There are a few more introductions to get through which are fine to watch but boring as all hell to write about. I'm not sure if they're equally boring to read about. (If they are, skip to the next post.) Here goes.
We pick up at night in a snowy place, there are snow laden pines in the foreground and mountains in the background. The sound track is music with a sort of carnival sound. Tskasa is riding something called a grunty which I'm not entirely sure how to describe. It's like, a small furry cartoon hippopotamus perhaps? This one is Yellow. It walks into a wall, backs up recovers in that way cartoon things do, then walks back into the wall. Tsukasa remarks with amusement on it's lack of intelligence, and then we cut to an oasis in a desert during day.
Tsukasa looks around, thinks he's alone, and throws something into the water. That summons a water spirit thingy who starts what is presumably a preprogrammed conversation. I'm not entirely sure what the gameplay was supposed to be, because Tsukasa isn't interested. He takes a few swipes at the water NPC with his staff and it dodges and then disappears. And that that point I finally get what he's doing.
He's playing the game wrong for fun. Playing with the game instead of playing it. I'm not going to judge, sometimes when I feel bad I rain nuclear annihilation on stone age civilizations. (Empire Earth II allows for massively unbalanced wars, if you want them.) We all have our means of coping.
I mentioned last post that there's one time in this episode where I wasn't sure if Tsukasa reacted with fear to the arrival of a new person. This is it. Sometimes when I watch this I am convinced that his initial reaction is fear. Other times I'm convinced that it definitely wasn't fear. This most recent viewing my position is that Tsukasa is not afraid here. He still will prepare to be attacked though.
Either way, he hears laughing behind him and turns to see a swordsman, Bear. I haven't talked a lot about player appearances but it might be worth noting that Bear probably has the least clothing of anyone in the series. Instead much of his bare upper body, as well as much of his face, is decorated with blue body paint. It seemed worth mentioning.
He asks if Tsukasa is having fun, comments that he does the same thing when he's feeling down, and offers to help out saying that he's always helping newbies. Tsukasa leaves without a word. Bear comments to the empty space that was certainly a very shy person.
And now for the first non-Tsukasa conversation in the series. BT, who like Tsukasa is a wavemaster, walks up and isn't happy that Bear apparently left in the middle of a fight. Bear points out she won anyway, there's some back and forth ending with a statement on Bear's part that will be repeated much later in the series in a different context. It is translated as, “Oh, I am gentle, but not a pushover,” it works here where it's in response to an accusation that he's not being a gentleman, but makes no sense when repeated later.
I prefer a fan translation I saw once where it is, “Oh I am nice, but not soft,” because that can fit both the original and the call back. I should see if I can find that fan translation again.
And then we come to Venice. Actually it's called Mac Anu, but Mac Anu probably means nothing to most people while Venice ought to give a good idea of what it looks like. Both the buildings and the canals remind me of Venice. I think we can be pretty sure that's intentional.
On a boat Subaru, the leader of the Crimson Knights, is speaking with Silver Knight.
Subaru: The other day, I had a chance to speak with Lord Orca. He is also concerned about the recent situation in The World.
Silver Knight: The increased number of users has caused a decline in morality.
Subaru: That's not it. However he said he can't reveal any details yet. He also said he will work with Lord Balmung to find out more.
Lord Orca will never appear in the series, Lord Balmung will appear only briefly. While we, the viewers, don't know anything about them (unless we've followed other parts of the franchise) Silver Knight and Subaru both do and it's clear they have high opinions of both of them. They also draw completely different conclusions based on those two being involved.
Silver Knight's position is that if those two are on the case then there is clearly nothing to worry about. Subaru's position is that if the case is big enough for those to be working on it then it's definitely worth worrying about.
They can't get into discussion of the relative merits of those two positions because what to Silver Knight's wondering eyes should appear but Tsukasa, sitting by himself at the side of the canal.
Silver Knight can apparently make his eyes (red lenses in his helmet) glow. Which is neat. Tsukasa runs (actually runs, instead of warping) away, and Silver Knight says a melodramatic line:
It is not easy to act in the name of Justice.
This is actually the halfway point, and I'm going to break the post here.