“Black Demons Contract”
Guren & The Figureheads:
We spent less time in school this week, which means we can finally get on with the story that lies ahead. Though progress was made, this was a slower burner of an episode. First off we have Guren’s meeting with the other high-ranking officers of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, which I wish lasted longer than it did. By rules of shounen, these guys are powerhouses that will likely make their appearances when it matters most, but for now it’s Hiiragi Tenri (Fujiwara Keiji) who makes the biggest impression. He’s Shinoa’s father and the General of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, and has ‘chaotic good’ written all over him (or maybe chaotic neutral, or chaotic evil? – definitely chaotic something). I’ve heard a little about his character and how he ties in with Guren’s past thas was explored in the LN prequel – but unless that part of the story is adapted, please refrain from spoiling others in the comment section with details of what will happen, even if it seems obvious.
Guren is still a funny one. He’s every bit a brat as Yuu, yet he’s managed to rise in the ranks and understands the importance of working as a team. We’ve still to see him in action (or anyone for that matter) so I hope that time come soon so we have a reason to believe he’s worthy of his spot. This episode didn’t have any fights or conflict, which I think Owari no Seraph is sorely missing, but I did like what we got this week. Yuu failing his test spectacularly is a bit typical, as is Kimizuki acing his, but the good stuff comes when Guren finally accepts Yuu’s challenge and moves the plot forward. All those who can remain conscious as Guren releases his powers are the the ‘chosen ones’, and funnily enough it’s Yoichi who is the least fazed or affected by the demon powers. It felt like great injustice for the others to later tell him he should turn back from the upcoming trials because they see him as weak. I’d argue that the glimpse we’ve seen of Yochi’s past is the most interesting of them all, so it felt good to see him stand up for himself and not give into peer pressure. I hope this kid becomes a powerhouse – he deserves it.
Mika’s Visit to the Orphanage:
The vampire side of things is still the most interesting side of the story, even if we see much less of it. Nor did I expect to like Mika as much as I do. It was great to return to the underground vampire city again – it was like stepping back into a museum of gloomy watercolours. For me, Mika revisiting the orphanage was the standout scene of the week: a quiet moment that needed no dialogue to show how the tables have turned in a painful way. The captive children have been replaced, and it’s now Mika who is the captor. This story is a complete tragedy for everyone involved, but I can’t look away. The more we see of the inner workings of the vampires, the more I’ll become invested. I still have a feeling that they may not end up being the main foe to humanity.
The Fluidity of Yoshinari Kou:
The art and animation in the past few episodes has been on the stiff side, so it was nice to change things up this week. Yoshinari Kou (Dog Days, Bastard!!, White Album) animated most of the first half of the episode – so if you thought it looked different, that’s why. His style is fluid, if a little unfinished. There were parts where the scale of the characters was off, but his character animations were a nice change for what we’ve been getting. It’s hard to capture the bouncy movements of the characters from screenshots, so I’d recommend checking out his key animation in motion.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Another slow episode, but Mika’s side of the story delivered an emotional scene at the orphanage, and it looks like Yuu & Co are going back into their memories to fight off their demons and inherit the weapons that they will use in battle. The OP does spoil who gets what, but the outcome should be fairly obvious regardless. Hopefully we’ll say goodbye to school lessons after next week if we’re lucky.