「ストライク・ザ・ブラッドII」 (Seija No Uwan Hen II)
“Right Arm of the Saint II”
Quick Recap: As Himeragi moves in next door to Akatsuki and officially becomes his observer, things get rolling on the plot development front as Combat Deacon Eustach of Lotharingia officially makes his hostile debut. As he and Astarte attempt to consume familiars from nearby demons for an unknown purpose, Himeragi steps in to try and stop him. Shortly after, Akatsuki joins the fight in order to protect her from what would be a fatal blow.
「ストライク・ザ・ブラッドIII」 (Seija No Uwan Hen III)
“Right Arm of the Saint III”
Quick Recap: The first fight ends with Eustach’s retreat as Akatsuki’s familiars end up dealing 50 billion yen of damage to the area. With Asagi’s help, Akatsuki and Himeragi find Eustach’s hideout in a former building held by Lotharingia company, Scheldt Pharmaceuticals. The second battle however, does not end nearly as well for Akatsuki, who ends up being decapitated while trying to protect Himeragi.
「ストライク・ザ・ブラッドIV」 (Seija No Uwan Hen IV)
“Right Arm of the Saint IV”
Here we go. The conclusion of the Right Arm of the Saint arc is upon us, and we get a whole bunch of developments to finish things off this week—including the expected revival of Akatsuki.
Of course though, that doesn’t prevent him from getting an earful from the teary eyed Himeragi, and I have to say, their interactions in the beginning part of this episode is a big reason I’ve liked this series so far. Because ultimately, it’s not everyday that you get two characters that complement each other as well as Himeragi and Akatsuki have in these first four episodes, and it’s something that showed this week especially in how easily they shifted between the serious discussions about their traumatic pasts and the more comedic moments involving Akatsuki’s supposed perversion. To say the least, there’s something quite natural about their interactions—kind of like being lifelong friends despite having just met—and it just makes it quite fitting that this arc and their interactions here culminate with Akatsuki finally having his first taste of human blood as a result of her.
With that said, it has to be noted that this also ends up setting the foundations for his decision to fight back against Eustach despite his initial unwillingness to do so, and it was admittedly a pretty neat tie in. Granted, I did have some slight issues with how they presented his dilemma and decision making moment in regards to this, but it wasn’t anything that took that much away from this or the accompanying scenes—especially when you consider the action-packed fight at the end and the revelation that Eustach theoretically has every right to try and forcefully reclaim the “right arm of the saint” that sits beneath the city as its cornerstone.
In the end though, the way I see it, what Akatsuki says ends up being exactly right: there’s a right and wrong way of going about things, and Eustach’s methodology—especially when you consider his usage of homunculus—was arguably on the latter side. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t at least feel for the guy, and it ends up being somewhat saddening that they had to fight each other in the first place. At least though, Akatsuki manages to gain proper control of his familiars and also decides against killing him too, and that’s arguably the best scenario that could’ve come out from this exchange. Notably though, this decision also locks him in as the kind of person who will make the hard choice and try to preserve everything he feels is right, and it’s something that will undoubtedly make life extremely tough for him in future weeks—even with his extensive powers. But hey, great power comes great responsibility, and you just gotta shoulder the burden—though in actuality, he’s only shouldering part of the burden now that Himeragi’s also by his side, which seemed to have been planned all along…
But yeah, the ultimate thing is Strike the Blood’s been a pretty nice ride so far. Sure, it’s got a fair share of generic elements, but the series as a whole is quite solid, and it gives off some very nostalgic vibes of Toaru Majutsu no Index too. Combine these facts with its great fit into my schedule, and you have the reasons why I have decided to pick up coverage of this series. I wish I would’ve had the time to do Tokyo Ravens (and/or a few other shows in what’s been a pretty darn good season) as well, but sadly it seems like it would not be too practical to do so. Alas!