“I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you… stranger,” said the Joker in The Dark Knight. Unfortunately we seem to have living proof of this quote in Aika.
In all fairness, she has just survived a whole night’s worth of ordeal with spiders. A victory over one of her greatest fears would give her a lot of self-confidence. Now that she has conquered spiders, there is no way Aika would let her efforts wasted for nothing. She will have to win the School Trip to justify her battle against the spiders, if not to impress her fiancé.
It therefore isn’t really surprising that Aika has suddenly become one of the most aggressive contestants. In fact, her determination to win the competition now seems to rival that of Yukiji, and beats that of Hinagiku (who has half her mind on the well-being of others), Nagi (who takes the laid-back approach) and Hayate (who doesn’t seem to know what he is doing). This alone makes her one of the most dangerous players in the game.
Sure enough, Aika soon begins formulating plans to defeat the five formidable opponents: the Sanzen’in duo, the Katsura sisters, and – surprise – Isumi. For some reason Aika has not thought of Chiharu, despite her being just as smart. Come to think of it, the only two recognisable faces out of the other nine students are Izumi and Kayura. Has something happened to Chiharu?
Anyway, Aika decides to team up with the other nine students. It is unclear how exactly she is going to do this, but it seems that she cannot even decide whether Izumi is useful or useless, as she borrows money from her right after publicly agreeing that she is useless. Considering that Hayate is more or less the same in this regard (hello Kotetsu), maybe this kind of attitude is Hakuou’s interpretation of the word “courtesy”.
Enough to say, Izumi is just too nice that she doesn’t mind lending money to someone who insults her.
In the end, Aika’s (first) plan is quite straightforward: she tempts Yukiji into borrowing her 10,000 yen and heading straight into gambling (this is Las Vegas and she is an adult, after all). Once Yukiji loses all her money, she would borrow money again in order to win her lost money back. Only that this time, she only has the Ushijima Card, which grants you unlimited debt at 50% interest every 10 days.
Even the most financially careful people could fall deep into the trap of this unlimited debt, and we all know that Yukiji isn’t exactly a financially careful person. Sure enough, she ends up borrowing a whooping 20 million yen, and proceeds to lose all the money. This actually explains why Hinagiku absolutely forbids Yukiji to get loans: she knows exactly that this is going to happen.
Now it is time for Aika to be Yukiji’s saviour – she would take up Yukiji’s debt on the condition that she gives up. This is quite a predicament for Yukiji. After all, if she doesn’t give up, there is always the chance that she would win the competition, which gives her enough prize money to cover her debt. However, if she doesn’t win the prize money, she would have absolutely no way to repay her debt, and her life would basically be ruined.
A clever twist in Aika’s offer is that she doesn’t need an answer from Yukiji right now, and Yukiji can take the offer in the remaining 100 hours – until Aika gives up. As Kayura points out, this is a good plan to hold Yukiji hostage. Yukiji is now an unwilling ally of Aika, and when we come to think of it, they actually complement each other. Aika has the great mind to make master plans, which could then be carried out by Yukiji. It will take something special to beat this team.
On another note, we finally see Wataru’s mother making an appearance again, which should be obvious in hindsight because, hey, it is Las Vegas! Sure enough, plot(TM) enthusiasts immediately sees this as an opportunity to push the “King’s Jewels” plot forward. Let’s see if they are correct!