Or, how to rush a light novel adaptation.
I’ve finally found a window of opportunity to watch this episode! It’s great that I’ve managed to do so before Wednesday, as this is supposed to be the end of an arc after all. I will start with the few positive aspects I thought Silver Link pulled off really well, the first one being the scene between Nagaru and Shizuka-chan, where the latter had her secret identity as Mephisto ousted. It was a scene in which you didn’t really know what was wrong until it was far too late – and by then, two gunshots had gone off and Shizuka-chan was the one who appeared in the next scene to ‘assist’ Ouka, although a viewer with patrician taste would no doubt have placed their faith in the enduring survivability of based comfy senpai, as perfect as she is. A second thing I liked was the hand-drawn Witch Hunter form we were treated to this episode. I mean, look at it! It’s beautiful! If only Silver Link actually tried their best with animating it every other time it was relevant.
And a third was when Takeru asked Mari if she could disable the large-scale enslaving magic casually drawn all over the school grounds, and Mari replied, “Who the hell do you think I am?” Of course, the answer is that she is the one and only, cute, cool, fashionable, funky Mari-sama, whose personality, flat chest and dazzling smile captures the hearts of all.
At the same time, a hell of a lot of content was skipped. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve started to actively watch out for it in recent weeks, but certain scenes I was really hoping for have been cut completely. Some of these are less important but would have been nice, like Takeru pinching Nagaru’s cheeks as retribution for dragging Ouka into everything, or Ikaruga signing her name on the ribbons Usagi uses to tie herself up in the epilogue (she writes ‘Suginami presents’ all over it, not that we needed confirmation of who was responsible). Other scenes may not be important for the story going forward, but would have really filled out the glaring gaps left by this arc – Usagi’s background and the way she found her resolve to defy that shitty bastard was clearly rushed, and you don’t have to be a light novel reader to have guessed that there should have been a full fight between Takeru and Reima in the church.
As for Mephisto, there should have been a lot more suffering inflicted on Takeru and Ouka than there ended up being, with Usagi’s forced choice being the grand finale to a lot of mental torment – in reality, so much suffering was omitted to the extent that it feels censored. For example, take the scene in which Mephisto moves from Shizuka-chan to Ouka. As a Relic Eater contractor, and as someone who has a lot of natural mental tolerance, there should have been a scene in which Ouka is slowly broken by Mephisto before she’s taken over. And surely animating something like this would have been a better use of the limited airing time they have? In fact, if you compare the original novel illustration to how that scene turned out in the anime, you can immediately tell that Ouka went through a whole different order of suffering and anguish in the novel.
At least the sound-related features of this adaptation remain as top-class as ever, like the soundtrack. Nakata Jouji as Vlad is still too perfect, I can’t believe I’ve missed him for four whole episodes. I was hoping for Mephisto!Ouka to be voiced by Ueda Reina doing a crazy sadistic voice, because she’s been great as normal edgy Ouka so far, but they gave Mephisto her own voice in the end (it sounds like Ohara Sayaka, but I’m not certain). You may be thinking that Reima, as an antagonist with evil intentions on top of being an unlikeable prick in general, got off surprisingly lightly. Even Mephisto thought he was a useless waste of space. And he did get off lightly, in the anime at least – because they skipped over the understandable consequences he had to face, as you might expect from someone who tried to enslave the entire school with magic and aid a super-dangerous Valhalla witch in recovering her body. I doubt they’ll ever return to him as we’re starting the Ikaruga arc next episode, so if you’re interested in learning what happens to him, read on.
He is killed immediately after trying to run away, on the order of Sougetsu. Why this is important is not because of the fact he’s died, but rather who exactly killed him. It provides foreshadowing for what eventually occurs in Volume 5, and is therefore something really crucial I believe the anime was categorically wrong to cut out.
[spoiler title=”You may be able to guess at this point, but it was carried out by:”]
[spoiler title=”Here’s the epilogue of Volume 4:”]
——Right after Mephistopheles has been subdued, at the mock battle training grounds.
Inside of a sea of object mimicking a city, Reima was running away from something that resembled a machine.
“I n-need to… run… away…!”
His legs were tangling, drool was hanging from his mouth and his body was swaying to the sides as he ran.
“I’m not… done yet…! I can’t let myself be caught…!!”
His tremendous tenacity acted like a whip lashing his broken heart, allowing him to run. He had to escape school before Inquisition rushed in, if he turned to his father for help, it would work out somehow. Although he would be abused, his family won’t abandon him.
Reima believed in his father’s mercy and reached ahead.
However, the one standing in the darkness wasn’t his father.
He thought it was a member of Inquisition, but that wasn’t it.
Clad in dark green armour… with a huge distorted gun in its right hand. Although that figure was similar to Takeru’s Witch Hunter form, it was slightly different from it.
It was different from the monster enveloped in azure, a different threat.
“W-what the fuck are you…! Kusanagi’s comrade?! L-let me off! I’ll apologize however you want! I beg you!”
Weeping miserably, he knelt in front of the demon clad in dark green armour. The demon stared with cold eyes at Reima.
“Whether it’s money or position I’ll give you anything… I’ll be your slave… save me.”
It was an abrupt death sentence stated in one short word.
The demon aimed the muzzle towards Reima and fired. With a tremendous roar, dark green magic diffused from the muzzle and destroyed everything in front of it.
Before Reima was able to notice anything, he turned into a blood splatter.
The demon stood in the pool of blood left behind by Reima who vanished and with a loud sound he pulled the still smoke-spitting gun’s lever.
“Annihilation of the objective complete. Is this fine… Chairman?”
He muttered despite no one being anywhere close. Soon after, a voice sounded in his head.
《”Well done, Kirigaya-kun. Cheers for the good work, you passed the first test.”》
The demon clad in dark green… Kyouya frowned when he heard words of appreciation said by Sougetsu.
“Don’t give me that. This is the test? Why didn’t you allow me to intervene when Kusanagi was fighting? You had me monitor Tenmyouji Reima and Mephisto… and only clean up afterwards?”
《”It couldn’t be helped. I didn’t expect them to stick their heads in this. I bet it was the student council’s work. No matter, although she was told ‘Mephisto doesn’t exist’, Hoshijiro-kun still stirred trouble. Just think of this as of irregular and leave it at that.”》
《”Rest assured. There’s a lot of them to kill. You who knows the truth about this world should know that right? From now on, anything can happen in this world.”》
Kyouya spat that out with disgust and directed the huge shotgun towards the sky.
It was a shotgun clad in ominous miasma, on its body 『The Malleus Maleficarum V ‘NERO’』 was carved in.
“Then hurry up and start it already…! I won’t lose to Kusanagi, so hurry up and kick it off! That second Witch Hunt War of yours!”
He raised a war cry and shot a blank from his shotgun into the air.
Dark green particles were released and lit up the night sky. However, that light was too irregular to be really called ‘light’, horrifying… and filled with doom.