「魔女と魔術師」 (Majo to majutsu shi)
“The Witch and The Sorcerer”
Well wasn’t this just a week of surprises. Guess Zero still had an ace or three left up its sleeve as not only did the epic magic showdown prove a little less epic than expected, but Thirteen showed himself to be a tad more likeable. Quite a funny twist of events going on here, although nothing holds a candle to baby Zero. You know you love that cute little cinnamon roll.
One thing which still gets me regarding Zero is its deceiving previews. Who knew Thirteen’s hinted wounds would come not from Zero, but from a rightfully enraged Holdem. Sly teasing there White Fox. It was pretty damn funny too considering the Zero-Thirteen showdown—while going as expected—was a huge letdown in terms of action. I honestly was expecting and hoping for more, if just to see how impactful destructive magic is in world. Guess that’s for next week. To the show’s credit though, Zero’s abrupt recovery was perfect, with her deadpan questioning of Thirteen’s and the mercenary’s grief downright hilarious—take note people, that’s how you squeeze humour out of suffering. The moment also had the benefit of confirming the transfer of damage to Zero was initiated during the earlier bath scene, tying up another loose end. Slightly surprising Zero didn’t actually remove the spell—really thought the mercenary would demand it—but after our furry body pillow protected Thirteen from Zero, I’m disinclined to suspect anything now.
The real meat of this episode, however, lay in Thirteen’s development. Besides confirming the guy does care for Zero above all else, it also refines the limits of Thirteen’s excesses. It really appears like Thirteen is not as selfish as I pinned him for—still debatable—but honestly wanted a world where Zero could be safe, secure, and happy. Entirely wrong way to go about acquiring it of course, but Thirteen’s heart was at least in the right place. My issue is that Thirteen’s shift in allegiance felt too fast, one moment wanting to control Zero, and the next firmly supporting her plan—little strange for a guy already knee deep into his scheme. Might just be pacing troubles though, the course of events was logical and makes sense considering Thirteen’s old role as Zero’s guardian. The big question will be what Thirteen does now. With the plague’s accidental origins revealed and Albus’ contract voided, there’s good reason to suspect Thirteen will openly allow himself to be killed, whether by the Sorcerers to protect Zero or Albus out of atonement. I could easily see the former considering how radicalized the Sorcerers have become—particularly once they find out Albus is with Thirteen—but there’s also no guarantee Albus won’t preemptively off him out of vengeance. All comes down to Zero’s magic nullification and which goal Albus considers more important.
With only one episode left in this little adventure, the stage is set for one climactic final battle. No doubt the Sorcerers will be defeated and Zero’s grimoire resigned to the dustbin of history—really expect anything else?—but who pays the price for that definitely is up in the air. It’s been a long time getting here, but Zero, quite literally, is ready to go out with a bang.