Yo, that’s no way to talk to your imouto.
— News of Joe’s forfeiture has reached Fujimaki, and the mob boss is not the least bit happy. I expected that. What I didn’t expect was for Sachio to tag along. Why on earth did Nanbu take Sachio with him to see someone so dangerous? He’s just a kid.
— Joe is mad at Nanbu for stopping him at the end of last week’s episode. Stopping him from socking Mikio outside of the ring, that is. That’s called assault, man. I mean, I don’t know how the law works in this universe, but I bet you can’t just go around punching people because you’re mad at them. Joe is cool, but he’s also just kinda dumb, huh? I don’t need him to be a genius — and I don’t even mind the fact that he’s a bit of a hot head — but a little commonsense wouldn’t hurt.
— I thought Nanbu already knew Mikio’s plans.
— Fujimaki claims that Mikio can’t possibly have any hard evidence. He bluffed, and Joe’s team blinked. Can’t blame’em, honestly. If I was in their position, I’d blink too. But of course, I’m not cut out for the world of crime.
— Why should Sachio have to pay as well if Nanbu’s screws up again?
— Everyone has skeletons in their closets. If Joe has them, there’s a good chance Mikio has some, too. Fujimaki helps Nanbu get in contact with an engineer who used to work for Shirato. Needless to say, they manage to get him to spill the beans.
— I’m kinda surprised that a conglomerate as strong as the Shirato Group wouldn’t have all of its employees, both current and former, trapped under some ironclad NDAs. Sure, you could talk to a mob boss, but a company that big should be able to screw you over even harder.
— Our heroes are running out of time, though. Other than Yukiko, the board members have unanimously agreed to give Mikio the final spot in the tournament.
— Yuri warns Mikio not to get ahead of himself. He even tells the guy not to underestimate Joe and his team. Why would Yuri have so much confidence in those guys?
— So Mikio is smart enough to develop his own next-gen Gear, but he’s also tough enough to put his body on the line by entering Megalonia. Unfortunately, the story needs him to drop out. Yukiko also has control of the company, so the guy must be incredibly unlucky.
— Apparently, Mikio’s Gear isn’t really all that. Having a top-notch AI is definitely impressive, but his Gear doesn’t actually have one. Instead, Mikio is only winning because his Gear can detect how other Gears will move and react accordingly. This explains why he didn’t want to fight Gearless Joe.
— Nanbu wants to reach out to Yukiko, but Fujimaki warns him that he’ll find himself a stranger in strange land. He doesn’t belong in Yukiko’s echelon. I can’t say I disagree with that. Still, it’s not like he’s trying to be her friend. He just wants her help in arranging another fight between Mikio and Joe.
— The woman sees no reason why she should put herself out there to help Joe. After all, she still has Yuri, her ace in the hole. Even Mikio acknowledges the guy’s strength and power. This is why it never made much sense to me that Yukiko would be scared of Mikio. Sure, it’d be nice to keep Mikio out of Megalonia altogether, but does he really stand that much of a chance against Yuri?
— Elsewhere, Joe isn’t convinced that he can counter Mikio’s weakness. Apparently, Mikio looks at him with the same level as disdain as Yukiko. After all, those two are siblings. Nevertheless, even if Mikio’s Gear is borderline cheating, he couldn’t have gotten this far without knowing a thing or two about boxing.
— Nanbu says he’ll go to the press about how Mikio blackmailed them. Since Mikio doesn’t have any hard evidence on Joe, Nanbu argues that this will just look bad for both the Shirato brother and the tournament as a whole. Sure, sure… I can buy that. But why did he have to grab Yukiko’s wrist like this? Dude, keep your hands to yourself.
— I do love this show’s soundtrack, though.
— And thanks to something Yuri had said to Yukiko in the past, she can’t help but begrudgingly respect Joe as a fighter.
— The Shirato Group is powerful; Yukiko can keep Nanbu locked up in a room within the building, and there’s nothing he can do about it. Yeesh.
— She tells Nanbu, however, that the ceremony will proceed as normal. ‘Cause if you really think about it, the ceremony is a huge event. Everyone is tuning in. Society’s elite will turn out in droves just to be seen. Yukiko can’t just cancel something that big at the last second. She would look bad. Yukiko needs a way out, and Nanbu can’t give her that. I still expect her to help Joe out, though. It’ll just happen later.
— I still can’t wrap my head around the idea of a 4-man boxing tournament being this important.
— So far, the ceremony is sticking to the script; Mikio is announced as the last and final fighter. Joe, however, literally crashed the party on his bike. He begins pleading to Yukiko, begging her to give him one more chance to fight Mikio.
— Mikio taunts Joe with the fact that no phonies are allowed. Only “genuine articles.” As a result, Yukiko gets the perfect opportunity to use her brother’s own words against him. Mikio can’t get the last spot by default! In order for it to be genuine, he has to legitimately defeat Joe. Look, he said it! This way, she can pivot without losing face in front of everybody. It’s all about image and perception. She couldn’t go along with Nanbu’s plans, because it would’ve looked bad. Unfortunately for Mikio, he was seconds away from securing his spot, but he ultimately played himself. He should’ve just kept his mouth shut.
— Everyone came out for the official inauguration, but they got a heavy dose of a sibling rivalry instead.
— Also, the board members can’t be happy with this.