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X episode 16: Slaughter

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This episode was weird. Normally, I haven't had any trouble keeping up with an episode's plot after a bit of a hiatus, but this one lost me. They were talking about things that I had forgotten and characters came into play who hadn't really appeared all that much.

I had to keep stopping to look up background info on just what was happening and why. It didn't help that we have a good guy named Seiichiro and a bad guy named Seishiro. The latter is featured more prominently, but the prior does pop up so I had to make an effort to keep all of that straight.

As if the last episode hadn't offered enough proof that Fuma was a formidable adversary, it is reinforced in the opening of this episode as Subaru jumps into the fray. He makes a valiant effort, but ultimately doesn't fare much better and ends up being blinded in one eye as a result.

This leads to a scene where Kamui and a few of the other Seals mope about how they were unable to do anything to stop what had happened. While Kamui feels guilty since he was there; Arashi, Sorata, and Yuzuriha lament the fact that they couldn't get there in time.

Given anime's penchant for characters angsting and weighing themselves with self doubt, this scene really could have gone into "narm" territory. A part of me thinks that it really should have, by all accounts, but given what had happened, I think that it was pretty justified. On the plus side, Sorata does lift everyone's spirits, and really he would be the one to do it.

I'm not sure what to think about the death of Hokuto, Subaru's sister. We learn that she put a spell on her assassin so that should he kill her brother, he'd end up dying and vice versa. While it's not "sacrificing herself" per se, it's a weird decision. Yeah, it keeps her brother alive, but her insistence on keeping Seishiro alive is baffling. Even he points out that he just killed her, but she's surprisingly cool with it...because...she loves him?

That plot point was wonky, but it does come into play as the assassin ends up dying as a result of delivering a killing blow to Subaru during their fight. You'd think that this would be a win for the good guys, after all, one of their adversaries has fallen.

Interestingly enough, Fuma notes that Subaru seems to be out of the fight as well, since he no longer has anyone to protect and his vendetta has apparently been sated.

The episode does live up to the title as the Dragons of Heaven continue to take losses. Things look grim, but hope springs eternal. We'll have to wait and see how things play out from here.


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