10. The Dangers of Femininity

On the bridge, Munetake is proudly announcing the Nadesico’s next mission, one that they were obviously assigned because of the way he brilliantly managed to get the crew into shape- or so he thinks. No one else really cares, not least because it’s 2am and they’re all in bed. Even Minato is dressed in her nightgown and about to go off shift.

Nonetheless, for those few who do care, the Nadesico has been dispatched to Tenician Island to investigate a new type of chulip that crash landed there. And the fact that the island has a tropical climate and a beautiful beach wouldn’t be an excuse for a swimsuit episode now, would it?

Meanwhile, down in the kitchen, Yurika has other concerns. If she wants to stay on top in the battle for Akito’s attention, then maybe making him a special meal is the way to go, even if her cooking skills leave a lot to be desired. But even though the lonely Jun wouldn’t mind a hand cooked meal to break from the monotony of eating instant noodles alone, Akito has other plans.

Sitting in his quarters, all Akito wants to do is watch episode 33 of Gekigangar, in which Aquamarine, an enemy pilot, loses her memory and falls in love with main character Ken. Aquamarine seems to epitomise the perfect woman, and cooking is just one of her many skills. Delighted to hear that Akito likes girls who can cook, Yurika offers him her own meal, and against all his instincts, Akito chokes down a spoonful of the grey, smoking dish. A big mistake, as it turns out, since Akito soon finds himself in a new world of discomfort.

Fortunately, or so it seems, Megumi arrives just in time to take away the bad taste with a special stamina drink- that is, take away one bad taste and replace it with another. Feeling worse than ever, Akito sends both Yurika and Megumi away, and the remains of the meal go to poor Jun, who ends up being carried to sickbay, foaming at the mouth.

Akito’s respite is brief, however, for as he tries to watch the end of the Aquamarine episode, Yurika and Megumi show up once more, with hot bowls of food. Unfortunately, as they rush to be the first to give it to Akito, they trip over, and the scalding hot food goes flying- only to land all over poor Akito. As he later sighs to himself, real girls just aren’t like Aquamarine.

The Nadesico has finally arrived at Tenician Island, and for the crew, that means it’s swimsuit time. Erina tries to remind them that they don’t get paid for the time spent playing around, and passes around a beach safety flyer, but when it becomes clear that everyone has gone off to have fun anyway, she whips off her own uniform to reveal that she too is wearing a swimsuit, and quickly chases after the others.

It’s time for all those old beach activities like paddling, sunbathing, beach volleyball, board games, and in Ruri’s case, being the one who sits there working on a laptop. Having set up his own food stall, Uribatake promises to serve the traditional greasy and low quality food found on beaches everywhere, and upon sampling the ramen, Jun has to agree that it does indeed pretty bad.

Food is, of course, the last thing Akito wants to look at, so when Erina comes over and offers to share a plateful with him, he cannot help but gag and run away into the woods. Now lost in the woods, he is surprised to bump into a young blonde woman. Seeing him, the girls cries out that she has found her Prince Charming, and, looking back into her face, Akito is reminded of his own perfect partner- Aquamarine.

Unhappy at seeing the crew slacking off, Munetake demands that everyone get back to work, or at the very least listen to him, but the crew have other ideas. Munetake’s fate is sealed when he falls down a hole; at Akatsuki’s suggestion, the others bury him up to the neck, leaving him to be washed over by the tide.

Back in the woods, Akito’s new friend takes him to se her home, a beautiful complex built on the cliffs. Introducing herself as Aqua Crimson, she takes Akito inside and cooks him a beautiful meal. Could this Aqua be the perfect girl Akito has been looking for?

Whatever Aqua may or may not turn out to be, Akito should know that the other girls in his life won’t let go so easily. Both Yurika and Megumi are searching for him in the woods, and when they find a woman’s hat, the two rivals become temporary allies on the hunt for their potential new adversary in the war for Akito’s heart.

Whilst Aqua woos Akito with tales of being a tragic orphan, Erina decides that is finally time for the crew to start searching for the chulip. Whilst the pilots return to their Aestivalis’, Ruri continues her research, and discovers that the island is owned by the Crimson Estate, an Australian conglomerate. Erina and Inez both know of the Crimsons- despite being multi-billionaires thanks to their barrier shielding business, the Crimsons have to drop out of society, thanks to their daughter. Something of a problem child, her stunts include both kidnapping and poisoning people with a paralytic agent. Surely this daughter can surely be none other than Akito’s “dream girl” Aqua…

The Aestivalis pilots quickly locate the new chulip, only to discover that is being protected by some kind of barrier- one created by a Crimson family generator. Whilst the pilots try to figure out what is going on, Aqua and Akito continue to discover a deep connection whilst talking together on the balcony of her house. Aqua wants Akito to stay with him forever, and he seems inclined to agree- at least until Yurika and Megumi show up. With this unexpected interference, Aqua decides that it is time to move on with her own plan; touching her pendant, she sends a remote command to deactivate the force field.

The chulip within is not a dimensional gate, but some kind of troop transport, with a giant spider inside. As the spider begins launching missiles, the Aestivalis pilots go on the attack.

Back at the mansion, a battle of a different kind is going on, and as always, Akito is the prize. As Akito tries to explain to the others that Aqua is precious to him, some of the missiles from the spider impact on the balcony. Thrown to the ground by the blast, Aqua is suddenly excited- they could all be about to die.

To Akito’s distress, Aqua explains that her ambition is to become a tragic heroine, dying together with her one true love. Hearing this, Akito finally decides to follow Yurika and Megumi’s advice to get out of there- only to find that he cannot move. Aqua pulled her old trick with the paralysing powder when she cooked him dinner, and now Akito has little choice but to die in the arms of his ‘lover’ as the spider finally reaches them…

Fortunately for Akito, there is another girl who doesn’t want to see him dead or in the arms of another woman- Ryoko. As the spider raises its arm to destroy both Aqua and Akito, she slams her red Aestivalis into it, before following up with a knife attack. When the spider tries to counterattack, she pummels it before half-melting it with a barrage of gunfire.

Their mission over, the Nadesico departs, leaving Aqua to mourn the loss of the true love she was going to die with. But back on board, Akito’s troubles are far from over- not only have Yurika and Megumi tried their hand at cooking again, but Ryoko has prepared a meal for him too. Faced with three unappetising platefuls of food, Akito can do nothing but run away. Watching the drama as they eat their instant noodles, Jun, Seiya and Akatsuki grumble about how lucky Akito is- although as Akatsuki remarks, at least they can get a little satisfaction out of Akito’s pain.

Even as the Nadesico flies further away, no one seems to realise that someone has been left behind- Munetake is still buried on the beach. And not only is the tide coming in, but Aqua has joined him- he is her new “true love”, and it is time for them to tragically die together…