Dang… is all I can say about this episode. While I have my usual gripes with the series, David Productions surely brought their A game to this episode animation-wise. I also appreciate that they didn’t punctuate the action with their usual “humor” and instead focused more on the overall fight. So this episode felt smoother than the previous few episodes.
I’m glad to see Benimaru officially take up the role as the leader of Asakusa instead of doing it out of obligation. And honestly, Konro definitely feels more like a second in command, helping garner attention to Benimaru rather than to himself. The two make an awesome pair of commanders as Benimaru is able to rile up the people and Konro able to look into things a little more and gently push Benimaru into making the right decisions. Since we’ve seen how hasty Benimaru can be making judgement calls. I do think it’s hilarious how the people of Asakusa will only respond to big and loud orders. All it took for Benimaru to freaking send the top of the watchtower into the air and shout orders. Guess they just need a pack leader or something lol. Though the fact that he was able to have everyone hear him without any voice projection device irks me. But I’m just nitpicking since this happens in anime a lot. Though I will admit him shouting at everyone to beat each other up to find out where the fakes are was hilarious. Some deep critical thinking there lol.
I had my inklings that this guy was more than likely turn into a horned infernal since they were heavily mentioned in the episode prior. So it was no surprise when this guy became one. I’m curious as to what causes the horned infernals to appear. To no one’s surprise, they are far stronger and sturdier than normal infernals as Arthur’s sword couldn’t even lay a scratch on it. Do they form when someone who has pyrokinesis become an infernal? Either way, it seems that they’re all man made from the bugs from all the instances that we’ve seen them in. I’m sure we’ll learn more about them as the series progresses, but it’s definitely a really big part of Shinra’s past.
Speaking of Shinra, that moment he realized how familiar the horned infernal was, he freaked out pretty hard, even to the extent of hallucinating how his feet were skeletons. Also, why did one leg have a ribcage??? That part was super unnerving, especially how they portrayed it with the scratchy lines and desaturated color. I do wonder what exactly is the Adolla power as they cult has dropped that name several times and why it doesn’t belong in the Fire Force. I’m sure we’ll learn more about why that is and what exactly this power stems from. Though I’m surprised that despite how important this power is supposed to be, the cult members still tried to kill Shinra instead of capturing him. Does it not mean much to their cause if that’s the case?
I was SO worried for Hika, especially when she came out all fiery. I legit screamed “NOOOOO” because I thought she had turned into an infernal but then a few seconds later sighed in relief at my mistake. I WAS WORRIED FOR THIS CHILD. You can’t just separate twins like that, that would be devastating! Those fox forms were cool though. I wish we were able to actually see what they were capable of instead of cutting away from the action. They would totally have a magical girl transformation sequence if the series allowed lol.
The action was definitely top notch this episode with the fluidity of the movements and the dynamic camera shots. Especially when Benimaru takes over the fight against the horned infernal. Watching Benimaru fight is really fun, especially when he is able to use both second and third generation pyrokinesis. The different attacks he can use is amazing to watch. I also appreciate the added movements to certain parts that adds a little bit more to the animation, making it more dynamic than typical straight forward animation. Such as showing the impact of strikes and the recoil it causes on both people. Not to mention some of the inbetweens were just well composed with exaggerated features and a strong pose, which I was able to catch in a few of my screenshots.
After finding that his normal attacks couldn’t defeat the infernal, Benimaru takes it upon himself to basically blow it up using as much firepower as he possibly can. However, I appreciate that he decides to take the infernal up into the sky to avoid collateral damage. Finally taking the damage done to the town into consideration. Though it’s most likely because of all the other infernal attacks having already destroyed most of the town. Guess even he knows not to go overboard with the town damages. Unfortunately, the sniper takes this opportunity to launch an attack on Benimaru while he’s preoccupied. Sadly is still too injured to stop him and instead calls for Shinra to help.
I’m starting to think that those tingles in Shinra’s legs happen whenever someone calls for help… or something like that. Now, I know that Shinra is the main character, but I really don’t like how central he is in every conflict. You can argue it’s because he’s the main character and we’re supposed to follow his story. However, it just seems like he’s the one who has to fix every single problem in this series despite him being a newbie and all. It honestly feels like he doesn’t even deserve to win all of these battles. He was OP out the gates because he’s a “chosen one” with the special power, which makes watching his story fall a little flat to me. So him deflecting the arrow that the sniper shot was more like: Oh, of course he’s going to deflect it because “he’s the hero” instead of it feeling more emotional than it should have been.
In Soul Eater, Maka was strong, but after a while, she started to really struggle to keep up power level wise with everyone around her. She couldn’t fight alone, she needed Soul and vise versa. She wasn’t a chosen one, she had to train and get stronger all on her own, which I found a lot more appealing. But with Shinra, it just feels like with enough will power, he’s able to just plow through everything. And even with Maka, the spotlight was shared amongst the other characters of the show, making it so that everyone had a story of their own. While we get sprinkles of other characters’ stories, it feels like they hardly get as much spotlight as Shinra. Shinra started out as a very sympathetic character, but now I’m just kind of sick of him because he’s solving all the conflicts left and right. But I digress.
Thankfully Benimaru was able to finish off the infernal with an amazingly powerful attack that turned the whole sky red. While I’m glad that Shinra wasn’t the one to defeat the horned infernal, it was still the one to “save the day” in the end. Considering he was the one to deflect the arrow and then have to catch Benimaru as he fell after he exhausted himself. Though I do have to admit it was hilarious how unconcerned Benimaru looked as he fell, as if he knew Shinra would catch him. Though he didn’t look that pleased to have to be carried lol.
I’m glad that the 7th has finally become an official ally of the 8th. The fact that Benimaru has finally acknowledged the 8th as good people and someone to be trusted was very touching, especially during the exchange of sake cups with Obi. Also, I love the idea that he and Obi has become drinking buddies. His smile looked absolutely precious, even if it was due to the sake lol. Having Benimaru as an ally was definitely a big win for the 8th considering he’s the “mightiest Fire Soldier.” It’s probably really reassuring to have such a powerful ally.
We can finally close this arc out and I’m glad that it wasn’t rushed or painfully dragged out. We were able to come to care about the characters in the 7th and see a little more into just what the cult is capable of. However, I am a little disappointed that the others in the 8th besides Arthur and Shinra had little to nothing to do in the fight. They felt more spectators just watching as the 7th worked. Honestly, at this point, I feel more attached to the members of the 7th as I feel like I know them a lot more than the 8th. WHICH SHOULDN’T BE THE CASE. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Benimaru has become one of my favorites in this series. He’s typically not the type of character I’d like, but he certainly showed himself to be a very complex character throughout the arc and I appreciate him a lot for it. I also didn’t realize how short he was compared to everyone else LOL.
Overall, I did enjoy this episode because of the explosive action and the amount of good Benimaru moments. Though I will admit I did have problems with how dark some scenes are, making it difficult to see clearly at times. I know it’s night, but there are ways to portray nighttime without having me have to brighten my screen all the way to see what’s happening. In any case, it’s time to start a new arc and I wonder just when Shinra will come face-to-face with Sho.