Episode 20

Episode 21

「繋がる者 / 兄の意地」 (Tisunagaru Mono / Ani no Iji)
“Wearing His Pride / Those Connected”

I don’t think my summary of these episodes will do them any justice, so before you read ahead, make sure you’ve watched them both.

The episodes are part of the same story arc where Company 8 travel to the Nether, a series of tunnels (the old Japanese subway system) located on the outskirts of the city. Although forbidden to all, the Emperor has given them special permission to go after the White Clad, who they know is based somewhere in the depths of these tunnels.

Last we saw the 8th, they were all separated. As intruders on enemy territory, the White Clad had the upper hand. In these episodes, we see how the company’s members fare as they go head to head against foes who wield skills almost on parr with their own.

First, we have Lieutenant Hinawa who goes up against Arrow of the White Clad. He becomes unhinged and, in my opinion, this version of him is the best. A wildly animated long-range combat ensues and with a spur of the moment trick he calls ‘Velocity Unbridled’, he succeeds in dealing the finishing blow, saving his own life.

His energy now depleted, Hinawa is confronted by two White Clad members, Shimmer and Fog, who, out of cowardice, want to terminate his life. They stood by as they watched Arrow lose her life to him, unable to find the courage to protect her or work as a team. With choices like those, there’s no wonder why the White Clad isn’t holding up against the 8th. Unlike their enemies, their collaboration is what makes them strong.

And as though to demonstrate just that, Hinawa invites his younger counterpart Arthur to step up his game, which he does exquisitely. Arthur uses all the tools he learned during his basic training with Beni-chan to discern Shimmer’s false attacks from the real one. And with a swift swing of the sword, saves Hinawa from being cut down.

What a team they make!

While the rest of the team ventures on their own, we are then launched somewhere else in the long line of tunnels where Vulcan and Captain Obi come face to face with Dr. Giovanni and Lisa who we now know goes by the name ‘Feeler’. She’s been heavily brainwashed by Giovanni and ultimately, will always choose him. No matter the efforts Vulcan or Captain Obi make, her mind is still deeply connected to his teachings. With just his mention of her name, she’s wrapped up in a web of chains, trapped by her debt towards him.

There was no way Vulcan would shoot Captain Obi without having something up his sleeve, so that little sequence wasn’t all that surprising. What did come as a surprise, however, were the extinguisher grenades strategy Obi came up with on the fly. He’s an exemplary leader and I don’t doubt he’ll play a large role in what’s to come. Overall, the confrontation served to reveal interesting aspects of Lisa’s background, as well as a little information about the Adolla Burst, bugs, and unfortunately, succeeded as a delay tactic.

Turning our attention to Shinra and Sho. What a fun, exhilarating, and dynamic battle. The brothers, each carrying an Adolla Burst, go up against each other but not without consequences. Shinra is unable to keep up with his younger sibling taking severe damage and even worse, hasn’t been able to get through to him. All the while, it seems as though Shinra is fighting something or someone lurking deep within him, slowly inching towards him every time he uses his Adolla Link.

So, who is the Evangelist? Who is the Great Sol? What is all this talk of the natural order? What will we discover in episodes to come? Because, with only three, we’re about to receive a pretty big amount of information. As long as the finale doesn’t result in a huge information dumping session, I’ll be happy. But no matter what comes of these two brothers or of Company 8, I can tell you now, I am quite pleased and satisfied with this series.

It provides, still after twenty-one episodes, a perfect balance between comedic relief, beautifully animated sequences, great artwork, and some stellar music to boot. Let’s not forget that many of the characters have now become some of my favourites, Arthur included.

So what comes next? A battle in this alternate-verse?

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