mess with Rio's head in a way that seems to work rather well. Considering the physical and mental pressure that Rio has been under with the two matches and then being attacked, it's easy to push her further.
Rio has gotten progressively darker as it's gone along and this episode takes it a step further with some psychological pressure added to the lead as she deals with a lot going on and several gate battles on top of everything else. Cartia's role is one that has larger ambitions to it and it's interesting to see that Howard is unable to really do anything about it and that he's tempered down the flamboyance of the matches as well. There's some genuine concern there for Rio not only from him but from the others there, which is something that Cartia is easily able to take advantage of. There are fun moments, such as the first match here with the jump/flying sequences with the costumes alone, but the lesser amount of fun and silliness is something that I don't think Rio needed to have happen.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.