The first half of this episode is a lot of talking. Alas, it isn't even really meaningful talk. Most of it comes off as chit chat, which is bizarre. The only conversation that I felt had any real weight was the one between Hinoto and one of her servants, Saiki. She asks him whether he laments his role as her guardian, especially considering the fact that the role was chosen for him before he was born. He's adamant, saying that he was never dissatisfied with the role.
Interestingly enough, Saiki gets the closest thing to the spotlight in this episode. Not only does that conversation act as one of the highlights of the first half of the episode, but we also get glimpses into his childhood as he was being mentored by his uncle, Seiichiro.
As is often the case with supporting characters like this, getting the spotlight and a deeper insight into backstory means that your fate is sealed and you're going to die by episode's end. This turns out to be the case and when I said that his fate was sealed, it is meant in the most literal sense. Hinoto has a conversation with the dreamseer for the Dragons of Earth and they discuss the fact that he was going to die and that the future can't be changed. It's a sort of thematic follow up to the previous episode's conversations and it makes things look rather grim for the heroes as it is said that Kamui will not win against Fuma.
This idea is confirmed when the two confront each other. Kamui goes down rather easily. I guess it's because he doesn't want to fight his friend, but at the same time, it's made clear that Fuma isn't there. If nothing else, you'd think he'd try to conjure up some rage about the death of Kotori to give him some motivation, but no. He lets his guard down repeatedly and gets knocked out rather quickly as a result. Saiki, on the other hand, actually tries to put up a fight. It's a weird inverse of other confrontations where Kamui had everyone completely outclassed. I guess they wanted to give Saiki a noble, heroic death where he goes down swinging. If nothing else, he did get that.
I am enjoying Fuma as a villain. Not only does his great power make him a formidable adversary, but he loves taunting his enemies. He doesn't quite monologue exactly, but he does know how to get into people's heads and use their own psychological weaknesses against them. It's fun to watch and it adds a bit of flavor to what could have become a repetitive fight sequence.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this episode. I was ready to write it off as filler, but once it picked up momentum, it ended up working rather well. Action is always welcome, tension was built up, and you had enough character moments to keep you engaged overall. The death of Saiki should also make for interesting fodder for future episodes as several characters seem to be putting the brunt of guilt on themselves.