This show has some tone issues. Tone issues which were pretty constant this episode in particular, with scenes which were very clearly meant to be taken totally seriously consistently coming across as comedic due to the goofy delivery or inherent silliness of the situation at hand. At least it was unintentionally funny.
Right from the start this tonal mismatch was on display, with an unconscious Ruby being wheeled along on a stretcher by some medics after last week’s cliffhanger. Obviously this was meant to be pretty serious but it ended up undermined a little by the rest of the cast following behind the stretcher and yelling her name… constantly. The end result is about 30 seconds of two medics discussing how she urgently needs medical attention with five people simultaneously shouting “Ruby! Ruby! Ruby!” in the background for the entire duration. It’s hard to take that seriously really. Naturally this nominally tense opener is mostly intended to make things seem more serious than they actually are, with the eventual reveal of what happened being significantly less bad than the implied giant fish battle, she got punted out of the wayimmediately and there were essentially no consequences.
This did however act as the driving point for the story this week, with Maiko’s guilt over causing the accident (spurred on by Namino picking a fight with her as per usual) driving her to quit the team and head for home. Leading into the episode’s second instance of a scene which was definitely not meant to be as silly as it turned out. As Maiko sits on the train out of town the other four non hospitalised girls manage to catch up on their bikes, and they somehow hold an entire conversation lasting several minutes while keeping pace with the train and yelling back and forth. Clearly they just have impossible stamina, all that inexplicable physical training paid off I guess. Anyway they convince her to come back and she gets off at the next station, so that all got resolved rather quickly.
After Maiko finally decides to reveal her motivations to the rest of the crew they all set out to try and figure out what actually happened to her brother. The question of the deities is once again raised as Misapyon tells Haru that apparently the brother’s guardian hasn’t been back to base in the six years since he vanished. Something which none of the spirits bothered to question or think about in the intervening time I guess. He also suggests that this must be because she’s still protecting the brother somehow, which raises so many questions. If these spirits are capable of keeping someone alive. In space. For six years. Why on earth are they being used for space fishing? Surely there has to be some less frivolous use for magical super ghosts. Either way Haru rushes to give Maiko the good news about her brother’s survival, as the rest of the group split up around town trying to wrangle the truth out of the council and the other space fishers.
As it turns out Maiko’s brother was lost in an accident on the first space fishing trip, with the government covering it up to avoid bad press for their big fancy space fishing project. Which the show had pretty well established in the previous Maiko centric episode so I guess it gets points for actually setting something up at least. But that’s not really much of a twist so clearly we need to home in on the person who ordered the coverup. Thanks to Ruby’s previously unmentioned hacking skills (she’s said she’s a spy but never actually done anything to indicate any special aptitude or anything, I’m not sure she’s even used a computer on screen before now actually) it’s swiftly revealed to be… Some guy. It’s actually Makiko’s father but the reveal falls flat when Ruby turns the laptop to reveal some generic looking guy in a suit with a name we’ve never heard before. It takes half a second to make the surname connection by which point the show has spelled it out for you anyway and even then it’s kind of whatever. Ten episodes in we’re presented with something vaguely resembling an antagonist who’s only connected to two secondary characters. The majority of the cast including the ostensible protagonist has no real stakes in this beyond being friends with the two, so the reveal is essentially that some guy we’ve never heard of before did a bad thing and now we’re going to deal with that I guess. The episode ends with Maiko yelling at Makiko as a proxy for her father, a situation which will either be defused in the first 30 seconds of the next episode or spun out to the whole thing to fill time. Presumably the latter so they can save rescuing the brother for the finale. At least we’re nearing the end now.