Strike the Blood – 20
「錬金術師の帰還篇I」 (Renkinjutsu Shi no Kikan Hen I)
“Return of the Alchemist I”
It’s the start of a new arc and Kanase Kensei is back in the picture (along with his Millennium Ring). It’s too bad for him that his return ends up short lived though, because a certain alchemist—one quite reminiscent of the one from Kara no Kyoukai—wants something, and he happens to be the one who has it. Well, at least he manages to survive somehow, which may be better than Asagi’s prognosis at the end of the episode…
All things considered though, it’s just more of the usual this week. The potential of Asagi getting tossed to the curb was something I didn’t see coming—SHE’S NOT DEAD DAMMIT, SHE BETTER NOT BE—but all things considered, this episode does a lot of what the previous arcs have done to great effect. For one, the start of the arc introduces yet another aspect of the series’ universe in regards to Alchemists and the Lion King Organization’s branch HQ. In turn, this gets combined with the return of Kanase Kanon (does this mean La Folia’ll be back soon too!?), Natsuki, and Asagi in the roles we’ve seen of them previously, which highlights the series’ uncanny ability to gradually introduce bits and pieces about the world while tying multiple plot-lines together.
Best of all, the series tends to ensure that none of the main cast gets left out for too long. Without exception, each arc tends to rotate the focus back to cast members that didn’t get as much focus in the previous arc, and it’s a superbly executed tactic that basically ensures that nothing is wasted in terms of potential plot devices. Basically, it ensures that there’s a diverse amount of paths the story can take—all while keeps things like the jokes at Akatsuki’s expense fresh, because it’s typically a different group of people doing it each time. It may be the same kind of joke each time, and it may even be the same person reacting the way they do, but the fact they aren’t always around makes it feel new everytime, and it’s just one of the reasons I come back to watch this series. You know—aside from the great frontal looks, maid outfits, and full-lengths we get on a weekly basis. Oh, did I mention the quality dialogue and great facial gestures (this is the face of true contempt!) too?
But yeah, as we look forward, it’s intriguing that they’ve bought back the Monastery from Kanon’s previous arc. If there’s one thing I forgot to ask about amid all of La Folia’s flashy ass-kicking, nose-bleed inducing antics back then, it was how the Monastery got the way it did in the first place, and it’s nice to see that they’re actually going back and addressing this in some way. Not only that, it’s connected to an entire arc of its own, and it’s great to see how all the puzzle pieces seem to be fitting together—not only for this arc, but the overall story proper. Indeed, it looks like we’ve only touched a bit of the iceberg that is Strike the Blood, and this week gives us some extra tidbits about Avrora too.
Sadly there’s only four more episodes left in the series’ current run, which makes it more and more likely we’ll be left with a lot of the major plot points untouched in some shape or form. For now though, I guess we’ll take what we have, and what we have are another decent spread of full-lengths below. It’s not quite as much as the previous weeks, but I’m pretty sure the coming episodes will have a spectacular spread to make up for it—especially given the things we saw in the preview…