This episode marks a turning point in Arc’s new life. Up until now, he has been a solo adventurer. This has allowed him quite a bit of freedom. When he eats, sleeps, and works—he has had complete control of it all. But now, for the first time, he finds himself as one of a party of three. We can already see the growing pains—and not just in terms of working as a group professionally.
When the new party meets to make their plans, they do so in a tavern with Ariane and Danka filling their bellies to make sure they have energy for the long night to come. Arc, however, can’t join in—to do so would reveal his undead features. So, he has to simply watch them chow down. Then, when all the planning is done, he has to sneak away to eat himself. And since he only has a short time till the mission begins, he can’t even return to his room—he has to have an impromptu picnic in a deserted alley.
This is an example of this series’ great attention to detail—thinking about all the ways his special circumstances (be they his curse or his powers) would affect his life. Another example in this episode is his constant use of dimension move. While we’ve already seen he can use it to basically fly, now we see him find even more creative uses for it. How do you move silently in massive plate armor? Simple. You don’t move at all—you just teleport instead. Encounter a locked door? Just look through the keyhole and teleport to the other side: problem solved.
But more than just being a fun exploration of all the ways a specific type of magic can be creatively used, the fact that Arc uses it in these ways is key. It shows that he is smart enough to think of all these uses. As his overpowered nature and obvious love of living in an RPG-esque world is often the butt of the joke, it’s important to show just how competent he is when the chips are down. His enthusiasm doesn’t mean that he is an idiot.
This episode also sees Arc shift his priorities. Up until this point, he has been doing his best to stay under the radar (though with admittedly varying levels of success). However, after this mission, that will no longer be possible. At the very least Ariane and Danka will see him in action—and neither can realistically be expected to keep his powers secret. Yet, Arc is fundamentally a good person. He can’t just leave a group of young girls to be sold into sexual slavery when he has the power to do something about it—even if doing so will make his life more difficult in the long run. So, he decides to give up his carefree life because it is the right thing to do. And while Ariane might not realize the nature of his sacrifice in helping her, it’s clear she appreciates it nonetheless—even defending him to her understandably doubtful friend.
Speaking of Ariane, this episode also does a good job of developing her. While last week we saw her strength as a fighter and how her moral compass could be exploited as a weakness, this week we learn a bit more about why she is the way she is. Living in her sister’s shadow, she feels inadequate as a warrior—like a pale imitation of what her sister was. She pushes herself to be better than she is and is unnecessarily harsh on herself when she fails to live up to her own self-imposed standards. As serious as Danka may be, even he can see that her way of thinking is more detrimental than helpful. While it’s clear the elves have great hopes for her, they understand that growth is a process not a switch. Hopefully, having someone like Arc around to pick up the slack will allow her to loosen up and evolve naturally—and having a big win like freeing a ton of young elves and punishing the corrupt lord who’s behind their capture should be helpful as well.
• I don’t know if it was just me, but the first half of this episode felt unnaturally stretched out—like there were unnecessarily long pauses between sentences just to pad the runtime.
• I love how Ponta is basically a walking deus ex machina for convincing people that Arc is a good guy.
• I can’t be the only one who was filled with apprehension at the sight of Arc unmasked in the middle of the city. I mean sure, it may be a deserted alley but there were windows right there!
• I wonder which excited Arc more, the ninja clothing or the fluffy ears?
• Sure, Arc and Ariane could sneak in—or they could go in loud and hard and show what happens to those who enslave elves.
• I’m not gonna lie: I’ll be a bit happier when we’re done with this arc and not every threat is related to the sexual enslavement of little girls.
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Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.