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X episode 20: Ripple

DVD Cover

Arashi takes the center stage in this episode, as does her relationship with Sorata. The once stoic woman now finds herself having feelings for her fellow dragon and it's kind of weird to see. It's heartwarming in a way, but she pulls a complete 180. Maybe it's because she's largely been in the background for a while, but I found it a bit jarring.

The Tumblr crowd will hate this episode. Not only does Arashi fall in love with a male, but she and Yuzuriha also have a fairly lengthy discussion about finding love. As if that weren't bad enough, there's a scene where the two girls are cooking with Sorata in a kitchen. Yuzuriha even has to ask Sorata to open a pickle jar. The scene is actually rather cute and surprisingly light-hearted, but I could easily see Tumblr types gritting their teeth throughout the duration of this episode.

The fun shenanigans are interrupted by Princess Hinoto, who tells them that she has had another vision that tells where the Dragons of Earth are going to strike next. As there are two locations, the group pairs off to scout out the respective areas: Yuzuriha and Arashi in one group, Kamui and Sorata in the other.

As it turns out Fuma is indeed at the prior location and the two girls square off. While we don't see the fight per se, we do see Yuzuriha unconscious and Arashi on the defensive. I do wonder why they even need the other Dragons of Earth. Fuma seems more than capable of taking on all of them. He's actually a bit too overpowered to be honest. The way they've depicted him, he could probably take on all 7 at once. The few hits that they do land end up getting a no-sell reaction, it gets to the point where it almost becomes repetitive. Is it too much to ask that the good guys get the upper hand once, even for a little while?

When Sorata and Kamui see Arashi's barrier go up, they attempt to charge in to help, but Hinoto tells them to stay put because something is going to happen there. Sorata decides to split the difference and summons a spirit guardian..thing to fight in his stead so that he can protect Arashi and not leave.

It doesn't do any good, Fuma single handedly defeats the spirit with little effort and, as a result, Sorata is hurt. In typical villain fashion, Fuma just leaves after he has the heroes at his mercy. In his defense, they have yet to come close to posing anything even resembling a threat to him. Hubris may be a common trait in villains, but he has the curb-stomp battles to back it up.

As the episode ends, Sorata and Arashi share a rather tender moment as Arashi admits that she loves him. The two share a night of passion together and she decides to go and confront Fuma alone, because they've fared so well so far. Seems a little suicidal, but we'll see what she has in mind.

Arashi is given something of an arc. We get a glimpse into her back story and see that she was an isolated child who often questioned the value of her life. Not only does it tie into her emotions for Sorata, but it ties into the now running theme of a person's desire to live. Fuma even alludes to it during their confrontation. It works out OK for the most part.

Something is definitely up with Hinoto. The scene where Inuki mk. II growled and snapped at her was rather ominous and her insistence that Kamui and Sorata stay put seems more than a little suspicious, especially since nothing ended up happening there. There was no earthquake and no dragon. I'm guessing that this will come up in future episodes.

Overall, the episode works. The emotional scenes are effective and the fight scene does build up an appropriate deal of tension as Fuma continues to dominate everyone he comes across. I still have no idea how they're going to win this fight, but with only 4 episodes remaining, the characters themselves are left with little time to figure something out.

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