「刀の勇者」 (Katana no Yuusha)
Well, did say this arc was devoted to the cutest cinnamon bun (no hurt only head pats) growth – and this week certainly proved the point. While not as laborious an affair as I expected this moment to be (rushing do be sucking at times), the important bits of Raphtalia development were had, plus a little more besides. With this latest change all the pieces have been placed on the board, now we just have to see how the game plays out.
After all the deviations and corner cutting earlier this season, the big development of Raphtalia effectively becoming a hero in her own right went about as well as it probably could have. Even if it could’ve been better. Outside of the usual pacing issues interfering with key scenes like Raphtalia picking up her new katana vassal and the reunion with Naofumi and crew, this episode also took a step back in terms of action and intrigue. For example, makes sense why antagonist no. 2 might want superweapon to crush the competition, but couldn’t the interlude to it been better fleshed out? And what about giving some added attention to Raphtalia’s ephemeral partnering with Glass and L’Arc? I’m not sure the totality of adaptation choices this season have been entirely bad (as the start to this arc proved), but episodes like this show more than a few have been poor.
On the plus side, however, comes where Raphtalia’s growth leads in terms of story. Her losing her slave crest for example is a nice way of showing just where the girl now is: she’s no longer looking up at Naofumi, she’s effectively his equal in terms of position and power (the offensive kind to boot), and no longer needs an excuse to stay with him. Raphtalia, as even Naofumi showed the world, is a permanent part of the Shield Hero’s party who needs not fear being abandoned, because it’s guaranteed Naofumi wouldn’t allow it. This sets up an interesting showdown with Kyo later on because unlike last time there won’t be any need for anyone like Rishia finding hidden powers to shut the guy down – the OG party can now handle that with ease.
Of course nothing is ever that simple in practice, but you can rest assured the upcoming showdown will provide plenty of opportunity to flaunt these new abilities. At least if production doesn’t drag it down again.