Oh yeah, this show was partially about aliens.
As predicted, the plot once again literally appears out of thin air as the show barrels toward its conclusion. We've got Ichika's sister, who goes from being worried to angry to concerned to helpful at the drop of a hat, a Federation law that Lemon predicted, and suddenly the place that Ichika was looking for is highly relevant to the plot and just so happens to be nearby. I've mentioned before that when this show has to deal with anything other than inter-personal relationships events seem to happen and then resolve themselves too easily, happening as the plot demands it rather than occurring organically. The show has picked up and dropped the "I'm looking for a place" plotline so many times that I'd dismissed it, just as the show mostly did, accepting it as an excuse for Ichika to travel to Earth and not expecting much more out of it. While the fact that it's become relevant is fine in and of itself, if it was going to end up being this important I feel like they could've set it up in a much better way. Also, like I mentioned earlier, Ichika's older sister sure changes her mind quickly. I realize that it's probably just the result of time constraints (she's only going to be in two episodes, after all) but her role in the episode basically broke down to giving an exposition dump and then completely changing her mind and deciding to help her sister. You'd think a decision like that would require more time to think about on her end since she came to the planet intending to take Ichika back and apparently this law is serious enough to send "rescue" pods that are fine with attacking their target. I just feel like it could've been presented better, since the relationships and romance part of the show is so well done.
Complaining and convenient plot twists aside, at least the show finally has a set conflict going into its final arc. We're also starting to get some resolution from the other relationships, with Tetsuriou taking the action movie approach by asking Mio out while they're being chased. I guess that means that Kanna is going to be the odd one out, but it seems like she's made her peace with that after the last episode, so all is good I guess. I do hope that the next episode has some kind of epilogue with Kanna meeting the right guy or going out into the world as her awesome single self. I just want to see her with a happy ending, since everyone else appears to be getting theirs, or are close to it. Speaking of endings, it's pretty clear where this show is going now but I am wondering how they will handle it. Will there be a Level-E-esque scenario, where suddenly humanity is aware of alien life? Or (this is my personal theory) will the "ancestor memory" that Ichika was following cause the aliens to realize that they came from Earth in the first place (which would explain why they are incredibly similar to each other)? Whatever happens though, as long as Ichika and Kaito get one last onscreen kiss and a happy ending, I'm good.
Images from Crunchyroll.com.