Youhei…bringing ice to fools
|This episode’s cold open was just a repeat of the last episode’s final scene. But right after the OP we see Youhei trying to make peace with his recent sense of betrayal…|
Plasta, The Royal Capital, or It is what it is
Youhei makes it plain to Bob 1 and Bob 2 that he is done serving witches
So thanks to the handy exposition dump, we now know that the royal capital of Plasta (lump, bulge, useless, or unwanted in Spanish? I liked ant congress better and the head better…) is heavily understaffed in terms of soldiering and protection. Two of the town’s guards are discussing whether or not the Knights of the Church will send aid; and it was interesting that both faith and cash were mentioned in nearly the same breath, as the king won’t pay up for their faith and services. This King, who has already authorized and aides and comforts Thirteen’s crusade, and his kingdom just got a few interesting wrinkles. Whatever Thirteen is doing, the result is straining the place on many levels, and he might just be looking to become the throne itself, instead of just the power behind it. Finally one guard wonders aloud whether or not this crusade versus the witches is actually doing normal folk any good, and if the growing legion of mercenaries is beneficial, or not, in the long run. That’s a fairly good set up for the tone of this episode.
I kinda wish he could have stayed there under better circumstances
It’s the mercenary attitude that comes into focus. I can image the beastfallen are making the absolute most of their present status, as many of them must enjoy a great hearty drink from the cup of schadenfreude. The country is caught between old fears and an enforced sense of gratitude; but let’s keep in mind that this is a cruel circle that both humans and beastfallen never fail to perpetuate. In that regard, Youhei’s ideal of running a tavern stands as a stark contrast, and not just in terms of it’s naive or rather dreamy quality. He wants fair work for fair trade. He wants to provide a welcome service. He wants to belong as himself no matter what, and more he wants a quiet place to rest. He’s decided to stop the hunt, he’s seen enough blood. This also stands in a sharp contrast to the drifting life both he and his fellows are part of, the perpetual violence they steep themselves in. He’s able to pour this out when one girl addresses him, not with fear, having seen his kind and just side, but with a need for help. What follows is like something from a storybook. But things take a turn after all the wistful romance. All that violence is something our tavern girl cannot forget either, and for some very horrific reasons. In a bitter storytelling turn she upends her own kindness, bringing tragedy back to the mix, dumping the food he made, spelling out that she wants him to be a more beastfallen mercenary than anything else. It is what it is….
She got a whole lot more than she bargained for….twice…
The second half of the episode goes by much quicker, but it doesn’t skimp on characterization or details. Youhei looked like he really wanted to get out on his own and collect himself, but he doesn’t get the chance when an old enemy comes after. Holdem seems to be a mercenary through and through, willing to sell out his own and work with the Sorcerers of State to eliminate Youhei. But the big cat is just to darn strong, or the Sorcerers are just to raw to be of use in the field. They made it so you couldn’t see who took the shot against Youhei, but I’m guessing it was lucky, as Maggie’s Drawers as the rest of them were. But I loved the scene for two details. One it calls back to the Human in a Bottle. Youhei revealed earlier that it would be to much trouble to be human now, as he knows he’s still in some danger and hig big cat body is still more than useful to suit. He regards the bottle after the big fight with a knowing grin. But what’s more important is how much he realizes that he is already human. That callback to his bit of fanservice earlier in the series brought back his thoughts of Zero’s faith in what his humanity very much already is. She saved his life with that “curse” now it’s time for him to pay her back by being the person she always knew he was.
Very well framed shot
Oh, I didn’t want him to carry the Zero
“See you in the morning, Albus…”
This was an incredibly captivating episode. This late in the season it’s good to have a show that encapsulates or ties in all that events that have come before it, and to do it with an enriching narrative approach is more than welcome. In that we see a number of ideas that come to a great place. Zero’s need for and trust in something other than herself and her magic, Thirteen’s probable turn to a despotic manaocracy, the bound and horrible fate of humans, beastfallen, and witches in one contained vignette, and finally that finely veiled clue droppage from Holdem. Will we finally find out if Albus really is a granddaughter or not? Will we find out if Thirteen is this mysterious Him, as I suspect? Will Youhei open that bottle? This and many more surprises await us in…
See you next time…