「凶刃ノ痕」 (Kyoujin no Ato)
“Scar from an Assassin’s Dagger”
The conclusion of the second movie with Rygart about to abandon Hodr and Sigyn to their fates was pretty emotional for me, and really touching when he decided to go against his father’s advice to try and save his friends, so it’s been a pretty grueling wait for this third movie. It was incredibly sad seeing both Hodr and Sigyn say goodbye to Rygart knowing very well that it was going to be the last time they see him before they’re executed, and even sadder considering that Sigyn still has feelings for Rygart that he had no intention of reciprocating. Thankfully, he stayed to do what he can as the only person who could ever stop Hodr and Zess from fighting, and from that moment on, I was completely captivated by every aspect of this movie series. The characters, the Golems, the fantasy world, all of it.
While each movie is relatively short, spanning about the length of two episodes, there doesn’t appear to be any shortage of powerful scenes within that time frame. The battles between Golems always seem to deliver in that regard, and watching Rygart plow down Argath in his newly-armored Delphine set the tone for the rest of the movie. It was pretty intense watching his fight with Zess unfold, and I really thought for a moment that Rygart was going to kill his friend right there and then. I could really sense Cleo’s tearful explosion of rage shortly after, as she plunged right into Baldr’s forces with very little concern for herself. Then there was Elekt hesitantly abandoning her to save Zess, which made it really hard not to feel for them even when they are the ones invading. If there’s one thing that this series has done really well, it’s showing both sides of the story and how there really are no winners in war. Knowing what I do about both sides and how friends are fighting one another, I’d go as far as saying it’s been nothing but tragic thus far.
In hopes of seeing an end to it, I was curious about the direction the story would’ve taken if Zess was captured instead of Cleo. I gather nothing would have been resolved any quicker, but it would’ve been interesting to see Zess’ reaction to Krisna’s surrender conditions. I highly doubt he would be okay with them, that’s for sure. What I can’t foresee is what he would do in light of them, especially when his older brother Loquis (Hashi Takaya) is the Secretary of War for Athens and the one pushing for the invasion of Krisna with the secretive motive of securing their quartz mines. I suspect that eye-opening revelation will come to Zess at some point, after which he’ll probably try to do something about it within Athens. It’s probably still too early for that development though.
In his place, Cleo has proven to be a really unique character who’s able to hold back against her enemies, even after both Lee and Argath were killed. Sigyn’s attempt to reach out to her and prevent her from committing suicide didn’t go any smoother than I was expecting, so watching their precarious conversation was riveting in its own way. However, Cleo’s been made out to someone who’s been misguided by all the twisted history she’s been taught, suggesting that she may come around and try to put a stop to the war. She’s definitely shown quite a bit of depth to her character, beyond the amazing body she has for a 12 year-old, much to Rygart and just about everyone else’s disbelief. If there’s one thing that I wanted her to learn, it’s that Rygart, Hodr, and Sigyn are good friends with Zess, which she sort of did from Rygart’s talk with Hodr’s owl, Graham.
I’d imagine things will only get uglier from hereon in, now that the seemingly kind but actually ruthless Borcuse (Nakai Kazuya) has been pardoned for his war crimes so that he can put an end to this war quickly. On Krisna’s side is Baldr’s son Girge (Toriumi Kousuke), who’s also been pardoned for a yet to be revealed heinous crime, and been tasked to pilot Cleo’s captured Golem. The more honorable Io, whom Borcuse’s daughter Leda (Sasaki Nozomi) loves, will likely have to keep his commander in check, while Rygart gets the equally difficult task of killing Girge if he does anything suspicious. Internal and external conflicts abound. Luckily, I don’t have to wait very long this time, with the fourth movie slated for DVD/BD release later this month on February 25th.
* Sigyn’s body proportions are much more believable as a 25 year-old.