Unsurprisingly, we get to learn a little more about the past circumstances of Aki and Kai. It seems they “caught” the Elephant-Mouse Syndrome during a mass fainting incident on a ship. We’re told that to this day, no one knows what caused the mass fainting, but as the viewers, we’re given a faint lead. Twice in the episode, Kai refers to the launch of a H2 rocket four months prior with respect to the mass fainting. The language he uses (“we all watched”) seems to suggest that the same group of people who were present during the rocket launch was also on board the ship. Going through the two scenes, however, I couldn’t find anyone obviously present in both, aside from Aki and Kai. And perhaps significantly, Misaki didn’t appear to be present with them during the mass fainting. Regardless, the connection between the rocket launch and the mass fainting is being spoon-fed to us, and there’s also the fact that Aki and Misaki have become estranged since the incident. Or, as Highway more appropriately described, it’s Misaki who’s avoiding Aki.
We’re also told that only Aki and Kai caught the Elephant-Mouse Syndrome from the incident. I think it’s no coincidence that in all the depictions of the incident from the flashback, we never see two (or more, for that matter) people in contact with each other aside from Aki and Kai. That in and of itself is rather strange, as you’d normally expect a greater number of people to be in contact with each other just through regular interaction or as a result of falling over from fainting. Regardless, this contact between Aki and Kai is highly suggestive as to their condition. They are the only two who suffer from an alteration of time perception, and the effects are opposite for the two of them, at that. It might even be poetic to say that they must have somehow exchanged some amount of time perception on that day. Well, more accurately, Kai gained more time perception while Aki lost some. The “aftermath” shot of the two of them with people in the background makes this rather apparent.
Aside from the Aki and Kai focus, we do get to see a bit of the other characters this episode. We find out that Mizuka (the store lady) lost functionality of her legs in an accident 15 years ago, and that the mechanical ones she wears were given to her by Misaki. There’s also a little hinting that Subaru’s father might not exactly approve of his robot interests. And then we have Frau’s “formal introduction”. The girl sure is strange. From her initial smirk at Kai at the airport, I figured she would be one of those mischievous characters, but that turns out not to be the case. Instead, she acts kind of like a hikikomori, hiding out indoors and even in a moving box during transit. Her low, stuttering voice also suggests that she isn’t exactly a very social and outgoing person. I guess her sudden, awkward grins are an attempt to appear outgoing? They sure do contrast with her voice, if anything. And of course, her use of “internet speak” is undeniable evidence that she spends too much of her time online. Not that I’m one to talk about this.
All of this culminates to the moment we’ve been waiting for. The introduction of that mysterious girl in the ED! But wait, the show’s already over. I guess we’ll have to wait until next time to find out more…