「愛の在り処」 (Ai no Arika)
“Where Love Is”
Power levels made their return to Nanatsu no Taizai, so you know what that means: a mixed bag episode. Which is a real shame because a lot of what went on this episode was really cool. Let’s talk about the not-so-good first, so we can get past it to the better parts.
The problem with power levels is, again, they’re unnecessary. We didn’t need to be told how powerful Meliodas is, because we saw it demonstrated last episode. The real issue, though, is that everyone else is still hopelessly outclassed. Meliodas is now up with the Ten Commandments in terms of power, which is a 10-fold increase over his previous power level. With Gil and Howzer hovering around 2350, that means that each of the Ten Commandments is over 10 times more powerful than each of them—and there are ten of them. Now, this wouldn’t necessarily make them useless if damage was cumulative regardless of source, like it is with deflector shields in Star Wars or Star Trek (or my own books). That doesn’t appear to be how things work in Nanatsu no Taizai. As is usually the case with shounen battle anime, if you’re not close in power level to someone, you can’t hurt them. Full stop. You can collect up ten people each with 1/10th of the power level of a single person, and instead of them combining to be a serious threat, they’re all cannon fodder. Gil, Howzer, and Griamore (once someone changes him back from a child … wtf jeez) are useless at their current power levels, as are all the other Seven Deadly Sins. And there doesn’t appear to be a time for that to change. Making the power levels explicit is really mucking things up, as is the crazy leap in power (regardless of the numbers involved) from the previous arc.
Meliodas’ tactics are also shifty as hell, though only because he doesn’t follow through. His idea to cause the Ten Commandments to split off into smaller groups is actually great; divide and conquer is an oft-repeated saying for a reason. But then he doesn’t go after them! They’re going to search for Escanor—which I highly endorse in general, I want to see the last Sin in action—but if the goal was to cause the enemy to split up so they could kill some of them, kill some of them! Instead they appear to be sacrificing human lives for … what, exactly? If it was said that it was actually more dangerous to leave the Ten Commandments in the creepy flower outcropping—perhaps because they would power up much more securely there, and would soon be unstoppable to the point where Meliodas couldn’t frighten them into splitting up—then it would make sense. And maybe that was the reason. It’s just that when Meliodas insinuates that they’re dividing and conquering, and then they don’t divide and conquer, it looks like he’s sacrificing human lives for nothing. Especially since they’re now going to have to deal with side quests the Ten Commandments spawn, such as this zombie outbreak.
Speaking of, the zombie outbreak was relatively silly (especially since I thought the Ten Commandments were trying to collect souls, not send them back to their bodies), but it’s already bringing up some delicious, delicious drama. I’m talking of course about Dark Elaine, who—I’m glad she doesn’t kill any of the other fairies. That would have made things rather tense once Ban figures out a way to bring her back to her senses. Which I’m sure he will, but I’m pleased with how their reunion went. I kept expecting her to bite his tongue or something, but nope, they just kissed. I mean, there was also some hand-stabbing and an attempted kill on Jericho, but mostly kissing. D’aaaawww! They finally get to see each other again, even if it may not be permanent. We’ll see.
By the way, don’t the Ten Commandments have an awfully odd power kit for demon generals? I first started thinking this back with Galand’s Truth schtick. Doesn’t that seem like something a good guy would have? Maybe not a protagonist, could even be an antagonist of the Knight Templar variety (trope!)—in fact, that one seems most likely—but having to labor under these unyielding magics that even make moral demands of their users and their user’s allies (no one can utter a falsehood around Galand, not even Galand or his team) seems like the kind of cross someone on the side of Good would have to bear. Raising people from the dead with a twist seems more like classic villain activities, but still. Of course this is partially due to Christian exoticism—while having the protagonists be called the Seven Deadly Sins makes a certain amount of sense even for someone raised in a society where Christianity is prevalent (such as myself), having the antagonists be patterned after the Ten Commandments is pretty dang strange—but it’s still a rather odd choice. Not bad, just goofy.
The other part of the episode I want to talk about is Zaneri. (There’s also Hawk and his weird magic power—he’s like Kirby but with more blood!—but that’s just weird and I don’t have much to say.) What I liked about Zaneri is that Suzuki-sensei both played and avoided the Jealous Lover card. He still played it because Zaneri definitely loves Meliodas, to the point that she doesn’t even bother denying it when Jenna brings it up, but she didn’t sabotage Elizabeth because of that. No, she did it for Meliodas, in a perhaps short-sighted way, because she’s afraid of him either sacrificing himself for Elizabeth or losing himself in his anger again if she is killed. And what’s the best way to do that? Keep her away from the fighting, of course. (That doesn’t account for the fact that Meliodas would still have to find a place to leave Elizabeth while he’s off saving Britannia, and she might not be safe there, and nowhere might be safe if she doesn’t help. I never said Zaneri wasn’t being short-sighted.) I just apprecaite how her love for Meliodas wasn’t made into her sole defining factor that twisted her into a sabotaging stealth-antagonist. Instead it caused her to help in a way that’s perhaps counterproductive, but at least is attempting to help.
Oh, and the confirmation was Elizabeth is the reincarnation of Liz came so late as to be robbed of any impact. No episode next week, episode 13 will be released in two weeks. See you then!
- I miss Diane.
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 updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: Book 3 Progress Report.