With all the pilot trainees in Miss Pilot now acting as a team (at least, that was what the previous episode was all about), they are finally ready to begin real flight training. Now, since air traffic control and most things about flight are exclusively in English, it makes sense that they will do that training in an English-speaking country, and indeed they will soon be relocating to America.
But before that, the main characters get to sit in on a real flight while the pilot and co-pilot do their thing.
It’s a bit different for Tezuka Haru (Horikita Maki), since she’s never even been on an airplane before! Will she be all right?
Nice call-outs by the co-pilot. This scene, including the way they captured Tezuka’s face, was very well-done.
It’s a bit embarrassing that Tezuka doesn’t seem to know basic terms like ‘heading’. What were they studying all that time!? She seems concerned, too.
We also get to see Oda Chisato (Aibu Saki)’s reaction to being in the cockpit during a real flight. She seems more confident and appreciative of what they’re doing. Even though it’s all in English, I doubt even English-speaking viewers will understand what’s going on (unless they’ve been obsessed with flight since they were kids like I have been).
Finally, finally, Tezuka seems to be having a moment of doubt. It’s been a really easy ride for her through the first three episodes, and I’m glad that the writers finally realized there needs to be a real conflict/struggle for the main character if they’re going to retain audience interest.
Back at base, the rest of the pilot trainees were really thrilled by the experience, but Tezuka can only pretend to be cheerful, and feels apart from the others. They’re all talking about things from the standpoint of knowing a lot about planes already (because they generally aimed for this since they were young).
There’s some talk from Yamada Kazuo (Fujii Ryusei) about settling things with people in Japan because they’re going to be spending a year and a half in America. What he means by that is confessing love. Oda also seems to have something to confess – to Kunikida Konosuke (Saito Takumi) – but she changes her mind when she sees the way he looks at Tezuka.
That doesn’t seem to be the only thing she has to settle, though.
But like Kunikida, our main concern is finally with Tezuka, who is practically in a state of panic as she realizes she was the only one who sat in the cockpit with no idea about what was going on. She expresses some of those doubts during a party thrown for her at her parent’s restaurant.
The comments from her friends aren’t exactly helpful. They say they can’t imagine her speaking English, and one of them actually jokes that he’ll avoid the planes she’s piloting!
Clearly, Tezuka needs some counseling, and she turns to her sister-in-flight, Oda.
But Oda is a bit stressed out, too, and they fail to connect for the first time in a while. Oda basically throws Tezuka out of her room.
Well, so much for teamwork. Instead of moping, though, Tezuka should really take Oda’s example and study up. She seems to only have a can-do spirit when she finds the problem easy to overcome, but to lose that spirit quickly when the obstacle is high.
I didn’t realize how completely bipolar she was until she asked Kunikida to let her quit. Really!? Is this the Tezuka we’ve come to know? It’s not something intrinsic – all she needs to do to catch up is some studying. Why is she suddenly a quitter? All those positive and optimistic things she’s said over the past three episodes seem to count for nothing.
To summarize, I like that they are finally giving Tezuka a bit of a challenge to overcome and some sense of doubt. I don’t like that her reaction to that is to immediately give up. But perhaps the writers can give us an explanation?
Kunikida tells her to hang on until the last lecture so that she doesn’t hurt the morale of the team, and she agrees. Of course, his own morale is a bit damaged by this, and he has to consult with his senpai Shinozaki (Iwaki Koichi) about the situation.
It’s a shock to both of them, since the first flight in the cockpit is actually something that’s supposed to get the trainees motivated, not something that ever leads them to quit. Shinozaki figures it out, though – Tezuka has lost her unfounded confidence. Well, that was a mighty big confidence bubble, though, and boy did it burst in a hurry.
But yeah, that certainly explains Tezuka’s behavior. And for the first time in this series, we’re really interested to see how she’s going to get over this post-irrational exuberance phase.
Since we didn’t see her studying the previous night, it comes as no surprise that she doesn’t have any answers in class.
Perhaps the first step in her rehabilitation is a talk with the master pilot?
But enough of the serious stuff. Cue the comedy relief as Kazuo makes his confession of love!
Suzuki (Nanao) decides not to dash his hopes right away, and tells him to ask her again when he’s completed his training in America. At least she’s attentive to his morale, and it looks like he now has extra motivation to get through the training successfully. Nice work from her to curtail her initial impulse to say something a bit too sharp that might have broken his heart.
Unfortunately, he’s too delusional to take her words in proportion, and instead believes that she’s already confirmed her love for him. I suppose that’s one way to promise hilarity in the future.
You know, Abeno Suzu (Sakuraba Nanami)’s constant paranoia – though justified – is getting a bit annoying and pointless because she never actually does anything about her sentiments except nag her boyfriend. I sure hope they don’t somehow drag her along to America.
I think the outline of this episode is pretty clear at this point. How will Tezuka get out of this slump?
Will there be any other confessions before people head to America?
For reasons I’ve already explained, I think this was the best episode in the series so far, and the first one to make me look forward to what happened next. Even though the sudden change in Tezuka’s behavior was jarring, the unfounded confidence explanation was acceptable, and ended up putting more color on Tezuka’s character.
Some of the subplots feel inconsequential and tedious. The writers haven’t been successful in making us care about any of the relationships in the series, and especially not the one Suzu and Taiji since we’ve mostly seen both of them exhibit negative personality traits. This was the first episode that the Kunikida-Suzuki relationship seemed halfway decent, though.
So, score this as things getting better for the series and let’s hope we see some real fun in the next episode, where the trainees should finally get a chance to fly something.