「惨劇の王者イケロス・ファミリア」 (Ikerosu Famiria (Sangeki no Oja))
“Ikelos Familia (King of Atrocity)”
I’ve had my fair share of suffering from watching Re:Zero. You think you’d get used to these kind of things. Numb. Desensitised. But that remained an exceedingly difficult episode of Danmachi to watch.
Acknowledging Evil We Typically Overlook
The relationship between writer and reader is full of unspoken agreements. Particularly when we suspend our disbelief for the benefit of consuming scenarios posed to us by creators. This doesn’t just extend to Deus Ex Machinas which break the plausibility of scenarios. But we might also feel inclined to ignore the existence of things that we do not want to acknowledge. There are series like Monster Musume which float to us an idealistic fiction about a protagonist who wholesomely loves monster girls. Then there are episodes like these that break this wholesome illusion, revealing that dark and twisted side of human nature that we loathe acknowledging. Specifically evil elements that would kidnap, torture, rape and brutally murder. Who definitely lurk out there in the societies which we live in.
Rayna’s death itself wasn’t surprising. When Aude died last episode, I had a feeling many Xenos were going to be wiped out. But the manner in which Rayne died really churned my stomach – where three members of the Ikelos familia attempted to rape her before killing her, prompting her to attack them in self-defense before crushing her crystal to commit suicide. I wouldn’t doubt that someone would do such a terrible thing when confronted with that kind of crisis. It’s such a tragedy when death becomes the lesser of two evils and speaks volumes about the callous apathy from the Ikelos familia members. Though hating them comes easily, what troubles me most is acknowledging this kind of evil exists in modern society. And knowing I’ve probably encountered it without realising it as well.
The Socio-Political Fallout between Xenos and Mortals
Unfortunately, the rollercoaster of tragedies doesn’t end there. The skeptical faction of Xenos who had mistrusted mortals and lobbied to continue living in secret are enraged. Gros rallies many of the Xenos to his cause, including those who had previously been sympathetic to Lyd’s harmonistic cause. And out of understandable grief, retaliates by attacking the mortal village of Liveria – a huge infraction which has caused the Guild to issue two decrees: that every god and their familia must stay at home, while the Ganesha familia assemble a task force to investigate the situation. This is clearly an attempt at damage control from Ouranos, now that the Ikelos familia have blown up prospects at a peace dealing he had in mind. Plus Bell slips into this squad, and having established cordial contact with a Xenos member in Wiene, he’s definitely going to be the X factor who can shake up the potential outcomes of this upcoming confrontation.
Nonetheless, the situation might have reached a point of no return. Ouranos and Hermes seen extremely agitated, which suggests it’s outside of the remit of divinity. There might be no possibility for reconciliation. Even if Bell attempts to be a voice of reason, once people have been harmed, can these two sides put aside their grievances in the pursuit of mutual understanding and a peaceful outcome?
My hunch tells me no. The Xenos don’t trust mortals, while the mortals fear and hate monsters – a cycle which has persisted for centuries if not millenias. It won’t simply come to an end when those sentiments have malingered for so long, especially when tensions are this high – with the trigger being malicious harm and outright murder. Even Ais made it clear she would slay monsters without question even if they had the ability to reason and have emotional outbursts like humans. And that’s just how it is, even for a collected and usually reasonable person like Ais – it’s easier to kill beings you consider as the ‘other’.
If we somehow reach a conclusion where both sides put aside their differences and come to a happy understanding in the space of a week or two, I would feel rather disappointed in the plausibility of such a scenario, considering how the writer has chosen to build up the context on top of the kind of characters they ended up introducing. Given how she’s been captured and locked in a cage, as long as no huge harm comes to Wiene, I think I’ll be satisfied with negative outcomes. And it could potentially make for a more interesting arc without depriving us of hopez – that there are situations Bell can’t win or fix, which he simply has to salvage the best remaining outcome from – which would be defeating the Ikelos familia, getting revenge for the fallen Xenos and saving Wiene.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post – and see you all next week to find out whether