Wow… okay. That was DISTURBING on so many levels. Sorry I wasn’t able to cover this episode when it came out because dang… things definitely took a turn this episode. But Crunchyroll Expo was happening and there was no way I was going to miss that!
Anyways, holy crap does this episode go into some pretty dark and uncomfortable places. It literally goes from basically kidnapping children off the street to a hostage situation. I absolutely HATE seeing these kinds of situations and I felt completely repulsed by Rekka. Not only did he basically kidnap children off the street (even going as far as to get Tamaki to help), but he even had the gull to turn one of the kid’s mother into an infernal and then proceed to kill her IN FRONT OF HER DAUGHTER AND THE OTHER CHILDREN. I was so LIVID after that.
Rekka’s personality honestly throws me off a bit. He acts like a hyperactive idiot and he acts like what he is doing is completely justified. If this were another show (and if he wasn’t a mass murderer), he’d probably by the typical shounen protagonist. Which is probably why his attitude and motives throw me off so much. He doesn’t even seem to care about how many children he has to sacrifice for whatever he’s doing. He engages in such deplorable actions that I couldn’t help but be disgusted by him cheering for one of the children to fight the infernal transformation after doing that to him in the first place. I’m sure he’s not the mastermind behind this whole thing as it seems like someone has filled his head with some sort of distorted goal. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if the eyepatch guy has some in on this as well.
Initially, I really did not care or like Tamaki since she just seemed like she was there half of the time for fanservice. Her half-hearted intro did not help that case. However, I did feel really bad for her in this episode. Especially since she was basically betrayed by the person she looked up to and had feelings for. As soon as Rekka started hugging her my immediate response was: “Oh goodness, he’s totally choking her out, isn’t he?” CALLED IT. Not only did he use her to gather up those children for him, he also freaking planned to use her as the scapegoat. The fact that he was just yelling blame at her the entire time while beating her up was hard to watch. I’m glad that Shinra came in when he did to curb stomped him through the floor. Tamaki crying afterwards hit hard, especially after all the emotional and physical pain she just went through.
And while it was nice to see the plot finally go places, I felt like there wasn’t enough build up for Rekka being the one to distribute the infernal bugs. Yes they have been investigating the 1st, but it felt like things were happening way too abruptly and fast this episode. I actually had to stop the episode several times because of how janky the pacing was in the first half as it took me out of the scenes a lot. I feel like they should have given more time for Shinra and Arthur to investigate a little longer and drop a bit more hints that Rekka is more messed up than he is before dropping the bombshell. While he and the other two commanders were already under suspicion, the reveal was far too rushed and didn’t impact me as much as it should have.
When Karim explained how he planted the evidence to see if Shinra and Arthur was on his side, I literally shouted at the screen, “WHY SHOULD THEY TAKE YOUR WORD?!” And while it SEEMS like he’s on their side (and I’m happy that he is an ally), it felt like that trust wasn’t fully warranted. Or maybe that was the point and he’ll end up betraying Shinra later. Hopefully not… I like him.
However, with the knowledge that the insects were used not only on the kidnapped children in the warehouse, but were also responsible for causing the child nuns to turn into infernals. That leads me to suspect that the same thing happened to Tah-kun, happened to Shinra’s brother (and maybe possibly Shinra as well). He was forcefully injected with that bug but had harnessed the power instead of turning into an infernal. Especially since it was told that he’s still alive somewhere.
The battle rages on with some pretty epic fighting choreography. One of the parts I actually like about this show is the close combat fights. However… I absolutely HATED how they decided to punctuate the battle with freaking fanservice moments. I felt like flipping a freaking table when not one but like three moments of fanservice happened in the middle of the fight. It honestly killed the moment for me, especially since this is supposed to be a very emotional moment. There was no need to have Shinra accidentally fall on top of Tamaki… two times and absolutely did not need to have her clothes burned off. Fire Force why….? I actually liked the scene where she rested her head on his back and pleaded to Shinra to stop Rekka. It was a nice tender moment between the two… which was essentially ruined by seeing how much of her clothes were burned off.
As much as I hate seeing Shinra being OP against everyone, I was fine seeing him beat the crap out of Rekka. Most likely because the guy deserved to have his face kicked in after all he’s done. Though I do appreciate that Shinra technically didn’t deal the final blow on him and that Karim was the one to contain him. I felt so bad for Karim in this moment and I’m so glad that he didn’t end up being terrible like Rekka. Especially when he told him that he didn’t have his back just so he can do such horrendous things. Karim saw Rekka as a close friend and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was one of his only true friends. Though after Rekka showed his true colors, it’s hard to tell if Rekka even considered the others in the trio his friends. I do feel like a part of him did view them as friends. But in the end, he was devoted to his cause. I wish that we were able to spend time with the trio more so I could be a more invested in their relationship and see just how deeply Rekka’s betrayal struck both Karim and Foien. Because of how fast this arc went by, it felt like we hardly even knew any of them very well.
We are then introduced to an organization that might be the true antagonists of the series with them sniping a frozen Rekka, killing him before the others could get any information out of him. And while I hated the guy, I don’t think he deserved to be taken out like that. He needed to pay for what he did, but now it’s too late. The damage was done and we lost what valuable information the guy held. I’m thankful that Karim was able to get away unscathed. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about Foien who lost his arm protecting him. Now these two are the true friends and allies.
The only thing Shinra and the others have to go off of is the one called “The Evangelist” who apparently is the one who is going around turning people into infernals along with trying to create children with special powers. I’m worried about Tah-kun’s fate, especially now that he was able to prevent himself from becoming an infernal and probably has special abilities. Hopefully he will be protected. This also might confirm my feeling that Shinra might have been one of the children who was given the bug and didn’t become an infernal. Considering the infernal bug reacted very strongly to him and Rekka called him out on being the “Adolla Burst.” Though he may just have that special ability and have nothing to do with being injected by the bug. Either way, I’m sure that whatever organization Rekka was a part of, they might also start gunning for Shinra.
I’m so glad that Karim became an official ally to the 8th in their mission to stop the combustion. He was really weird in his first appearance, but seemed like a genuine guy who cares about others. Speaking of allies, seems like Tamaki has officially joined the squad… for better or for worse. I was wondering how Tamaki would end up in the 8th since it shows her working with them in the opening. And as of this episode, she is an official member of the 8th due to suspension after helping Rekka. Now, I’m a bit worried on what will happen with her addition. She’s not a bad character.. it’s just that her “lucky lechery” is rather off putting, especially how often it happens. Though I found it hilarious how Shinra says that “there’s an intruder in my haven.” He’s so over it as well.
Overall, this arc was decent. Better than the previous arcs so far. I wish we had gotten to know the 1st trio more and actually built up Rekka a bit more on his true motives rather than diving head first into it. Hopefully this series will develop the group dynamic more since I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at Shinra talking about how much he feels at ease being with everyone. This anime has hardly shown me how well he gets along with everyone. While I’m glad he finally feels like he’s found a place to belong without judgement, I’m just not convinced of it as a viewer. In any case, looks like the plot is finally unfolding despite new questions arising. Like what exactly is the Evangelist trying to accomplish by seeking out children who can contain the infernal bug without transforming? Till next time I suppose.