Tears to Tiara – 03
As Arthur and the Gael people prepare to head for the land of Albion, Arawn gets attacked by a girl armed with a bow and a dagger. He is easily able to restrain her, and it turns out that she’s Morgan, a warrior that Arthur had sent to prepare a ship for their journey. That ship got taken by the Empire though, and both Arthur and Morgan accept responsibility for the failure. Arawn realizes that nothing will be accomplished by punishing them, but because Arthur worries about setting a bad example for the others, Arawn proposes that, since Morgan lost a duel to him, he’ll take custody of her, effectively making her his second wife. Sometime later, Arawn and company assault the port where the Empire is keeping the ships. Arawn takes Arthur, Riannon, and Morgan with him to open the gate out of the harbor while Ogam leads the rest of the men on the attack to secure a boat. Everything goes according to plan, but once the gate is opened, Arawn’s group encounters Gaius, the leader of the Empire’s Albion Expeditionary Force.
After sending the others to the ship, Arawn faces Gaius alone, and Gaius wants to know if Arawn is the legendary Demon King. Arawn, however, feels that they see him how they want to see him. Gaius then throws a special dagger at Arawn, and Arawn is forced to use his powers to block and deflect it. Since that didn’t work, Gaius questions what Arawn’s goal is, Arawn claims that he’s not after royal powers but rather the royal way. Gaius doesn’t understand the difference, but Arawn escapes onboard the ship and only explains that Gaius will be dead when he understands the true meaning of that. The ship then sails out of port and into the open sea. Unfortunately, Arawn had gotten injured by the dagger that Gaius threw, and while Riannon and Morgan aren’t able to heal it, Ogam is. Ogam recognizes that the injury was caused by something made of electrum, and he reminds Arawn that it was an electrum wound that claimed his life in the past.
Arawn then asks Ogam about the Empire that Gaius mentioned, so Ogam explains that after the last great war, humans built the Albion kingdom, and it prospered for 300 years until the blood lineage of Arawn’s friend Pwyll ended. The ensuing power struggle split the kingdom, and to Arawn’s surprise, their current enemy is an empire created by man. As Arawn is thinking about this later, he is approached by Arthur who wants to fight again. Arawn defeats Arthur this time by knocking the sword out of his hands, and afterward, Arthur admits that he was doing this not as the First Warrior but as Riannon’s older brother. He wants Arawn to make Riannon happy, and Arawn agrees. The next morning, the ship approaches a land mass that they identify as Albion.
This episode was like a tale of three halves, and I say three halves because it felt like there was more than just one episode’s worth of material packed in here. The fight between Morgan and Arawn was nicely done, but Arawn’s subsequent adoption of Morgan as a second wife seemed really rushed. I mean, one moment she’s trying to kill him and the next moment she can’t bear to be away from him? And then there was the assault on the port which I found to be a pretty exciting action sequence even though Arawn’s group was fighting grunts who were clearly outmatched.
After the confrontation with Gaius, so much had happened already (especially compared to the first two episodes) that I thought that the half-hour was almost over. But no, there was more, and that’s where things got less exciting and more confusing. There seemed to be a lot of references to the past and to Arawn’s backstory that I didn’t really get, and I’m left wondering things like what Arawn’s enemy in the past was if it wasn’t humans, and what was with that monster. Obviously it’s still early in the series, so they don’t have to explain everything yet, but I am reminded of how confused I was with the flashbacks in Utawarerumono, and I suspect this won’t be the last time. In any case, this was overall still a pretty good episode, and next week looks to have the addition of some more girls to Arawn’s harem.