23. What Do You Want to Protect?

It is a day with zero probability of a Heterodyne appearing, so the team decide to use that time to see to other things. Irie has decided to make a film about the heart and soul of Dai-Guard, and what better way to do that than to interview her co-workers? First up on camera are Ishizuka, Taguchi and Ijyuuin, but their pragmatic talk about Dai-Guard’s expenses just isn’t the “heart and soul” kind of footage that Irie is looking for.

Meanwhile, in the office, Akagi has just been stuck with one of the less enjoyable jobs of being a Dai-Guard pilot- Ibuki and Aoyama have nominated him to be the one to give a speech at the 2031 spring hiring ceremony. Akagi isn’t a fan of public speaking, but his usual optimistic personality soon kicks in- how bad can it be?

Driving to the hospital, Aoyama is accompanied by a camcorder-wielding Nakahara, who is interviewing him for Irie’s project. Aoyama feels a little awkward about being on camera, but takes the opportunity to thank Nakahara for not telling anyone about his talks with Arisa in Hokkaido. Aoyama wonders if Nakahara thinks that he is a jerk now that she knows a little about him and his past, but Nakahara’s feelings for Aoyama are quite the opposite…

Whilst Ishizuka, Ijyuuin and Taguchi get the inglorious task of picking up the company’s giant animal costumes from the cleaner’s, it is almost time for Akagi to make his speech. Hit with an attack of nerves, Akagi desperately wants to pull out at the last minute, but Chief Oosugi won’t let him. If Akagi doesn’t speak, Oosugi would have to do it, and the chief hates public speaking more than anyone. With no choice but to do it, Akagi goes out to make his speech, and immediately gets a laugh out of the audience- simply because his nerves make him completely unintelligible.

Back at the office, Irie has moved onto her next interview- this time with Domeki. Irie wants to know what Domeki can tell them about the Heterodyne- why do they appear, what to they want, and how can they develop a solution to the problem? Domeki finds this last question amusing- the Heterodyne are just natural phenomena, like tornadoes or typhoons, and knowing why they occur isn’t enough to stop them. No one talks about the solution to the “fight against typhoons”, so why should it be any different for Heterodynes? For all Domeki knows, they may have to deal with the Heterodynes forever.

As Irie ponders this, Sumida shows up, much to Domeki’s delight. As she starts calling him “sexy Sumi” and asking him to stay around for a while, Sumida pleads with Irie to shut the camera off. Eventually, Irie does leave, wondering how she can possibly make a good movie with the footage she has.

After picking up the animal costumes, Ishizuka, Ijyuuin and Taguchi decide to go to the park for a boat ride and a stroll through the cherry blossoms, When they get there, however, they find that the pond is gone and the park is cordoned off- the army have labelled it as a “Heterodyne Pollution Area”.

Ibuki heads to the hospital to visit her stepfather, but whilst she is waiting for him, one of his colleagues comes to see her. Kamikawa talks about the hard work Professor Momoi does, as well as how much happier he seems these days. Although Ibuki never realised it, Momoi really does care about her, and their improved relationship clearly means a lot to him.

Akagi isn’t too happy about the way his speech turned out, but he seems to have had an effect on his audience- afterwards, one young man approaches him to say that he has become inspired to join Team Dai-Guard. Meanwhile, Aoyama is giving a speech of his own, for the benefit of Nakahara and the camera. He admits that he is scared to go out and fight, scared that he will die and leave his sick mother alone with no one to look after her. But Dai-Guard and the team need him, and now, he needs them too; PR Division 2 has become a part of him- Akagi, Ibuki, and Nakahara herself. She is one of the things that he is fighting for.

The park may be closed, but Ishizuka, Ijyuuin and Taguchi still manage to find a way to amuse themselves and the local children. Whilst Ishizuka and Taguchi climb into a two headed Heterodyne suit (resembling the first Heterodyne that Dai-Guard fought), Ijyuuin dons the company’s bird suit, and gets the kids to join in by attacking the “Heterodyne”. Amidst all the fun, it is easy to forget about the damage the real Heterodyne have done to their old playground.

Later, everyone has returned to the office, and Irie shows off the movie she made. Unfortunately, it is a bit disappointing- she was unable to catch the ‘heart and soul’ of Dai-Guard by interviewing people in the company, and ended up just filming random idiots that she met outside. Nakahara’s film is quite different, however. After the interview with Aoyama (edited to remove any personal exchanges between the two of them), she has filmed people enjoying the springtime- children, adults, old people, even dogs. It isn’t what Irie had in mind, but in its own way, the film has a special meaning. These simple moments of people’s daily lives- this is what they are all fighting to protect.

After work, the team is all set for a “Thanks for the Hard Work” party, and everyone takes a boat over to one of Tanigawa’s favourite restaurants. Before they can get there, however, Oosugi receives a call- a Heterodyne has just been sighted. Much to everyone’s annoyance, they have to turn around. When will they get the chance to eat?

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