Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – The show that crapped on on everything good, especially the previous season.

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Above is a photo of Azazel from Genesis. He is not amused by the shit that went down in VS. In fact, no one is. Or at least, not people who actually think character development and plot coherency matter in a series. I’ve read a few other reviews now that the show is over and basically it boils down to (most, not all) fans feeling betrayed, depressed, disappointed, angry and annoyed at what happened in the second cour. For those who don’t like my generally rambling bitchings about what happened to this show, please feel free to read these two reviews that do a better job of it.  FYI, spoilers ahead.

So, what happened since I last wrote about it? Basically, I was right. And I HATE IT when I’m right when it comes to anime shows because that means there’s some sloppy ass writing going on. One thing I’ve always loved about anime is how it can surprise me. Sometimes I think I’ll know where a show is going and then it surprises me in some way to take a different course that I’d not considered before. I won’t say it always ends up being for the better or even a good ending, but at least it gives me something to think about in how it differs from what I predicted might happen. But with VS, although I didn’t write any of it down here, I predicted practically every single scene that happened in the last three episodes and that pisses me off because what I predicted was the worst possible way the show could end, destroying all aspects of it ever having a chance at being good.

In my last review I wrote: “Could [Charioce] have been making Dromos deliberately to ensure that Bahamut is without-a-doubt destroyed? If so, then that is one super shitty plot line.” That is exactly what happened. And my total rant about how awful that is and demeans everything else this season and the last season have built up was validated.

After the fall of Bahamut in Genesis, an Orleans Knight, who would become leader of the Onxy Knights (who was never given a name), found Martinet’s writings [Martinet was mastermind villain in Genesis] and realized there was a way to completely and utterly destroy Bahamut – probably.  The King’s court then decided they needed a BAMF to take charge after the last weak-sauce King’s reign so they took orphaned bastard child Chris and made him Charioce,  The Genocidal Asshat. Charioce takes technology supposedly learned from Martinet’s writings (this is never explicitly stated or made clear how the hell they got the green magic crystal things because that was necessary to beat the shit out of the angels/demons first) and sacks the angel headquarters for more of the green powerful stuff. I’m assuming the only reason why he sacked the demon base was to use the demons as slave labor to create Dromos and build up the capital’s economy. All the while, the court takes note of some rift of sorts in Eibos where Bahamut supposedly died or was contained in Genesis. Therefore, time was of the essence and the past few years were a race against Bahamut’s re-awakening during the making of Dromos, aka hand-puppet-death-star.

Favaro pretty much explains Charioce is more of of a victim than a villain to make Nina feel better about not having the guts to kill her precious Chris. In doing so, the show basically neuters Favaro’s character entirely from what he was in Genesis and somehow justifies the King’s rather racist and violent means-to-an-end. It’s literally one of those sacrifice the few (angels and demons mostly) to save the greater good (humans, mostly). Charioce releases Bahamut from Eibos and somehow leads the dragon of all world destruction to the capital where Dromos is waiting, because, you know, of course Bahamut is going to follow Charioce even though it singed the shit out of Beelzebub in Genesis when trying to be controlled. [Reminder: any sort of plot logic and consistency is null and void in VS.]

Angry parents Jeanne and Azazel take their revenge war to the capital and realize the King isn’t even there. Alessand is killed in a very dramatic and drawn-out scene by some random demon child. If Alessand had been built up to be more of a villain beforehand, then this scene would’ve been fantastic and moving. However, the show spent zero time on make Alessand into a character worth two shits, so his death just wasted 10 minutes out of an episode. Kaisar tries to stop the revenge war, but is ignored, as usual. It’s not until Jeanne and Azazel are about to put the smack-down on Charioce together that Kaisar acts and finally chooses a side – and it’s the wrong one because HE DIES. Yep, another wonderful character from Genesis, who showed some decent growth in the first half of VS, also had his balls chopped off by the end of this season. Rita’s concern for him was great, but the scene just had zero impact on me because I saw it coming as well. AND I dreaded seeing him return – as a zombie bitten by Rita – at the very end.

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Azazel’s reaction here mirrors mine in how fucking shitty this all turned out. I loved Kaisar from the beginning and I did rather like the dynamic he had going on with Rita, but to make them zombies together by the end? UUUUGGGGHHHH. No… just…. NO.

So while Kaisar is dying, Jeanne and Azazel pretty much stand still since they are technically the ones who killed Kaisar as he jumped in front of Charioce to save his life. They stay frozen like that with pained expressions doing nothing until the end while Charioce uses Dromos to kill of Bahamut and fulfill his destiny. He declares that if he survives, they can do with his life as they see fit.

So… where the fuck is Nina in all of this? You know, the so-called protagonist of this season? Oh right, she’s just watching everything and when she sees her precious Chris go sacrifice himself to use Dromos she flees to his side. Favaro of course gave her a pep talk first because he sacrificed his beloved Amira in Genesis and he doesn’t want her to make the same mistake he did. He tells her: CHOOSE YOUR WAR MONGERING LOVER OVER THE FATE OF THE WORLD. And so she does. And supposedly there is some romantic parallel between Amira/Favaro and Nina/Chris but damned be if I can actually give a fuck about it because it’s so horribly written. Anyhow, Nina uses Dromos with Charioce and kills Bahamut in one blast. Considering both Bahamut and Dromos are considered world-obliterating things I’m hard pressed to think that either is that powerful based on what I saw. Bahamut seems to have been neutered power-wise this season compared to Genesis.

In the end, Charioce is justified and allowed to live although he’s now completely blind. Nina lost her voice in the battle so even though both of them have suffered for their love together, they still get it and even get to dance one last time because dancing is everything. Jeanne lives with the gods and mourns her dead, pointless plot point, El/Mugaro. Azazel is seen with her and then wanders off and no one knows where he went. Favaro continues on with his dickless self to seek other adventures he’ll never follow through on because he’s a sentimental old man now. Rita gets to take care of zombie Kaisar and the enslaved demons are now getting paid by the humans for their labor – yay?

Oh and guess what? Bahamut didn’t really die. Dun…. dun….DUUUUUUUNNNN! Not as if anyone gives a fuck at this point.

I’ve felt this for a long time and read a lot of people say the same thing: this show feels like it was written by two different people. One person wrote the first cour with fantastic character development and a cohesive plot line that gave greater meaning to the events of Genesis. The next person wrote the second cour and that person took a shit and smeared it over everything that had happened before and all over Genesis. The second writer destroyed character credibility, muddled plot information, and wrote an ending that they wanted (hint: it’s a shitty romance!), completely disregarding everything else and only suiting the plot to that end game.

Here’s my extra two cents on how the second cour should’ve been played out or at least made tolerable- in case anyone is still reading this:

  • Just keep Charioce as a one-sided villain. Fuck any sort of redemption or reasons for his need to kill angels and enslave demons. Make the fucker evil for evil’s sake – even if the source of it was his boring mother’s death. Make him egotistical and power hungry to the very end. Use Bahamut’s destruction in Genesis as a motivator for his need to control everything.
  • Kill the Charioce/Nina romance. Sure, let her fall for him at first, but then when she sees what he’s really like – open her eyes. Even if she doesn’t end up with anyone at the end that’s fine. Let him be an asshole that let her on and then spat in her face to show how people can be two-sided when they want to be. Better to have the experience under her belt for dealing with people in the future and better evaluating them.
  • 86 Dromos. The death star is not needed. Let Bahamut come back via Charioce’s need to control everything and have it bite him in the ass. I realize this is just a rehashing of Beelzebub from Genesis, but I still think this would play out better than the shit storm that actually happened.
  • The heroes of VS would be Azazel and Jeanne. Nina was pretty much pointless entirely. Based on how well written the first cour was of the show, these two characters (and Mugaro) deserve much better. Let the three of them fight off Charioce’s genocidal war together.

Pat yourself on the back for reading this far. I’m done with this shitshow and now ready to dive into better worlds, mostly The Ancient Magus’s Bride.

SnB:VS Episode 21: S*** finally gets real

Alessand

As usual, there will be spoilers.

So where do I begin? Episode summary or just dive head first into Nina haterade?

I’ll try and go through the episode as shit hit the fan and kept coming at it the whole time.

First: Alessand officially killed Mugaro. Afterwards, we see Alessand go back to the Onyx Knight leader and he shows his bloodied knife, saying he’s killed the holy child. He now wants to be an Onyx Knight as his reward. He finds out it’s gruesome and unglamorous and Alessand says thanks, but no thanks. Disillusioned and dealing with the death of a child on his hands, he breaks down. Alessand is a character to be pitied, but he’s been such a doorstop the whole time it’s hard to really care about him at all. His bit parts the entire series have felt more or less like throw-away scenes with little value. Now all of a sudden we’re supposed to take him seriously as a secondary villain in the making after 20 episodes of him just being a whiney little bitch?

Second, Azazel confronts Lucifer (FINALLY LUCI IS ON SCREEN!) and says now is the time to act and declare war.  While this scene was good because two hot and hot-headed demons were bickering like a married couple, it did feel a little wasted. It’s known that Azazel stormed off from the demon hideout way back when to go save the demons Charioce enslaved. His sense of duty towards his people has always been fierce and making Charioce/ humans who abuse demons pay for it was always his objective. Unfortunately, like many other instances in this series, this is another missed opportunity case. Had the struggle to show Azazel’s determination to free the demon slaves been a relatively constant subplot of the show, this meeting with Lucifer would’ve held a lot more weight. Lucifer wanted nothing to do with human battles after Charioce nearly decimated their race and would rather hide under a rock to ensure his survival than fight. With Azazel finally showing up to say this is go time, why couldn’t we have had a little more backstory on Lucifer’s reluctance and need to see Azazel prove himself capable of leading a successful battle before now? For as much as I loved the interaction between these two bishonen, I have to admit that it felt tacked on.

Third, Jeanne gets pissed off enough to go to Gabriel and say: bitch, my son is dead and I’m in charge and WAR!!! NOW!!! And then Gabriel gives her cryptic smile and Sophiel fuses herself with Jeanne to make her super human powerful and god-like aka SnB: Genesis. WHUT? She’s allowed to have her powers back? Doesn’t that make Mugaro kinda…. pointless if his mom was always capable of being the BAMF She-Ra she was in Genesis? I felt gutted when I saw that scene because it really just made me feel like Mugaro, who was by far one of the absolute best characters of the whole second series with an intriguing story arc, completely superfluous. If the angels can just Power Ranger up any old human why the fuck was Mugaro even necessary to their cause in the first cour?! This scene too felt tacked on and completely undermined the importance of Mugaro’s character.

Fourth, Kaisar and Dias are the only ones who realize Alessand killed Mugaro for his own personal gain and not any real direct order from Charioce.  Therefore, Azazel and Jeanne’s upcoming war is based on misplaced anger. That’s not stated, but implied by the meeting. It could also be a red herring because there seem to be a lot of those in this series. Considering Charioce did order Mugaro’s death earlier, he’s still no more or less culpable of the kid’s death. Alessand simply did him an indirect favor. Also, Kaisar finds out Charioce is in Abos/Eibos (it was Abos in Genesis, but it seems to have been turned into Eibos in Virgin Soul). So all the heroes except the two war lords (Azazel and Jeanne) know where Charioce is hanging out. This seems to be setting up the cast for a two-field battle ground: one in Anatae with the demon and angel armies against the humans and one in Eibos with Nina against Charioce.

Lastly, Nina finally acts a little like she could be an actual protagonist in this series.  Favaro, ever the acutely aware teacher/dad, checks on a grieving Nina and finally sees some resolve on her face as she declares that no matter what she will stop Charioce. It’s implied that she’ll kill him if she has to, but never explicitly stated. None fucks were given about her resolution because… say it with me… too little too late to give a shit.

While watching Virgin Soul I re-watched Genesis and apparently Eibos was the last place where Bahamut was held until it broke free, nearly destroyed the world, and was fought back into submission/sorta death. Charioce visiting Eibos has been mentioned in passing a couple times, so I’m guessing this will eventually have something to do with Bahamut? Maybe? Red herring? Could he have been making Dromos deliberately to ensure that Bahamut is without-a-doubt destroyed? If so, then that is one super shitty plot line. Conjecture: That would make him a misunderstood anti-hero who ultimately would have the preservation of the human species as his end game and purpose. The motivation behind that purpose was most likely the death of his mother. Had humans exerted more power earlier on, then she wouldn’t have had to die, therefore his genocide against the demons and angels to gain their powers to create Dromos would make him justified. I have a very strange feeling this is where the show is head, but I could be wrong. If I am correct, then Charioce will be propped up to bad, but not-so-bad villain. It would also explain a lot about his character. I have a very bad feeling that his backstory in all this will be told via some flashback that’ll take up the majority of the finale and end with him and Nina working together. Shall I place bets with myself now?

Killing off a major character for the sake of a good narrative and move the remaining characters into action has been done plenty of times before. Mugaro’s death was the catalyst for the cast to actually get back to the plot. It was also the catalyst in turning Nina into a valuable player – I think. That’s still… TBD. Unfortunately, since the characters weren’t moving towards much of a plot to begin with, the little tyke’s death just seems plain sad and not really thought out at all by the producers.

This episode upped it’s game visually. Many characters were given gorgeous moments with beautiful lighting and details. The slow-motion scenes of Rita trying to save Mugaro while all characters were shown in states of shock, anger and grief, accompanied by a choral hymn were beautiful. It was meant to have a powerful, dream-like emotional punch and it succeeded there. The detailed emphasis on all the major players afterwards visually was quite a delicious spectacle. But I can’t help but feel half of it was wasted due to the plot going to shit in such a way.

No one still has any fucking clue what Charioce is up to or why. What I wrote above is, as stated, conjecture. Three episodes left and I kinda feel like the plot rolls with whatever magic 8-ball MAPPA is using right now.

 

 

SnB:VS Episode 20 – poor Mugaro

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Spoilers ahead.

I’ve kinda given up on SnBVS actually adhering to some sort of plot now. It started out with an end point, but the train derailed and despite its determination to get somewhere, no one on board has any clue where that end point exists.  Weird things keep happening that are very much too-little-too-late in the gives-a-shit category.

Heart-broken Nina, after flubbing up the mission because she preferred to dance, runs away from the castle and ends up in a one on one battle with another dragon. WHUT? The head Onyx Knight hired a full-fledged dragon-folk guy who is a purist and hates half breeds (insert Hogwarts Slytherin references here, it’s same sort of prejudice). He and Nina go full-dragon mode to fight it out and Nina gets her ass handed to her.

What’s incredible about this scene is how pointless it was from the beginning. This is also an incredible missed opportunity for character development Nina needed over ten episodes ago. Having Nina face off against one of her own kind earlier would’ve been an amazing way to open up her eyes about the world around her and maybe be more invested in what her friends are fighting for, but that didn’t happen. After her short-lived battle, she ends up knocked down and it’s not the hunter who deals the final blow – it’s the Onyx Knight when he reveals that Charioce ordered her to be killed. Fuck the fact that she’s fighting another dragon! Fuck the fact that her life is in danger! Her defeat was more emotional than physical and while some would say that’s significant, it makes me laugh because that alone rendered the whole 2 minute battle sequence with the dragon hunter completely irrelevant and unnecessary. Want to take Nina down? Tell her Charioce hates her. Boom. Destroyed.

Back at home base, Mugaro throws a tantrum about not wanting to go back to Heaven. The reunion scene ended up being glossed over with only Jeanne thanking Azazel for taking care of Mugaro. Mom’s back to take custody and go home with El. K. Thnx. Bye.  However, Mugaro’s superiority complex (courtesy of Gabriel) hadn’t entirely abated. While this scene gave Bacchus a shining moment as he called out Mugaro on his ego, this scene still felt a bit pointless. The angels know about Dromos (hand puppet death star) and how it can destroy the world. So…. why do they want to take back the super power kid who has the best chance out of any of defeating it back to Heaven? Oh, right, Gabriel is too depressed up in Heaven and needs everyone to go back to her. That’s at least the only reason I can think of why there was even an argument about going back to Heaven. I think Bacchus’s comment was good in knocking Mugaro down a peg and putting his existence into perspective, but shit, the kid wants to fight and may be very necessary in helping to save the world!  In any case, Mugaro realizes he’s not the world savior he thought he was and then goes to say his goodbyes.

Cut to scene with Nina having a temper tantrum over Charioce, because nothing else matters to her and she’s still as irrelevant to the story as ever. She was given a very small bit of characterization as she attempts to hide her tears and puts on a cheery face in front of Mugaro, knowing he’s going away. Seriously MAPPA, more little scenes like this would’ve made Nina much more tolerable up to this point. I know I’ve said this so many times, but I just DGAF about her or Charioce. Burn ’em both.

I really hope this is the final straw for Charioce being an actual villain, but part of me thinks it’s all set up for him to be the fall-guy. He never explicitly said to kill the red dragon, but his non-committal response could be construed as him being just as guilty of it.

Mugaro’s goodbye scene with Azazel was as emotional as their meeting again and that along with Bacchus’s comments were the best scenes of the whole episode. Actually both scenes were throw-away scenes now that I think about it because it’s all about going back to Heaven for some unknown reason that most likely has zero affect on the plot. That, in turn, makes this generally a filler episode from beginning to end – IF the plot made sense, but it doesn’t.

Post credit major spoiler: Alessand, who was hiding out in the slums because everyone had forgotten about him, gets Mugaro alone and stabs the kid in the stomach. I’m guessing he did this to prove himself after being turned down from the Onyx Knights. He was a cardboard cut-out character from the beginning and him doing this NOW also feels like a missed opportunity for character development that would’ve made him more tolerable much earlier in the series. I can understand the importance of offing (or attempting to kill) Mugaro at this point just before the final arc push. Downing a major power player is always a setback. However, the way it was done feels like a shock-value afterthought on the part of MAPPA. Once again, post credit action/revelations that last all of 20 seconds trump the entire episode’s worth of…. whatever the hell it was….

This was another episode that packed a punch on an emotional front, but seemed to fall flat on action. While I applauded the show in the beginning for putting more weight into the characters over Genesis, I’m starting to feel conflicted due to how badly this series has mucked up. Some characters are given incredible moments to shine and fill out, while others, who badly needed more moments and backstory, aren’t given anything at all. So the idea that Virgin Soul is more character based doesn’t entirely hold up anymore. The first cour seemed to really balance out the character narratives with a plot line, but the second cour has thrown all of that out the window. Neither the character moments nor the action seem in sync now. As a viewer I don’t care as much about the action because I have no reason to care about the characters participating in it. Also, any action that seems significant, ends up being irrelevant and a waste of time.

Nina is supposed to be the one I root for the most and she’s the character I care least about. I understand that in life-threatening or world-threatening situations the characters can’t entirely relate nor care about why they should be saving the world. It’s a character crisis that many protagonists go through and when they conquer their afflictions to gain a greater sense of the big picture and how they fit in it – it becomes a vital part of why they end up being the protagonist to root for in the end. I know Nina’s emotional turmoil is meant to bring her to a greater understanding of herself and the world around her. Yes, even something as simple as a broken heart can do that to a good protagonist. However, it’s not working this time at all. Her lack of self-reflection has been to her detriment as a character I care about. Favaro seems to be the only one who gets it – she needs to work past her emotions to reach the other side. To the show’s credit, his attention to her has been touching and lets the viewers know, ok she’s really not that naive. But it’s only been through his attention and guidance of her that the viewer even has a hint she’s got a brain! There’s a major problem when other characters have to be so verbal in foreshadowing to relay the emotional journey of a character we, as viewers, should already know that about.

There are 4 more episodes for Nina to get over it and actually do something real as a protagonist as well as find the plot and stick to it. My favorites: Favaro, Kaisar, Azazel, Jeanne, Bacchus, Rita, and Mugaro have been stuck in the mud, spinning their wheels for far too long.

SnB:VS Epsiode 20 (Spoilers)

I’m really trying to wait until the end of the series, but each episode now is equal parts infuriating and amazing at the same time, but very uneven in their amounts.

SPOILERS:

Basically the plot of this episode was side-swiped by the ongoing “romance” between King Genocidal Sadboy and Nina. Instead of giving action to a episode where it was much needed to keep the plot moving, the show focused on Charioce essentially “dumping” Nina – and none fucks were given.

The episode started off with our ragtag heroes devising a shitty plan (Rita admitted as much) to steal the bracelet from King Genocidal Sadboy because it controls the hand-puppet-death-star he is trying to regenerate. We all know how these bad plans pan out right? Lots of goofy antics and some action and then a half-failure. Nope, not this time. Instead the show focused on Nina and Charioce dancing again in the ballroom with her looking happy and smiling up at him and he’s….. just fucking deadpan the whole time.

The majority of the episode focused on the ball and Nina’s heartbreak and it was the most annoying part of the whole episode. While she trembled and threw her hands up in the air and demanded answers I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe after 20 episodes this will be the point where she becomes The Protagonist. Oh and all those answers about why the king won’t tell her anything? Oh, uh, those were all lies – or so he says. I think the show has showed enough for the viewers to realize he lied to her about lying to her about when he’d give her proper answers. So of course you get the tiniest hint that he does really give two shits about her since he’s still withholding information, but he’s King Sadboy so we probably won’t get any real Reasons until the very last episode when there will still be none fucks given because I can’t stand either of them now.

If he is in fact a Mr. Darcy in all of this, misunderstood and hiding to protect what he cares about blah blah blah, then this is the fucking worst version of him I’ve seen yet. I think the show is making it a little obvious now that he’s got Issues and Reasons behind what he’s doing, but the show refuses to make him relatable in any manner at all throughout all of it. There is still ZERO evidence of him caring about anything at all or having any kind of legitimate reasons for what he’s done. If the show is trying to be subtle about it, then they’ve also failed because I just don’t get it at all.

If there was any silver lining to yet another dose of here-goes-the-plot… oh-nope-sorry-we-lost-it-again-because-dancing-and-heartbreak-are-more-important, it was this scene:

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THIS IS SOME BIG SHIT HERE.

Azazel, Mugaro/El, Alessand, Jeanne D’arc, and Sophiel all meeting up together made me gasp.

Recap: Jeanne is El’s mother (through immaculate conception of sorts via kiss from the archangel Michael back in SnB Genesis). When the king started his genocidal war on the angels/demons the Onyx Knights were chasing Sophiel (angel), who was saved by Jeanne, but then ended up with the knights finding out about El (half angel super power boy) and chasing Jeanne/El afterwards. Jeanne mutilates her son to protect him, leaving him in a demon slave trading area and tells him someone will come along to help (the most beautifully heart wrenching episode of anime I’ve seen in a long time and by far the best of the whole series). Enter Azazel the freedom fighter. El was in the right place at the right time when Azazel was freeing some demons and boom – Azazel turns into Hot Goth (surrogate) Angel Dad. He gives El the name Mugaro because El’s vocal cords were destroyed and he couldn’t tell him himself. So for a year or so Mugaro has been by Azazel’s side as they try to help enslaved demons and find ways to defeat the king. Jeanne, meanwhile was captured and put in prison below the castle where the king taunted her/tried to get answers about El, who he knew would be a hindrance to his plans. Fast forward to when Azazel, Nina and Kaisar were captured by the king, El also gets captured by the angels looking for him to turn him into their super power to defeat the king. All escape and eventually El and Jeanne have a heartwarming reunion in heaven (one of the better scenes of season 2 – minus Nina’s melodramatic antics). El’s turned into a proper angel and given his full powers and can talk again and brags to his mom about the awesomesauce that saved him: Azazel. Cue Jeanne looking…… upset because you know, there was that whole scene in Genesis where they tried to kill each other because she was the demon slaying weapon of the angels given special powers and he was, well….. Azazel who just killed people because he’s a demon.

Meanwhile, Alessand, who has been nothing more than a petulant, whining doorstop the whole season finally meets his muse and reason for joining the Orleans Knights to begin with: Jeanne The Hot Former Captain of the Orleans Knights. Throughout the show he’s been allowed to air out why he’s disappointed in the knights and not liking his current captain (Kaisar) because he was hoping to be under the command of Jeanne The Hotness. Jeanne was MIA (in prison) by the time Alessand joined the knights and the kid has only seen the reputation of the knights take a nose-dive to shitsville while he’s been among them.

So, one MAJOR backstory and one minor one that’s felt a little pointless until this time coming to a head in a scene that lasted all of ten seconds. How will Mom Jeanne and (Surrogate) Dad Azazel react to each other? I’m not entirely sure Azazel is aware Jeanne is Mugaro’s mom, but it’s possible. More importantly, will Mugaro be able to make them get along or will he take a side? So far, while Mugaro clearly loves mom, he’s decided to leave her for the fight against the king and so paired up with Azazel again. While the reunion scene with Jeanne was beautiful, the reunion scene with Azazel was just as beautiful, showing how much weight Mugaro gives to both.

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This show is driving me nuts.

Post credits, shit may get real with Nina having to finally prove herself as a character worthy of being on the show because someone’s actually out to properly kill her this time.

SnB: VS update: episode 18

Reminder: I post more about fashion/outfits on this blog, but I am first and foremost an otaku. I love my anime shows and manga. Maybe I should change the format of the blog to magazine so people can choose what categories to read? I’m not sure since I really don’t post too much about anime/manga here, except when I’m really invested in a show.

I was planning on waiting until the end of the series to write up thoughts on Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul, but episode 18 got me all fired up again.

azazel

“I’ll be honest, I don’t think that I can forgive Nina for choosing a genocidal sadboy over Hot Goth Angel Dad.” – ANN

Exactly. I actually laughed, clapped, and scared the cats because I reacted so physically to that comment. It seems that reviewer and I are generally on the same page with how the show is going. I actually think I’m a bit harsher on Nina than she is though.

Episode 18 changed focus to the whole team, rotating scenes to get viewers caught up on what they are doing to plot against the genocidal sadboy. It was a good episode because it didn’t focus on the weaksauce lovebird duo. Two of the best characters in the series got some time on screen, and yes, my favorite – Azazel – was one of them.  When I ranted that the cast aside from Charioce x Nina were the ones pulling the plot together – this episode proved my point. Kaisar went undercover (I freaking loved the drag queen makeup on him) in the hostess club to recruit his fellow Orleans Knights and bring those two doorstops into the plot. Meanwhile Bacchus, surprisingly, was gaining intel in the city while dressed as a joker (his dancing was also a laugh out loud highlight considering we’re used to seeing him lounging around drunk). Hamsa was also working by scouting the hand-puppet death star and although Rita’s input wasn’t explicitly stated one can always assume she’s on top of things. Rita mocked Azazel, Favaro, and Nina for doing nothing the whole day, which I don’t think is entirely true. Sure Nina was on a date with the King everyone is trying to defeat, but Favaro…. I’ll place bets he was busy doing something that none of the others were privy to.

Azazel took a much needed personal care day to reflect on his actions. Nina and Mugaro both apologized to him for not being able to help him more when he needed it the most – when his demon friends were killed by the Onyx Knights in episode 8. I think the show is trying to show his redemption more with this episode and how he’s actually changed. He’s understood that the death of his friends was ultimately his own fault. His ego got in the way and he assumed he had all the cards he needed to play when he wanted and then got his ass handed to him. That’s clearly been a bitter pill for him to swallow as shown in this episode where he visits the sites where his friends died. He’s also not letting his anger get the better of him. When Mugaro was singled out by some Orleans Knights and went chasing after him, Azazel swoops in and saves the kid. Granted, Mugaro really is blameless for the death of the demons, but his apology and Azazel’s reaction he has nothing to be sorry for shows how level headed the Hot Goth Angel Dad has become over the series. The fact that Azazel says, “you’re apologizing to me too?” shows he’s acknowledged Nina’s apology from earlier – even if he was totally tsundere about it – and knows the apologies won’t take away his own feelings of responsibility. Hell, even after Nina brazenly shows off her ability to turn into a dragon at-will Azazel still doesn’t yell at her. He’s shocked and upset but just asks, “Why now?” He then walks away with tears in his eyes and sure a good part of that might be anger towards her, but it’s also anger at himself. He’s still ultimately to blame for Dante and Succubus’s Belphegor’s deaths. [I forgot lady demon’s name there and had to look it up.]

And here’s where I bitch about how stupid Nina is again. If she wasn’t so obliviously stupid I’d say she’s almost deliberately throwing salt on the wounds of all her friends trying to save the world while she’s gallivanting off with the King who’s responsible for it’s impending death! When she shows off her dragon ability I really wanted to see all the other characters bitch-slap her. Again, she’s clearly not turned into The Protagonist of the show and at this point I’m wondering if the show will even do anything to make her more active on that front at all. Do they really intend to use her dragon powers at the 11th hour to make her role in all this worthwhile? Will she continue her role as Side Character B who indirectly bumbles in and out of the plot in ways that mildly inch it along to the very end? Or will the show even give us Charioce’s reasons (with pained expression) also at the very end to make us all think: Oh he really was a Mr. Darcy type who sacrificed so much! BULLSHIT.

I’m glad at least the show gave us Favaro calling Nina out on her romance. His near fatherly advice to her thinking long and hard about what she should do next might be an indicator the show is aware of how stupid the romance is, but it could also be a red herring just to throw the viewers off. Also, a nod to Amira from Genesis shows the writers are capable of putting their thinking hats on with these characters, so why hasn’t Nina grown any more other than this stupid puppy love and being able to transform into a dragon? I’m so conflicted as to whether or not they really are playing around with the viewers or not. They’ve done such an amazing job with Kaisar, Azazel, Jeanne, Favaro, and hell even Bacchus and Hamsa! So why are the newbies (Nina and Charioce) being such late bloomers? At this point I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass what happens to either of them. I just want Azazel to be redeemed, Kaisar to have his dignity/prestige as an Orleans Knight restored, Rita to continue being amazingly awesome at helping everyone else (and maybe get a proper date with Kaisar), Jeanne and Mugaro to be able to have a normal family life, Hamsa and Bacchus to do whatever the hell it is they want to do  (probably just drink and hang out again – maybe be able to visit heaven whenever they want) and fuck all with the rest of them.

Damnit this show riles me up! This was another mostly good episode that has mildly restored my faith – although not too much because I’m waiting to have the carpet pulled out from under me emotionally again.