Episode 11, "Pincer Attack! Operation: Mechanical Beast"
Synopsis: Baron Ashura tries to prevent Kouji from docking the Pilder with Mazinger, but despite even having Boss and his lackies stowing away, Kouji manages to dock before Mazinger can be taken into the fortress Saluud. Kouji engages Ashura's Mechanical Beast minions underwater, even managing to stop the fortress sub with Mazinger's hands. Meanwhile, Tsubasa has one of the wrecked Gamia androids looked at by the scientists at Photon Power Labs, where they've already prepared a new module for docking with the Mazinger. Back on the surface, Kouji encounters more Mechanical Beasts, one of which has taking Sayaka hostage. Kouji has no choice but to surrender to Ashura and go into Saluud.
Kouji Kabuto... actually doing something in the show? There's a novelty! It even appears that his unconventional training with Tsubasa (or rather, with the old woman) at the Kurogane House has paid off, since he's actually kicking quite a lot of ass in this episode. I guess maybe Boss and his lackies stowing on board was some sort of weighted training, since Kouji comments on how much heavier the Pilder is and yet still goes so fast. I wonder if he'll have to wear a giant turtle shell on his back next.
I guess because the Kurogane Five didn't do anything in this episode, Kouji actually seemed like the main character in the show. Tsubasa spent the episode talking to the backers of the Useless Corps. At least the scientists have some decent ideas, but it's too bad the losers that pilot their giant robots are still around. Somebody kill off those jobbers, already. Again, Sayaka's awful piloting and weak robot has gotten Kouji into another bind, and now who knows how the hell he's going to save her and still keep Mazinger.
I almost feel glad for Ashura, though. He/she/it finally managed to get the Mazinger. I mean, when he/she/it inevitably fails to deliver it to Dr. Hell, there'll be... well, hell to pay, but the poor thing is sobbing all the time, let it have it's victory.
3.5 out of 5 (because Kouji actually did something this episode)