And we’re back! Taking on the tournament at the National Stage! Last week left us with quite the cliffhanger with the introduction of some mysterious new characters and the death of familiar faces. As always, the pacing is a little funky, but for the amount of content they have to pack into the episodes, I think they did a good job maneuvering the “first tier” of the tournament.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept of charyeok. At this point, while I generally enjoy getting bits of information overtime, I wish they would just take 2 minutes and explain what’s going on with it. Some fighters are quick to use it, others save it for their big finale. Is there a limit to the power that they have? Or is it one of those, train hard enough and your power will be boundless situations? Either way, I’m interested to get more information on them.
We really covered a lot of fights, and even some character backstory in this episode. Looking back on it, I’m surprised that this episode managed to fit it all in there. But when I think about it, having two fights going on at the same time that they could swap back and forth with, definitely kept things fresh. While I think the first bout with Mori and his opponent ended on a hilarious note, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed by it. He’s great for breaking the tension, but I really wanted to see his new technique in action. But I shouldn’t count on it being the end just yet, we still have quite a few more episodes to go for him to shine… hopefully he gets the chance to shine.
Daewi’s match was interesting, not for the fighting style, but more by the fact that we got some development for our opponent. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking or revolutionary, but it was nice to see why at least two of the characters wanted to keep fighting and moving forward. It gave me that brief moment of wanting to cheer for our opponents but seeing as we need to move on to the next round that feelings fades pretty quickly as Daewi takes the victory. Now Mira and her opponent? It wasn’t the most impressive battle, but I think that the beginning standoff was really well choreographed. I wasn’t attached to Mira’s backstory, nor was I attached to the red-haired girl’s, but I think they were a good match up because we got to see two “sword” users go head to head. But I think what really made the episode was the commissioner vs the Nox members that was going alongside it. In my opinion, those were just good-looking fights and honestly what I was looking forward to when coming into this anime. The commissioner’s cool aura about them as they take on frankly terrifying opponents, without batting an eye? Yeah! That’s exciting!
But uh, more than anything, what kind of ending was that? First of all, you have all of the teal haired guy and his intense personality. He’s brutal and straight up came to win. Like I thought the others were here to win? Nah, this guy is here for total victory and isn’t willing to deal with small fries. So, when the battle started, and his opponent was 1) impaled and 2) chewed up by the shark? That was a complete tonal shift – even the audience was dumbfounded by what they saw, and I don’t blame them. It was more unsettling and gruesome than anything we’ve seen up until this point and keep in mind we came out of the Commissioner’s battle were they a, also impaled their opponents and b, cut off limbs. But the eeriness at the end of the episode doesn’t sit well with me… But it begs the question – will we continue as normal through the rest of the tournament or will this quickly become something bigger than what can be contained in the ring?
Overall, this episode certainly had some highs and lows and I’m still not over Sim’s death, but if anything, at least they delivered on some intense fights with the commissioners. But seeing as we’ve just passed the halfway mark, there’s bound to be even exciting fights in the future, so I’ll be sticking around to see what we’ll get!