「英雄、立つ！」 (Eiyuu, Tatsu!)
“The Hero Rises!”
This was an episode of reversals. Of turn abouts. Of hopeless situations transformed into absolute victories, and I dunno. Is it just me, or did it all lack any bite? Meliodas coming back was one thing, but when Merlin suddenly reappears and reveals stunning powers that are powerful enough to take a Ten Commandment for her own personal guinea pig, it felt unearned. We didn’t see her struggle for any of this, or even work for it. She didn’t seem to earn it. She just disappeared, until she reappeared with her problems solved and more power than before. And the whole daughter of whoever? That’s neat I guess, she’s an alien or something, but it’s all just so out of left field. It feels like a total asspull.
In contrast, Meliodas’ actions are intriguing. He’s showing a positively demonic nature, which is perhaps fitting but nonetheless worrying. Meliodas has always been chipper, but not in this way. The way the story is revealing this in stages, whetting our appetite for the reveal as to what happened in the battle for Meliodas’ soul, is good. It really makes me want to see what happens next, something none of the rest of the episode accomplished.
Then there was the battle to finally free Dreyfus from Fraudrin’s control. I feel like this didn’t have the gravitas that such a big change of fortunes should entail. Compared to the battle against Demon Hendrickson in the original seasons, which was grinding and hard fought, they won the day because Hawk distracted the bad guy. What!? I’m not as down on Hawk as others, but he’s a comic relief character. His noble sacrifice in the first arc was done well, it had emotional heft, but this was not that. It was just lazy writing. For the long sought after rescue of Dreyfus’ soul to come about because of that…? Lame.
But without a doubt, the best part of the episode is owed to Elizabeth. “Touch me more.”, followed by Meliodas blushing and Elizabeth blushing?? Ohmergawd! I’ll take a big ol’ second helping of that one, please and thank you!
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Don’t wanna re-take that screenshot?
Usually, I’m not the guy to point out differences with the manga but it’s too bad they took out the scene where Monspiet summons demons so that Derriere uses her combo power on them to power up and attack Meliodas with her buffed strength. It’s a clever way to use her power but I understand why they had to remove that scene; they needed to end the episode with that cliffhanger.
Apart from that Merlin is so ridiculously OP, she is even voiced by the legendary Maaya Sakamoto. Definitely my favorite character–I relate a lot to her desire to pursue knowledge. I love how they made her true name sound, exactly how I imagined it should be, in the manga it was a bubble with incomprehensible scribble. It reminds me of Bleach when Ichigo asks Zangetsu his name and the old man answers with some censored gibberish.