He dreams of killing heretics. He dreams of killing them all.
I want to do lewd things to Nero.
Sorry. I have a lot of complaints about the episode, but this was the first thing I wanted to say. Nero is too sexy. And by that, I mean she’s everything I ever wanted her to be. Nero is one of my favourite side characters (along with my darling Kana) and despite how much of a disaster this adaptation has been as a whole, I have to admit they did a really wonderful job with her. Look at her spinning.
I think her VA should be the same person who did Yoshimizu, and if that’s the case she’s a newbie – so it’s amazing that she managed to be as sadistic and as erotic as I imagined Nero would be. And Silver Link even included her little crown and that bow beneath her cleavage. In terms of voices and lines, Nero and Kyouya were largely perfect. But here’s what I’m really confused about. How can a director who knows how to include minor details like that fuck up the basic plot so badly? How can a director who goes out of his way to hire freaking Koyama Rikiya to voice Orochi be such a spastic retard? How can a director who brought Kiritsugu into the voice cast decide to go with a fucking anime-original ending?
I want to be clear about this: Haunted should not have appeared this episode. In fact, he plays no part in this arc at all – the Valhalla emissaries sent to recover Kiseki were supposed to be Orochi and Kana only. Up until the final clash between Takeru and Kyouya, it was all still canon. But Yamata no Orochi should not have succeeded, and Kyouya should have blown out half of Takeru’s internal organs. Takeru should have lost this fight. Kiseki still goes berserk, but it has nothing to do with Haunted – I cannot imagine why this god-awful director decided to have him randomly show up. I can, actually – it might be because Kyouya originally retreats in the novels due to him destroying himself from the inside-out, and they had no time to explain why.
Nero is a poisonous shotgun – and I mean that literally. Kyouya is not supposed to be fast enough by himself to keep up with Soumatou, and in order to artificially boost his physical abilities he has Nero pump in toxic poison into his bloodstream to compensate. It’s why I was so opposed to Kyouya having a helmet in his Witch Hunter form – because he should look like a drug addict at this point, with blood vessels bursting and his eyes bleeding. Kyouya also has no healing factor, as he ordered Nero to divert it all to save his waifu (who is barely being kept alive as a result) and so he was left with no choice but to retreat. Yes, there was no time to have them explain all this information, so it was faster to just have Takeru’s attack succeed. But then, they could have done all this properly with the air-time they wasted on filler in Episode 9. And how does that explain Haunted?!
I’m also sorry for hyping up the flashback last week, because in the end they fucked that up too. Again, we could have a had nice, long flashback that explained everything properly had they not done the filler episode. In essence, the Kusanagi clan used to be a prolific demon-hunting clan – their sword techniques were condensed into two styles: the Double-Edged style (used to fight non-humans) and the True Light style (used to fight humans). In the past, they sealed a demonic curse into their bloodline to avoid burdening the rest of humanity with the risk of turning into demons – specifically, their females would be born with the ‘body of a demon and soul of a human’, and males would have the ‘body of a human and the soul of a demon’. It’s why Takeru is so irrationally angry all the time (not that the anime properly depicted that) and it’s why he can wield Lapis, because a human soul can’t handle her. It’s also why all Kusanagi females are killed on birth. If all the Kusanagis die, the curse is no longer bound to their bloodline and will affect all of humanity, so they must continue having children. More than one to be safe – what if you only have one child and they’re a girl? End of humanity. What if your only male child dies in a tragic accident? End of humanity. So Takeru finding love is ultimately bittersweet, because whoever he has children with might end up having to kill their own demon babies.
Kiseki was locked in a box for her whole life, as her father was too much of a coward to kill her. It might be because she was already immortal, but I honestly don’t remember reading that. At any rate, one day she leaves the box, Hyakki Yakou goes out of control, and she devours her entire family and the neighbouring village before Kurogane Hayato is sent to subdue her. Inquisition takes her in and pretends to be doing their best to care for her when in reality they’re torturing her in all sorts of horrible ways by killing her every day. I wasn’t lying about that last week. I was actually surprised they went into so much detail about her being stabbed to death, drowning underwater, dying by electric chair and so on. Considering how lax they’ve been with showing the darkness in this series, that was surprisingly faithful.
And that’s why I’m so conflicted about this episode – we’re hurtling towards an anime-original ending and so many interesting scenes were skipped, but the scenes we did have were pretty damn good. Orochi facing off against Hayato was pure hype. Both of them have smooth-ass voices, and are essentially the strongest characters in the series – Hayato even had to take out his second Relic Eater against him. And yes, this guy has two Relic Eaters, a second one named Maximilian in addition to Caligula. And we even had Kana! I love Kana! I genuinely believed they would skip her scenes out, but here she is! I have no idea what role she’s going to play now, if Haunted has turned up as a representative of Valhalla too, but I’m sure she will be super cute no matter what she does. I’m rooting for you Kana!
Kyouya deserves his own paragraph. I was actually worried that they wouldn’t make him angry enough, but ha! It disappointed me that his two fights with Takeru were all in CG and honestly looked really cheap, but the sheer anger in his voice more than made up for it. It was fucking off the charts. In the novels, he’s described as a ‘green demon’ (Takeru is an ‘azure knight’) and that really is what he was this episode. And I even got all the lines I was waiting for, shounen-style name screaming and all.
“Kyouya! Do you have any idea what you’re doing?!”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m trying to kill your little sister!”
“What did Kiseki ever do to you?”
“That doesn’t matter! I just can’t stand the fact that there are heretics living shamelessly among us. So I’m going to massacre them. That’s all.”
Kyouya is revenge incarnate. It’s his sheer hatred and anger that gives him the power to match Takeru. It’s never said how much of his descent into darkness was due to Nero or Sougetsu, but they definitely drove him towards it. If we’re going to continue the shounen comparisons, he’s a lot like Sasuke in that he loved his comrades a lot. He hardly showed it, but deep down he was a caring guy who thought the world of the 15th Platoon he belonged to. So when it was all taken away from him by Haunted, he fell into despair. There was actually a hospital scene in which he all but cries over Yoshimizu’s homunculus body, begging her to wake up so they can be together again. It was cut out, because hey, apparently cosplay cafes are more important. Nero is his ticket to revenge. In fact, Nero feeds off revenge – all Relic Eaters want different things from their contractors (Vlad wants blood, and what Lapis wants is a huge spoiler). Nero wants revenge, and that’s why she looks like Yoshimizu.
She’s basically doing it to fuck with him. Every time he looks at her, or every time she speaks to him, he’s reminded of Yoshimizu. In essence, she’s taking the human form of his dead waifu to remind him on a daily basis that his purpose in life is to hate everything and everyone, and to massacre every single heretic in the world. What’s really tragic is that this is exactly what Ouka was like – remember, she excessively killed witches out of hatred for Laugh Maker. Kyouya is what Ouka was, and Kyouya is what Takeru could have become – Kyouya is a Takeru who couldn’t protect his waifu’s smile.
So it was supposed to be a great episode. And it was to some extent, because despite the flaws I loved the Kyouya and Nero parts. I think Silver Link nailed them both really well. But the anime-original ending is like a huge kick in the nuts. At least this means we’ll never get a second season, because honest to god I really don’t want one. I can’t bear seeing any more of this butchered. I’m tired of this. If they never animate any more of Kana then there’s nothing to fuck up, and that’s really for the best. The final episode title should be something like ‘Supreme Desire’, a reference to ‘desiring with supreme ardor’ or ‘summis desiderantes affectibus’, the Latin chant we never had. I have no idea how the hell they’re going to end it now that Haunted is involved, but I just hope it’s half as good as the real ending to the volume.
I’m going to go watch the Love Live movie to cheer myself up.