“A Parting of Ways”
This week’s Henkyou de Slow Life suru Koto ni Shimashita takes on a more climactic turn as Red is joined by his friends in a fight for Ruti’s soul. While Ares goes on a power trip and tries to fight everyone getting in his way of sacrificing Ruti for the masses to have their hero, Shisandan has other plans for getting her to agree to take up heroics once again.
ARES IS A JOKE AND HIS DEFEAT IS THE PUNCHLINE
Honestly, Ares and his nonsense bog down the episode quite a bit since he’s such a bland villain. Having magical steroids and hearing him ramble about wanting Ruti is a cheap way of making him out to be a formidable opponent by the final episode when him being an incompetent jerk was already good enough. As childish as it is, at the very least Shield Hero had the courtesy of making a song and dance out of Malty and her dad being legally given disrespectful names.
The big revenge wank we get from Ares’ defeat, however, is just watching Red swiftly cut him down as he grumbles about wanting to be saved. Ares’ descent into madness feels more annoying to watch, and seeing him quickly killed off isn’t the payoff you’d want or expect from someone who made a big show about throwing as many roadblocks as he can in Red’s direction.
Driving him to a Ruti-induced madness was a lazy way of tossing the character in the trash and not having to develop him as an antagonist who dedicates every fiber of his being to undermining those around him. Does he want to work with demons or does he want Ruti? The most karma that can be gained from Ares’ banishment was when he was being regularly insulted by Ruti for every mistake he made. Anything after the point he gained a 5’o o’clock shadow is a farce.
Even Shisandan is a little goofy because his ace-in-the-hole is just having Ruti kill demons for the masses. It’s a pretty counterintuitive and silly cause for him to take up because he gets nothing out of Ruti being twisted into being a hero again beyond it just being a jerk move. Maybe Ruti’s sacrifice is an actual sacrifice and not just eternal servitude to the State. Maybe Shisandan has friends in a fantasy version of Halliburton who would benefit from the global conflict caused by Ruti fighting demon armies.
Speaking of, with Ares being far gone and Shisandan jumping on-board the train to have Ruti be a hero again, the main antagonist of a series might wind up being the Almighty themselves. The Holy Swords that Shisandan wants to give to Ruti would kickstart her Blessing to the point of making her an agent of the Almighty without any autonomy of her own.
It’s also fully established in the story that the Blessings themselves are detrimental to the freedoms of those around them. Rit says this much when she gives her big speech about how Ruti shouldn’t have to sacrifice herself just because of a simple Blessing and the simple wishes of the simple masses.
Upholding the status quo of wanting Blessings is just bending to the will of a holy entity’s peer pressure and people can help others by their own merits and not by forcing people into specific roles as the Almighty wishes. That much makes sense. Tisse caring for Ruti enough to be on board with that line of thinking also makes sense. Even Shisandan agrees, but still bends over backward to get Ruti to be a hero again for “reasons”. Theodora disagrees, but she’s been half-heartedly fine with Ares’ plan to make Ruti a hero again because of peer pressure.
But I guess Shisandan got his really silly wish at the end of the day because she dealt him the finishing blow and now wants to attack Red because of the Blessing? To be fair, the Blessing might’ve been a countermeasure to make sure to get rid of everyone who would interfere with her quest. But her Blessing’s compulsions should just force her to run away and find a higher-level demon to fight, so I think they’re just making up anything for one last bit of tension at this point. Can’t have your Hollywood ending without one last thrill before the credits.