「ウルトラソウル (決戦)」 (Urutora Sōru (Kessen))
“Ultra Soul (Decisive Battle)”
Leading on from last week, the Xenos are still trying to desperately flee through Orario in the dead of night, hounded by members of the Loki Familia. But Wiene accidentally splits off from the main group – leading to a desperate race against time as Bell and his allies try to rescue her before she is harmed – if not outright killed.
Skirmishes in Orario
I suspected that Welf and Mikoto wouldn’t stand a chance against Gareth. After all, there’s a 4 level gulf between them. So I didn’t like how Welf’s magic sword easily incapacitated Gareth. If Tsubaki had come to help soften up Gareth before Welf unleashed his final attack, I would find that outcome more acceptable. Nevertheless, the important takeaway is that Welf’s magic sword as crazy overpowered if they can overcome that sort of level differential. And I can see why the nation his ancestors originally hailed from were willing to declare ware on Orario to try and retrieve him – if people recall the war with Ares at the end of Season 2.
Although greatly outclassed by Bete, Aisha with the help of Haruhime’s level boost preoccupies him for long enough that he fails to reach Bell. Also, Tiona was kind enough to let Wiene go after she sees her saving a child. However, Aiz completely mops the floor with Ryuu – who was her equal four years prior, and becomes the final obstacle for Bell and Wiene, setting up for a climactic resolution to the Xenos escape from Loki’s familia.
Bell’s Reckoning with Aiz Wallenstein
The beauty of this confrontation is that neither sides are inherently wrong. They have clashing ontological viewpoints regarding how the state of ‘being’ can be defined or distinguished within the Danmachiverse i.e. all monsters innately crave destruction meaning they cannot be trusted and need to be exterminated due to threats they pose to mortals versus some monsters should be protected because they can experience emotions and reason like humans too. We’ve never heard too much about Aiz’s background. But it’s pretty clear she has a chip on her shoulder regarding traumatic monster experiences in the past. No doubt involving her family, who probably perished to monsters. Finn too, because his parents and many Pallum villagers where he hails from were killed by monsters as well. It’s the moral grey zone which truly elevates tensions and stakes going into this encounter, and there’s no cartoonishly evil scumbag like Dix Perdix. You can understand where everyone is coming from.
Returning to the climactic fight, Aiz’s poise was exceedingly graceful. You can’t help but admire her sword form, as she perilously lunges towards Bell. In terms of their exchanges, it was very clear neither side wanted to hurt each other. It’s clear that Aiz was holding back, seeing how she repeatedly forewarns Bell and begs him to stand down. Plus we saw what she was capable of doing during the minotaur fight. But if this is her holding back, it’s still incredible impressive as she proceeded to utterly dismantle Bell.
J.C. Staff did a ridiculously fantastic job drawing out the expressions of each characters. From the determination, desperation, and sheer suffering that could easily be felt between Aiz, Bell and Wiene, my gut was absolutely wrenched out multiple times this episode. Seeing Bell stand up for what he believed was right even if it meant he had to cross blades with his beloved, Aiz’s unshakeable conviction at slaughtering monsters completely crumbling upon seeing Wiene humanising agony through self-harm. For all my criticisms of Aiz Wallenstein’s uninteresting personality, this episode proved to be the ultimate culmination of her characterisation to let go of her hatred. And allows Wiene to escape, in spite of her personal misgivings.
I can’t deny it. My naivety got the better of me. He’d already done it before, arranging for Hestia to be kidnapped and leaking Bell’s location to Ishtar. But just when I felt like I could trust him, given his interactions with Ikelos, Hermes completely caught me off guard with his sudden betrayal of the Xenos. Turns out his plan all along was to make Bell believe he’d saved the Xenos, then quietly slaughter them when they were out of sight after luring them towards a dead end.
Fortunately, Aina never delivered that wrist strap to Bell, a device that was probably designed to encumber Bell from interfering with the final phase of his plans. And after seeing the pages of the ledger remain intact after being doused in liquids, Hestia has realised something’s extremely off. Not to mention Ottar and Astorius are wild cards wandering about the place. So I’m fully expecting some kind of last minute intervention.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!