Episode 12, "Escape! Undersea Fortress Saluud!"
Synopsis: Imprisoned in Baron Ashura's underwater fortress, Kouji is rescued by Boss and his lackies. To Ashura's horror, Brocken begins bombing Saluud to punish him/her for taking off without Dr. Hell's permission and bringing a beacon (in Aprodai A) near their HQ. Kouji, Boss, and his lackies rescue Sayaka. After Brocken has left, Ashura decides to abandon Saluud. After defeating a Gamia android, Kouji and his group get in the Pilder and dock in Mazinger, but are confronted by Ashura, who tells them that the base is self-destructing, and escapes. Mazinger manages to get out of Saluud, but gets stuck on the ocean floor, until it's rescued by the Robot Corps, bringing with them the Jet Scrander module. Mazinger flies out of the ocean with it. Kouji later thanks the Robot Corps pilots for helping him.
This was a decent episode, not as good as the last, but the humor of it really made it enjoyable. What I enjoyed the most in the episode was Baron Ashura's child-like attitude towards the Mazinger's pilot module, the Pilder. He/she marvels over it like it was a shiny new toy, then has fun piloting it around, only to dismiss it as stupid as soon as he/she fails to dock it in the Mazinger. It revealed to me what I should have picked up on before, that Ashura really is like a child most of the time, crying because he/she can't get his/her way, having fits, going off and doin things he/she shouldn't be doing, but always looking to impress Dr. Hell somehow.
It's been a while since I've started this show, and I haven't yet mentioned the music. The soundtrack to this series is one of the best in recent memories. Every little piece of background music fits every scene it's used in, complimenting the scenes perfectly. It's not as beautiful, as, say, some of the pieces in Casshern Sins or the more tolerable pieces in FMA: Brotherhood, but I could argue that it does exactly what it should better than either's music. A far cry from the Giant Robo soundtrack in terms of proportion, but it's in a similar vein.
I think this episode worked well because Kouji looked like the main character of the series, and the show actually followed his doings, rather than the Kurogane crew. Tsubasa's group still remains my favorite group of characters, but it was good that we finally got going on some development for Kouji. This meant that half the cast of characters had to remain on the sidelines, but that's what you get when you have a huge cast, and most of them are more interesting than the main character.
I'm glad the Robot Corps actually proved useful for once, except perhaps Sayaka. Though she did end up saving Kouji by tossing him the gun at the right time (and topless!). Jet Scrander certainly looks like a useful module. I hope to see some mid-air combat soon.
3.5 out of 5