「戦王の使者篇I」 (Sen o No Shisha Hen I)
“Messenger of the War King I”

In considering whether or not a series is worth watching, there are a variety of factors I tend to consider. The story, its characters, and the accompanying soundtrack are some such factors. As long as some of these are done well, I usually watch a series regardless of its flaws. As such, when I’m asked why I watch Strike the Blood despite its generic elements, I say “The reason’s simple. It’s because the series knows how to develop its characters.”

I’ve said it in my previous posts already, but I’ll say it again. The characters and their interactions are the reason why I come back every week. Strike the Blood might not have the most novel concept or the most complex story line, but it has quality dialogue and dynamic relationships that are a joy to watch. The characters fit each other like a glove and serious moments give way to light-hearted ones without feeling awkward or forced. We saw at the end of last episode already, but this week just makes this more apparent than ever before.

I’m sorry for peeking. I didn’t mean to.
No, it was my fault. I knew you were a pervert. I should’ve expected that you’d wander in like that and call it an accident.

Nearly a dozen such quality exchanges occurred in this week’s episode alone, and each of them either left me smiling or outright laughing out loud. The abuse that Akatsuki takes on a weekly basis is off the charts, and that’s only taking into account the abuse he receives from his school mates! We haven’t even gone into the abuse he receives from those outside the school, which continues this week as well.

You’d think the Combat Deacon’s decapitation from a few weeks ago was abuse enough already, but apparently not. Now he has a Lord—serving under the First Progenitor no less—testing his combat abilities, and it the poor guy just can’t get a break. Good thing he has Himeragi by his side, and she’s developing into quite the character in her own right. It’s not every day you see a heroine who can hold her own as well as she can—even if she does seem to pale in comparison to Akatsuki’s supposed “26 year old English teacher.” Apparently known as the Witch of the Void, Minamiya’s even got Astarte working with her now, and one wonders if she can’t just crush Akatsuki by herself if she wanted to. Talk about keeping company with some pretty scary people!

Ultimately, it’s an impressive start to the new arc. Great character interactions combine with plot development and new revelations about the Strike the Blood universe, and it’s arguably the series’ best episode yet—well, for full lengths anyway.

Full-length images: 04, 21, 26, 29, 34.

 

Preview

72 Comments

  1. My only major gripe with this episode was that I’d have liked to see more variety in terms of demons than ape-like and feline beastmen. In a way, that’s also pretty much my only major gripe with the series as a whole, that the designs are visually not that interesting. Since it’s sort of a fantasy series, I tend to judge the creativity of the design of monsters, spells, etc., but so far there’s nothing that really grabs you and makes you say, “Wow, that’s cool” or “That was pretty epic”.

    However, it is my only gripe, haha. Character interaction is surprisingly fun to watch given how cookie-cutter the archetypes seem at first glance. I don’t think I’ve ever rooted so hard for a sempai-kouhai couple. Plot development is proceeding at a nice pace too.

    Those full-lengths mmmmmmmmmmm

    NKNKN
    1. Honestly I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen exactly the same things in this show that I’ve seen in a dozen other shows. Like you said the designs of characters, monsters, the spells they cast, and the action sequences all feel very generic and are almost instantly forgettable. On the other hand Beyond the Boundary constantly presents visuals that really sink in to your brain and stay there. Both shows are walking a well worn path but Strike the Blood has so little to differentiate it from all the shows that came before it. Although executing a good, engaging storyline can make all the difference so I retain some hope for the show.

      Absaroka
    2. When it come to generics, archetypes, & clichés, we’ve been fed it so much that we don’t mind it. Instead we focus on the continuity of the subject matter – how things are jelling. Of course if we focused on the prior, it would be boring to say the least, so we DON’T do it.

      This story’s selling point is the main duo’s interactions, or at least the repetitiveness of certain jokes: some funny, some tasteless, some 1000 years old, etc. Naturally, finding any of it humorous is an acquired taste. You can even time it in the majority of shows that use this type of gag.

      Megas
  2. So far Strike the Blood has been surprisingly good. Considering the author’s previous anime adaptations, I’ve found myself enjoying this one a lot more. Haven’t watched Dantalion no Shoka yet (but from what I heard, it wasn’t very well received) and Asura Cryin’ was kind of an interesting idea with messy execution.

    That being said, I’m looking forward to more of the bow girl (apparently named Kirasaka Sayaka, voiced by Hayama Ikumi). Something about her just clicked with me visual-wise. Could be the wonderful zettai ryouiki, could be those striking emerald eyes. Or it could just be that she looks like she’s probably going to be a tsundere. I love me some tsundere.

    Kuntzy
    1. Yeah, sadly the general reception of Dantalion wasn’t that great, but I have to say that I loved watching it.

      I’d say it’s a bit similar to Strike the Blood actually. Wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, but overall solid with a dynamic partnership between the main duo.

      1. Kinda surprised since I enjoyed Dantalian as well. I found the story for Dantalian was actually pretty unique in its own way. That and Dahlia was uber cute (especially when she’s voiced by the totally awesome Sawashiro Miyuki)

        So far i’m enjoying Strike the Blood. Its definitely one of the shows i look forward to each week.

        Euzio
    1. That event has been depicted in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs & turned softcore by ancient Roman fetishists. It’s also one of the oldest perverted scenes in anime history. It will only die by fire when humanity is off’d by it as well 😉

      Megas
    1. Asagi >>> Yukina (also you should wait till the rest of the regular female casts are all introduced before making that point)

      though I have to say, the editors really loves Yukina (she has been on every single cover of the LN so far)

      jrj
  3. Natsuki the legal loli teacher will get her own arc and her own backstory in the arc 4 (assuming the anime will get that far), so I will refrain from saying much about her… aside from her being legal and being awesome…

    as the successor to Kaleido Blood, there will be no peace to Kojo for sure, but that make the show more awesome 🙂 One of the main reasons that Kojo always takes the abuse is because he is super weak most of the time (since he can’t use his summons or he would destroy everything in his path), but when he gets serious, it will be serious ass-kicking 🙂 Plus the real appeal of the show is not Kojo but all the girls! I for one is a totally Asagi fan…

    jrj
    1. I think it should get that far. It just got it’s blu-ray/dvd solicitations up and it’s going for 24 eps. If they go by the current pace at 4 eps per volume, it should be covering up to vol. 6. Granted, they could always shorten or lengthen a certain volume’s allotted amount of episodes.

      I guess it all depends on where the best stopping point is though.

      Kuntzy
      1. Someone on Animesuki who read the novels said vol 7-8 carry the latest plot developments and twists, while 4-6 cover minor character developments.Since there are 9 volumes and encounting,I’m thinking there could be some blending of novel storylines in future eps.

        zztop
      2. Well, I have read up to vol. 8 so far. Through vol.6, the story is in the current timeline, whereas vol. 7/8 are backstory and twist… Vol. 9 (the newest one) supposedly will return to the present timeline. The blending storyline had already occurred since the flashback in episode 1 was revealed in vol. 8… Natsuki’s arc lasted 2 volumes, so it should be interesting. And I can see how the anime will end with vol. 6 since vol.7/8 are hard to do given the different timelines 🙂

        jrj
      1. Asagi will get her first chance to shine in this arc… well, the OP and first arc already showed some of the special things about her…
        Plus even in the LN there are still a lot about her that is not revealed yet…
        All that aside, I just really like her, more so than Yukina at this point anyway haha

        jrj
  4. Definitely rooting for Asagi right now. Too bad she probably has no chance; Kojo and Himeragi are practically a married couple right now. And it’s kinda funny that the headphones guy is pushing Asagi and Kojo even though he knows Himeragi was sent to be with Kojo. Either he actually thinks she has a chance or he’s a little twisted. Poor Asagi.

    Skye
    1. Asagi is the headphone guy’s best childhood friend, so he cares for her very much like a younger sister… Also although Yukina is strong, I wouldn’t rule out anything at this point 🙂

      jrj
  5. it’s amazing how much STB resembles Index series.
    well both LN, but this one in parcitular resembles Index. yet, it is tough to compete Index who run for almost a decade. its world is much more developed than STB.
    let’s put Index aside. STB on its own. it still has a lot to prove. I am not seeing that much up until now. it’s mediocre. I wonder if it can pull out of the hat some magic and bring us a fine arc. I hope it does. I wonder where this arc is gonna take us.

    thedarktower
    1. As a big fan of Index, I still don’t see the resemblance here.
      If anything, this is more similar to Campione than Index. Normal highschool guy who has an overwhelming power that he can’t use properly, women following him around and defending him from small time enemies while he takes on the big guns, other associations watching him as he’s a big oddity that can upset the balance of power of the world, bloodsucking/kissing shenanigans.
      Kojou’s power isn’t even remotely similar to Imagine Breaker. So yeah.

      1. I am not talking about the stuff like how imagine breaker is like Kojou power (clearly it is not) or things like that.

        I am talking about the performance. Koujo is acting similar like Touma. surely he hasn’t the famous slogan “such misfortune”, but he sure is misfotrune, getting himself to pervert scenes. helping and accompanying Himeragi exactly the Touma is doing.
        there is also his other friend(forgot his name..motoki?) which reminds Tsuchimikadi (again, not outside, but their behavior).
        the world also gives the same feeling with all those orginzations (they are churches or reminds that kind) and mystery. how there is 4 people of “super-level” (the primogenitor) and more.

        so basically the atmosphere and performance is resemble Index.
        don’t get me wrong – clearly Index is Index and has a lot more.
        but there is similarties between the two. yet I want to judge STB as its own.

        thedarktower
      2. Few things are similar with Index:

        In addition to the common anime tropes, you also have:

        1. A blank girl that talks like a tool (Astarte vs. Misaka Sister)
        2. A society supernatural beings are accepted as norm
        3. Cults: Index has church, magicians, espers. STB has church, magicians (attack mages), and vampires.

        Personally…

        I hated index. Personal dislike for the design for Touma, Misaka, Sisters, Kuroko, etc. The plot was decent but for some reason the character designs never appealed to me U.U

        Forgive me Index fans.

        flCer
  6. I watch it for the plot… in every sense of the word. 😀
    https://randomc.net/image/Strike%20the%20Blood/Strike%20the%20Blood%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2004.jpg
    https://randomc.net/image/Strike%20the%20Blood/Strike%20the%20Blood%20-%2005%20-%20Large%2034.jpg (Gotta love how the Lion King Organization trolled her by specifically mailing her a dress just for the occasion. With her 3-sizes written out for Kojo to see XD)

    No seriously, fanservice aside, I’m quite enjoying the plot and its character interactions as well despite some very cliched sci-fi/fantasy settings like feline beastmen and the such.

    Legal Loli Natsuki-chan has gone and recruited her own loli subordinate Astarte after Kojo rescued her from the clutches of that lolicon deacon.

    If there’s one minor gripe, it’s that the character design for Himeragi and Kojo’s sister Nagisa is a bit too similar. If it weren’t for Nagisa’s ponytail and eye colour, I could’ve sworn they’re twins.

    echykr
    1. Looking at the series it’s not just those two. The characters are, like the show, a bit generic. The only real differences between them are their hair style, hair color, hair eyes and height.

      As long as they don’t introduce too many characters it’s not really a problem. We don’t need more then Himeragi anyway, plenty of service!

      The Shizard
    1. Not to mention the double whammy of seeing him and Yukina with a letter, believing it to be a love letter. Poor girl. (But how could she seriously believe someone would use a black coloured envelope for a love letter?)

      echykr
      1. I believe this show needs more Harem development… But, on second thought, just Himeragi monopolizing her ‘senpai’ all for herself is enough for the love story.

        Red HeartGold ZX
      2. I really, really like the fact that they seem to be pushing the love-story angle instead of the harem angle. When you’ve got two characters with outstanding chemistry like Yukina and Kojou, you’re definitely better off pushing harem antics aside, imo.

        Altherion
  7. Now I have a better understanding of why I am eager to come back to this show week after week, a lot of it having to do with the character relationships. I’m also pretty interested in Himeragi’s past and figures from it popping up sometime. Plus there’s the kind of fanservice I appreciate most, which is basically: attractive characters in fashionable outfits xD

    rising7
  8. Every week I like this show a little more. There are some cliche moments (i.e. guy innocently walks in on girl changing…moment of silence…stuttered excuse…death flag for guy), but the show handles them well. There’s definitely a good chemistry IMO b/t the male and female lead characters here even if it’s the same sempai-kouhai relationship we’ve seen dozens of times before.

    Akatsuki isn’t not one of my favorite male leads (though coincidentally(?) he shares the same name as one of them, Akatsuki Ousawa), but I do like him – something I don’t take for granted anymore with male leads. Personality wise, he’s a pretty normal guy though I do see some signs of “oblivious to romantic interest” (aka “Ichikaitis”) occasionally. Definitely like Himeragi – especially the fact she can hold her own instead of being a more cliche damsel in distress. Plus, she’s not instantly all over Akatsuki.

    The first “arc” was OK in terms of plot IMO – really more of an introduction anyway, and it looks like things are picking up on that front. On an execution level, the show remains strong IMO. Transitions from comedy to more serious moments flow naturally and the pacing is good. My biggest complaint is what NKNKN posted above – the “demons” all look the same. Not asking for a huge variety, but there should be SOME variation. At the very least maybe have them all be from the same “clan” (type) which explains why they look so similar. If you’re going to do a supernatural/fantasy type show like this, that kind of detail needs to be addressed.

    daikama
    1. there are actually quite a bunch of different factions (the “demons” you are referring to) in the story, it is just that the story haven’t got to a point where many of the factions are revealed yet… just to give some examples: vampire and their familiars, beastmen (like the werewolf in this episode), homunculus, and magicians are all different (maybe they don’t look that way to you right now since most of them assume human look for the most part)

      As to the comparison between that Ousawa Akatsuki (凰沢晓月) and this Akatsuki Kojo (晓古城) here… Just for your information their names are actually different if written out in Kanji or Chinese character (plus for Kojo it is the last name, while for Akatsuki it is the first name), but yeah I agree that Kojo is rather lame compared with him haha. Really wish Hagure Yuusha get a season 2 (the LN has been getting crazy lol)

      jrj
      1. @jrj: Thanks for the explanation. Glad it gets explained later, but perhaps even just a throw off line such as “another one from the “beastman” faction…” or “another beastman… must be from xyz faction.” would help the viewer understand why they all seem so similar.

        Yeah, I’d like to see another season of Hagure Yuusha AND Mondaiji-tachi for that matter. 😀 Izayoi was another fun male lead, though he doesn’t quite have Akatsuki’s (Hagure Yuusha) “lovable rogue” type charm. At least you can read the LNs. Mondaiji-tachi’s LN translation has stalled since summer :<.

        daikama
      2. No problem, love to have discussion about the stuff I enjoy 🙂 I guess the LN tend to have a little more explanation… the important people and their factions (power and factions) will all be explained… Like vatola guy or whatever his name is is from the first progenitor’s clan, whereas Yukina is from lion king org, etc. The problem is to keep up with all the factions and powers as it gets pretty crazy in the later arcs haha

        As to Mondaiji… Show Spoiler ▼

        I really wish english translation process has gone smoother 🙁

        jrj
      3. Wel at least Mondaitachcu-ji has somebody translating it, I wish anyone would translate the Strike the Blood light novels, the original source always has some sort apealing even thonugh the anime is quite good as well.

        haseo0408
  9. Kojo: Wonder who I can bring to the ball? I can’t I can’t possibly bring Nagisa or Asagi. (Poor Asagi just got shafted without even knowing)
    Yukina: You know you could only bring someone who knows your true identity to the ball, as well as properly protect you, right? (Hint hint)
    Kojo: Hmm, guess I’ll have to bring Natsuki-chan then.
    Yukina: WHAT?! T___T But there’s someone who fit those conditions better! O__O!!!

    Oh Yukina, you’re REALLY hinting hard at wanting to go with your Sempai, don’t you? XD

    echykr
    1. I wonder what the Lion King Organization is planing to do with Yukina, yes, they send her as lover or bride in order to manipulate Kojou but so far that plan has gone to hell, think about it, Yukina is too sweet and innocent to try to seduce the guy and she´s genuinely falling in love with him and if the previous arc was any indication she´s more than willing to betray Simba id it means to do the right thing.

      haseo0408
      1. I am assuming you have read some LN since you know some events that haven’t been shown in the anime yet… so here is what I think after reading vol.8: Show Spoiler ▼

        jrj
      2. The poor bastards don´t know the first rule to control the uncontrollable: they simply cannot be control; second rule: trying to control it is going to comeback and bite you in the butt.

        haseo0408
      1. I don’t remember this being discussed in anime, but basically Yukina’s lion king org and Natsuki’s attack mage (is that the right name?) org are sort of competitors… It’s like the secret service vs. normal police force… not to mention Yukina may believe that Kojo is secretly a lolicon

        jrj
      2. It was already discuss in episode 2 when Akatsuki and Natsuki-chan had a talk. She also said that the Lion King Association is Kojou’s natural enemy. As of this episode it doesn’t seem that the loli teacher knows Yuki is from there.

        I wish that loli teacher would be Koujou’s 2nd partner in the future.

        Vaan
  10. Seriously this is a good anime. I was deluding myself in watching only big budget shows this season but this won me over. Sure this anime looks generic and the animation is standard but the dialog, character chemistry and story is good. I can’t say the same for other shows because all of them are experiments in storytelling. If you notice the storytelling of Strike the Blood is nothing new, no offense, but it’s done well that I can’t help but be intrigued by it. Other shows are doing a new approach in storytelling which is good but the problem with that is that it’s hard to get into it because we are alienated by the “newness” of it. This show knows what it’s doing and it shows.

    MilkfishCop
  11. I HAVE A COMPLAINT …. because in the scene where the protagonist sucked the blood of Himeragi was not good enough. I was betting that this scene was going to be very very similar to the one in Campeone (including the length of time, noises and leg movements).

    tendo
  12. This episode was so full of fun moments…
    -if she was so genre savvy about possibility of perverted “accidental” intrusion, why didnt she lock the door?
    -being tsundere… for badminton!
    -shippers on deck! (Motoki…)
    -Minamiya-sensei being such badass… and taking up Astarte as apprentice – nice job!
    -being mistaked for bad cosplayer, what a sad fate for attack mage…
    -worse still, being mistaken for a love confession…
    -“we’re not that close, just eating under same roof” – one can’t blame poor cashier-lady for misunderstanding…
    -“pick me as your escort to the party!” really Himeragi almost stated it directly…
    -Lion King Org. playing Fairy Godmother for our Cinderella… complete with measurements!
    -Vatler raising BL flag!

    ewok40k

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