「Close Encounter」

Run like the wind! There’s a damsel in distress murderous pretty-boy demon in distress who needs saving!

It all comes down to character. That’s what I’ve long known, intellectually, but some stories reteach the lesson. (Obligitory side note: It’s not always about the characters. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei has meh characters, but some viewers vibe off the world enough to love it. World can have a personality all its own, but that’s a dicier proposition to depend on.) Why am I saying this? Because my favorite part of the episode was when Nina revealed that her teacher was none other than Favaro, and the corresponding surprise with which this news was met.

I know, I know, I sound like a broken record. It’s all about Favaro with me. But it is, actually. The fact was obscured with the first season because Favaro was always there, but now that he’s not, the lack of felt. This, even though I actually enjoyed the whole arm wrestling bit, and I find Nina’s blushing frenzies to be amusing. But then she rushed off to save Azazel, and I was left wondering why. What made her do that? And the problem, I realized, is that her character hasn’t been established well to a deeper level.

Kaisar has. He’s a conflicted goodie two-shoes in a bad system. And that’s just what’s been established this season—I could go back to the first season and pull out the reasons that animate Rita, Bacchus, and even Hamsa (though this episode actually did a better job of showing off Hamsa than most of the first season did—another element I enjoyed). But why is Nina rushing off to save Azazel? Because he’s pretty? Because she was oblivious to all those other demons’ suffering, but this one she knows? (Though that’d be a very human reaction.) It’s not clear—and passive/malleable is poison to the audience.

Which shows why Favaro is necessary. It was always clear what animated him, and without making that clear with Nina, it gets all wobbly. She’s the only main character with any damn charisma—Azazel is yelly, Kaisar is an idiot, and we’ve got to go down to Rita, Bacchus, or Hamsa to find anyone else with an iota of magnetism—which means she’s gotta be the draw. But I don’t understand why she’s saving Azazel. I can guess, but I don’t know, not in the same way that I know what motivated Kaisar or Azazel.

The frustrating part is, if this season started out featuring Nina AND Favaro, I think it would be awesome. I think there could be some good chemistry between them, with Favaro duping and exploiting Nina as his muscle during their bounty hunting adventures, only to get his comeuppance when her natural Nina-ness backfires on him (see Kaisar’s concussion, but deserved). Which is probably what will happen eventually, but in the meantime, ugh! Slogging through. That’s why it took me until today to blog this, even though I went full Office Space yesterday (I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be).

Which is all a long-winded way to say that I’m not going to be blogging this. Which is going to annoy me if Favaro shows back up and it gets awesome, but I’m not down for the slog in the meantime. I will be watching it though, and you can probably expect a finale post at least. Thanks for reading, and what’s that thing? Baha Baha Baha Soul? You get the idea.

Random thoughts:

  • Why are those guys more confused by the strong girl than they are the talking duck? o.O
  • Why is it ironic that Bacchus and Hamsa are the last two gods living among men? Are you sure you don’t just not know what irony means? Is it like rain on your wedding day? *drops mic*
  • Oh sure, show yourself like an idiot, instead of taking out the air support first, then using your teleporting powers to flit around the edges, taking out vulnerable troops and sowing panic. No wonder Azazel needs to be rescued.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Guardians of the Galaxy, Glee, & Firesign; That’s not supposed to go there . . .; The Carcer Principle; and Fire, further.



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  1. I thought it was obvious that Nina wants to save Azazel because their trip to the demon slums made her realize that Azazel’s goal is righteous, even though his methods aren’t, so she wants to save him from getting himself killed. Also he’s really, really pretty and it would be a waste for such a pretty boy to die.

    “Why is it ironic that Bacchus and Hamsa are the last two gods living among men?”
    Because the only reason Bacchus and Hamsa are living among mankind in the first place is because they were kicked out of Heaven. So while before gods could come and go among humans as they pleased, now the only gods who can do that are the two who aren’t deemed to be worthy of that honor.

    1. That’s probably the reason, yeah, but it’s more of an assumption. Like I said, it’s a matter of it not being clear, mostly because Nina’s character isn’t that clear (problems with pretty boys aside). Kaisar has even more doubt than she did, but it’s clear why he’s acting as he is. Not so with Nina. We have to assume.

  2. Perhaps they’re holding back on reintroducing Favaro so that Nina has a chance to get established first? I remember reading one anime writer’s explanation as to why he held back introducing a popular character in a pseudo-sequel: it was because he’d previously worked on a sequel where the original work’s protagonist ended up overshadowing the new one.

    1. I understand, and sympathize, and even endorse that idea (in theory). The issue is that Nina ain’t strong enough (as a character—clearly she’s physically strong enough to do damn near whatever she wants) to hold up the show on her own. If she were constructed slightly better—if it were clear why she’s acting the way she does, instead of not so much—that could work.

      What I mean is, it may have been a good idea to attempt it this way, it just doesn’t mean it’s working. It’s not totally failing either! It’s just too much of a muddle so far.

    2. Yes good idea but Nina is just too simple a character by her role in the story to be that catching. Nina a fine Luke Skywalker but Luke needed all the colorful people he runs into to make it fun.

  3. I assumed the reason why she ran off to save Azazel is that she ironically needs the reward money attached to him as a bounty but it was kinda ambiguous. But otherwise I’d still say she’s a fairly well established as a character; Well established as a mystery character

      1. Ya see, I don’t agree. It was instantly clear that Favaro was a clever, self-serving mercenary out for his own good above all else. His actions, and his interactions with Kaisar in the first episode, made that clear. And part of what made him work so well is that he started out with a clearly defined character type, even if it was a bit of a trope, and then diversified into a unique character from there.

        With Nina, she has a character type—the bumbling newbie—but it get muddled by her strength, the dragon thing, her affection for hot guys. Which are not bad things, they could separate her from her underlying tropes even quicker! But it hasn’t escaped the muddle. That’s why multiple people has mentioned multiple reasons why she rushed off to save Azazel, and I can’t honestly rule out any of them. We just don’t know, whereas with Favaro, we knew exactly why he wanted to get that damn demon tail off.

  4. Well I must be in the minority because I am arguable enjoying this more than the first season. Don’t get me wrong, I love Favaro and am eagerly waiting for his return, but I really like Nina. I think the current characters are holding the story up pretty well. She is easily more interesting than the main girl of the first season who I barely even remember.

    1. On that, we agree. She was effective enough as a plot token, but I don’t remember much about her actual personality. Nina is an improvement on her—just not an improvement on Favaro. Hence why this could be even more awesome later on, depending on how it goes.

  5. Sad to hear ya won’t be blogging this weekly, I’ve been enjoying it a lot! Sure Nina’s no Favaro but I’m happy with the direction they’re taking her character in so far. Seems clear to me that she doesn’t want to be part of Azazel’s damfool crusade, but also doesn’t want him to get killed. I also like how her embarrassment around hot guys seems to be more a “Oh shit, I’m about to turn into a dragon!” thing than a crazy excessive level of horniness. I’d hazard a guess that every one of Nina’s villagers has some trigger that causes them to transform, and that hers is a hot guy…

    Dr. Hochmeister
  6. Major problem with the threaten hostages plot with Azazel. Azazel is stated to not care about humans at all. There is no reason a smart evil Azazel like in first season cannot do a counter hostage operation instead of showing up to die. Get Baccus to do some leaflets saying i will leave the normal civilians alone if you free your captives. Citizens of the city the King does not care about your lives if he executes innocent members of my kind. I have only killed those who oppress and enslave my kind but I will change that if the King kills his hostages. Your King is responsible for the fires I set tonight to drive you together let us hope I do not have to kill ten of you for each the King kills. Let out the leaflets, set fires, ambush small patrols and if learning of King killing deamons start killing humans. This should at least pull the King into a running fight.

    Second old Azazel did not seam the type to worry about necessary casualties in his forces. No need to throw life away trying to save probably dead anyway sooner or later captives.

    Stilts I let you restart blogging if Favaro shows up and it turns fabulous. 😉

    This is a plot you use on the noble but dumb hero not a converted villain.

    1. It is something that would gel more if it was aimed at Kaisar instead of Azazel. I don’t entirely disbelieve that he’d do what he does in the episode, but he has generally seemed smarter than all that.

      The issue, of course, is that Azazel isn’t the main character. Nina is. Which means the point of this conflict is to elicit a response in Nina. Only, that’s not how real conflicts work; they elicit a response in everybody, who all set about on their own work as the main characters of their own story. Which means your ideas would work much better, and be more in line with Azazel’s character, but they would also center Azazel in the narrative too much. A truly multi-PoV story would be fine with that. Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul, as a largely one-character PoV story, doesn’t latch onto the opportunity its own narrative gives it.

    2. Azaels perhaps changed to care about his kind, because of this Holy Child. i assume he is some kind of Show Spoiler ▼

      . I just hope they gave him an other name.

      I wonder what will happen, if this Holy Child meets Jean de’arc. Then perhaps some Human hearts take up arms for the Light side again. Lost their fear and fight

  7. https://randomc.net/image/Shingeki%20no%20Bahamut%20Virgin%20Soul/Shingeki%20no%20Bahamut%20Virgin%20Soul%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2013.jpg
    What? I loses to this Girl? I hate losing. I was expecting (seeing this kind of face) he would reveal his true identity and prison Nina or worse, because he lost.

    This Magic power up rings have some kind of course, in taking over the mind or raise the darkness deepness of the holder, that would explain his “loki mask” face

    1. .. while give it an 2nd thought.. i would not wonder if this King here, Show Spoiler ▼

  8. This isn’t going to work. JMO of course and if others enjoy the show, please do, but no. Dropped. It’s not all bad and I do like part of the show – the part about the demon/god struggle vs. asshat king. However, too much is not working for me.

    Nina isn’t the worst character ever, but M E H after disregarding her always freaking blushing if she’s within 100m of an attractive guy. I get that it’s a “trigger” (for some reason) for her to hulk out dragon out, but I don’t care. I don’t know why the writers picked that as her trigger. Comedy? If so, it’s not working for me. Rather, I find it annoying, more so as it’s spammed. Even taking that away, for me she’s OK at best.

    Comedy in general isn’t working for me, and “duck god” is a good example. Never liked that character in S1, and more “duck god” is definitely NOT better in my book. Needless to say, the arm-wrestling skit was a slog to watch. Very tempted to skip through that to the more serious parts which work better IMO, but that one new guy with the glasses no doubt is important to the plot. Just to be clear, I’m certainly not against comedy per se, but in this instance, the “comedy” ain’t working. At all.

    Favaro may come back and while I do like Favaro, I’m not a big enough fan to where his return will make all the difference. Besides, already falling behind this season as it is = one more reason to drop the show. I do plan to read the season end review as I am a bit curious as to the whole “forbidden powers” thing. (Do me a favor Stilts and give a bit of story summary – thanks. :D).


    @Stilts: “I think there could be some good chemistry between them, with Favaro duping and exploiting Nina as his muscle during their bounty hunting adventures, only to get his comeuppance when her natural Nina-ness backfires on him.”

    I actually suggested that back in an Ep. 01 comment (last line). I got the possible relationship between the two right, but didn’t expect it to quite work out like it has so far. I’m with you here. While I don’t think Favaro is literally mandatory for a Bahamut sequel to work, in this case him being around and those two going on some bounty hunting adventures does seem like it would be a more enjoyable watch (for me at least). As I wrote before, going into this, a main draw was Nina being a bounty hunter since I liked that aspect of S1, but as we found out in this episode, the only bounty left is the Rag Demon. So much for that. :/

  9. I just thought about something. Nina has trouble dealing with handsome men(losing control and turning into a dragon is kind of a hassle), like Kaiser, Azazel and lord king the great.

    Yet apparently she had no problems dealing with Favaro. xD

  10. ep 06:

    – A calm episode, it is truly the calm before the storm (story wise)
    – They insert an Dance animation again, also when these two danced at night the faces of the instrument players are they real ones? these where no standard faces..(the female Violine player, the male guitar alike player, the male flute players and the male “bass drum” player.. they had pretty nice animated faces (some sort of eaters egg?). Also these kind of music, reminds me of Irish dance folklore
    – seems like next episode is the Storm they where build up in this episode
    – Kaiser is there again, small screenplay time. But this little ones here, was heavy

    The king reminds me of Londo Mollari from Babylon 5….
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Sow is doing good (for me) so far. But do not expect in every episode Action and gore. This here is just an calm episode, with an Dance animation as its main dish and a bit bond creation… yeah, some other MC player just had 3 secs of screen time, and i am not talking about Azael…

    it has it upper and down time, but the upper time is stronger here

  11. ep 07:

    The first seconds of this Episode are Spoiling us.. at last the last second before the OP kick in, tell us the entire story of this episode in a nutshell

    Seems like they are trying to copy the US Hollywood Industrie. I saw Wonder Woman and Bladerunner Trailers where the used the first seconds to tease us or spoil. And here it feels the same

    Show Spoiler ▼

    p.s. please do not use the first seconds to spoil us with the episode nutshell in our faces…not now, not even in the future

  12. ep 08:

    The Story is progressing smoothly. Pacing of backgrounds are okay, As you can guess, mostly this Episode is to bring us “what happen with…” Favaro and Jeanne.

    Pacing is okay so far (in my eyes), also some “demons” females has some screentime here. Nice combo, but how could the king spare them?.. be careful to not sacrifice the story for fanservice. Keep an balance, thats the secret

    i am looking forward for the action, that are slowly building up here.. the scene after the ED

    also, the short “recap” of the previous episode in the first seconds is to help find/remember the red line of the Story. i approve that (more then this Spoiler in ep 07)

    i can not look into the others hearts, but i am very satisfied. thank you for your hard work everyone *bow in respect*

  13. ep 11:

    The Prison break episode… or not?

    Well, at last it let of some steam. But not all is lost, we was put back to enjoy the clam of a storm…

    Looks like the storm will be “Favaro!”…

    Well, El say thinks what the Angels wants to hear, and Sofiel knows that. i could see in her Eyes, that she is uneasy of they way they use this Kid…

    But i already wrote more that i wanted, so go watch it yourself

  14. ep: 17

    This Episode is good on the feelings Train… I am satisfied so far. i do hope the anime is doing well in Nippon

    They play their best trump cards so far of storytelling.


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