Ayanami, recovering at the Azur Lane base, finds her enemies friendly and welcoming.
Episode 09 – “HOPE – Light Shines Through the Darkness”
Azur Lane turned my ship waifu anime into healing anime, at least for this one episode. After the stress and tension of thrilling battle, rescue, ambiguous plot development, and head-scratching fluctuations in animation quality, it was totally time for a breather. It was also time to bring the Ayanami Friendship Project to its natural conclusion. Ayanami’s “date” with Javelin and Laffey hit all the same beats as Azur Lane‘s previous visit to the Sakura Empire. We didn’t have little ships worrying about getting eaten, but the younger ones did have to worry about Ark Royal “disinfecting” a cut to a finger. Ayanami’s take on how the Azur Lane boats get along compared to the Sakura Empire was that they were the same. The grownups get along with the younger ones, except for that fear of eating part.
As we saw in the last episode, the best part of the Ayanami Friendship Project is that it only seemed tangential to Azur Lane‘s main plot of the Sirens’ interest in Enterprise. The Royal boats worried that Enterprise suffered a setback in her demeanor because of the strange transformation the “special combat zone” had caused her. We even saw her eating rations alone in her room again. So, while it looked like Enterprise had withdrawn and might regress to her reckless ways, she made a small joke with Ayanami when they both went out for a moonlit stroll. That’s not regression; that’s progress. Belfast, always Enterprise’s elegant shadow, must have been the happiest at witnessing that scene.
The great way the Ayanami Friendship Project ended, with replaying the moment the young ship girls met as they felt all the wistful emotions of their conflicted meetings in between, was a pure healing anime moment. That’s called closure. We have three episodes left for Azur Lane to get enemy sides working together against the Sirens and Kaga. Everything will intersect with Enterprise, the Black Cube, and whatever “wills of souls” have been collected in the Siren ship Orochi. I’m not sure the story will all make sense, but I’m sure it will be a spectacle.
Laffey and Javelin have to go to the principal’s office for doing the right thing. Their punishment is more like a reward. They finally get to hang out with Ayanami. Is Hornet the commanding officer of the Eagle Union? Cleveland seems pretty high up there in the Azur Lane Alliance. Enterprise is more like a superweapon that gets pointed at a target.
Has the Black Mental Cube been acting differently? Hard to tell from here. I guess we’ll take Cleveland’s word for it. The whole scene still makes me laugh. This very dangerous and unknown technology is just sitting next to snacks put out by maids. Even Edinburgh and Sheffield did this while they were escaping with the Cube! Ha!
At least they’re treating Enterprise properly by examining her after the strange experience against the Akagi fleet. Too bad she’s regressed in the Elegant Enterprise Project. She really is like an eagle, always seeking out the highest point to watch over things. How is she even hearing Vestal way down there? If you look closely, the tower still has damage from Azur Lane‘s first episode.
Those cherry blossoms should make Ayanami feel at home. Lots of fan service for the Eagle Union small boats. “Borg?” Uh, the Azur Lane game never had a boat called that. How about “Bogue,” for the official subtitles? Ayanami has quite the arm.
The Union boats reinforce the idea that no one hates her, but they all fight to protect their sisters. Don’t want none, don’t start none! Yup. This feels weird, says Ayanami.
Oh. Ark Royal is stalking, er, surveilling the small boat prisoner with her small boat friends. She’s totally in heaven. How long can she hold her nose bleed?
Ha! I was waiting for this reunion — Ayanami sees Akashi the merchant cat. Hoho. Long Island wants a discount on an Enterprise model kit. No discount for you! These two also worry about Akagi and her dealings with Sirens.
Aw. A quick look at the Sakura Empire and the Ayanami’s friends are crying. All this sadness even gets Zuikaku bawling. Bullying to Yuudachi is not getting meat… Shigure is more put-together than Zuikaku!
Shoukaku reports to Nagato and Mutsu. I wonder if those two are so powerful that they can’t release their boat armaments any more.
Oh hey! It’s those German boats we haven’t seen for weeks. Does the Iron Blood want to attack Azur Lane or the Sakura Empire? Prinz Eugens is a hoot. She says Z23 is just lonely for Ayanami! We’ve got Chaotic Yuri over here (instead of Chaotic Evil).
Ha! The royal boats of the Azur Lane Alliance play golf. Queen Elizabeth remarks they still have the same questions about the Siren since they started fighting. She feels they have a chance to find out their motivations through Project Orochi and Enterprise. Nice way to bring it back to Illustrious and her uncanny foresight. Which means we’ll get to see Unicorn again!
The small boat gang is going on a date! Look at all the fun stuff for fans in that plaza scene. The little yellow chicks are everywhere, being so helpful. Laffey can juggle too, like her Benson class sisters.
Laffey is a big flirt by stealing Ayanami’s strawberry. Behold the might of the Demon! Bring it! Javelin tells Ayanami and Laffey to mind their manners while she has crumbs all over her face. Unicorn has no comment. Such a nice, polite girl. Ark Royal is in heaven.
Ayanami calls big and small boats “grown-ups and the younger ones.” Aw. That’s nice when everyone realizes they’re all the same in the Azur Lane Alliance and the Red Axis.
The final joke on Ark Royal. She needs, needs to lick a small destroyer boat. Needs!
Regression. Enterprise is eating rations again. Here are some small scenes to remind us of the bigger story and stakes. Observer is now tempting Kaga with the return of Akagi. It’s always about missing sisters with these Sirens. They always talk so vaguely too. Countless “wills” of souls in Orochi’s body? How long have the Sirens been stuffing ship girls in there?
Did Enterprise just make a joke with Ayanami? Worst escape attempt, ever! So, not total regression for Enterprise. Dealing with ones and twos is fine, just not a whole crowd. Belfast is squealing in delight on the inside.
Nice scene. U-chan helps Ayanami replay the first time meeting her friends the right way. Also, Unicorn got to properly thank Ayanami for finding U-chan that day. That’s so good how Ayanami picked up on what Javelin was doing. Gah! They put healing anime into my ship waifu anime!