We continue from the last episode with Itsuki learning that, somehow, PSO2 is not just a game – it’s reality. And that humans are disappearing because Dark Falz is looking for a new host. I’m sure that could be explained better, but Itsuki is far too busy feeling SPECIAL to question it much further than that. He starts training with Aika in his spare time and acts like he’s suddenly more important. ‘cuz, y’know, he’s under the impression that he’s some kind of secret hero.
This… this is going to be a painful episode, isn’t it?
So, it seems ever since his awakening, Darkers have been going after Itsuki far more often, and Aika’s commander is totally okay with him being bait. Itsuki is completely gung-ho when it comes to killing Darkers in his free time, but it seems he’s not as badass as he thinks, and he has to be saved by Xeno and Echo. Aika tells Itsuki to stay out of the fight for now, and now he feels bad. Boo hoo.
Meanwhile, the school festival preparations are still underway. Jeeeeeeeeze, still?
Anyway, Itsuki is suddenly being really helpful with the school festival because it seems he’s the kind of person that goes full steam ahead for better or worse. He was told to stay out of the fight, so he’s spending no time on PSO2 and is actually getting shit done. He’s no longer single-mindedly stalking Aika, so now he’s completely staying away from her. It’s like the man has no sense of moderation.
The Darkers are still drawn to Itsuki, however, and Aika is overexerting herself protecting him, so eventually the two have to come together and sort out all their drama. Itsuki finds his balls and fights off a powerful Darker, and Aika shows off some of her humanity and becomes closer to Itsuki. The two have some bonding that feels like we could’ve had six episodes ago, but I’m surprised we’re “only” at episode 9. It… feels like so much longer.