Oh man, this episode had some pretty intense moments! I wasn’t really a fan of any of the planning scenes, but the execution? I was impressed by what they were able to offer. And we did get some decent time with Yuka in this episode – so while I don’t think she’s a fan favorite yet, I think there is still time for that to change.
Finally, the gang has decided to split up in hopes of both completing the quest at hand and rescuing the prisoners from their death sentence. So far the group off to find more goods to deliver to the destination… are not doing so hot, but they also weren’t the focus of the episode, so maybe next week we’ll get time to see them struggle and (hopefully) find something in time for the deadline. Yotsuya, Yuka, and Kahabell make up the rescue team, which I must admit was a surprise to me. I think I feel into the same mindset as some of our characters in thinking that Yotsuya doesn’t care about the lives of the prisoners and cares more about the quest… and I think that’s still true, but I am happy with the way this episode plays out, all the way to Yuka’s questions to him near the end of the episode.
Before talking about the rescue plan, I do want to say that I did appreciate the honest conversation that Yotsuya and Yuka were able to have at the end. I think the particular way they went about it, really emphasized how much danger they are in while they are in the game world. It gets into a little bit of morality especially when you take into account non-player characters. From all the other characters, they have a lot more empathy towards these characters, often forgetting that they are (potentially) just characters who are acting like humans. Yes, when they die, they die in their world, but how much of that is just AI vs actual people. And the gamified nature of their situation really makes the heroes forget that their lives are on the line as well. So, I’m really happy that Yotsuya was able to say that explicitly, that all of the heroes are in a dangerous situation and he doesn’t really want them to die. He’s… I think just doing a good job of weighing the pros and cons of each decision before making a decision they would disagree with. Completing the quest means they would all live so it makes sense that it would be their biggest priority, but it really seems like the others tend to forget that along the way. I mean, I kind of forget too… so it was a good reminder!
Anyways, back to the actual plan that they carried out in this episode. Guys, just the scenes that they were able to create in the night of the world were really intense. Yotsuya’s expressions and the use of fire… just… wow. I can’t find the best way to describe my feelings towards them. They were very good! I wouldn’t call them revolutionary in any way, but they helped create the atmosphere of the situation really well. Yotsuya’s expressions throughout this entire episode really made their plan enjoyable to watch. I didn’t really care much for the planning conversations, but carrying them out? Heck yeah, they’re doing what they need to do.
I liked how they used Yuka and Yotsuya’s constant dislike of each other to their advantage, and I think that also worked with the viewers. With Yuka’s attitude these past couple of episodes, I could be convinced that she would sell him out. But at the same time, I kinda saw through it and honestly, it wouldn’t have been better if it was an actual betrayal. But she certainly hammed it up! But just… holy cow. When they arrived back to the bodies on the ground with the remaining NPC bound up. That scene? Good job. And then just the rest of the plan, where they actually covered the soldier in oil and burned him alive. I was not expecting that at all, and I think that added to the impact of the moment. And they didn’t just leave it. They did just say “yeah, he’s dead”, no they went the extra mile at the end of the episode to show us Yotsuya’s level drop due to NPC kill. I think adding that scene really hit the nail in the coffin. And hey! They were able to save the prisoners! So hopefully its smooth sailing from here! (Well, it probably won’t be, but we’ll get there when we get there.)
So, overall, there were just some shining moment in this episode! I definitely think there are somethings that could be improved, but overall, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to next week.