We get almost nothing but non-stop action in this week’s episode, and we all like action, don’t we? Especially if we love steak as much as Sword. On the other hand, I have almost nothing to write about. I mean, I’m not going to break the fight choreography down. There’s almost no character development in this week’s episode either. At best, you could argue that Sophia loses her innocence, but that topic is really more for next week’s episode. We also see how the old men at the Chinese restaurant do their best to limit damage to the city. It’s still mind-boggling, however, that Sword and the Dark Knight can do their little dance in and around such empty streets. Why are all the lights turned on in those buildings if nobody’s in them? The general public seems to have been teleported to a safe place miles away from the actual fight. Still, at least the city suffers an actual aftermath when it’s all said and done.
The action itself was pretty good, I think. Again, I’m no expert, but if I have to pull a grade out of my ass, I’d give it about a B. It’s not the best I’ve ever seen in anime, but it’s still a solid effort. The overall structure of the battle is a bit stale, though. Luke gets his first shot at the Dark Knight, so he obviously has to lose. He’s got way too much baggage to fight with a clear mind, so you could see his eventual defeat from a mile away. And yes, the Dark Knight is that man from Luke’s painful memories. He was once the greatly respected Silver Knight, but he lusted for strength and power. Somehow, this led him to kill Luke’s mother (but why not Luke as well?) and walk the path of the Dark Knight. What’s notable is that Luke now fights primarily with handguns and rifles. He was once trained with with the blade, though. Is Luke too traumatized to use a sword anymore, or he has just given it up for other reasons? Time will tell.
After Luke goes down, it’s Sword’s turn to take a swing at the Dark Knight. Predictably enough, the two warriors fight to a draw, so they have to call forth their special armor. It’s at this point that I start to sour on the Dark Knight’s characterization. To put it simply, he’s boring. He’s just one of those generic bad guys who is obsessed with power. He lives for the thrill of the fight, he won’t answer any questions unless you can subdue him through battle, blah blah blah. This gives Sword almost nothing to work with, so the best our hero can do is spout back equally generic lines about using one’s power to protect others. Anyway, the Dark Knight initially has the upper hand, but the destruction around them triggers something in Sword. It seems that his sister died in a fire, and Sword probably blames himself for being too weak to protect her. So seemingly out of nowhere, Sword’s “power level” shoots up and he proceeds to overwhelm his opponent with just his fists.
So now that the Dark Knight has been defeated through battle, he’ll surely spill the beans about El Dorado, the king that he serves, and what their dark intentions are, right? That’s where you’re wrong, buddy! After all, have you forgotten the Dark Knight’s words to Sword midway through the episode? He said, “If you wish to ask, ask with your blade!” Sword won with his fists, so that means no answer. Yep, you gotta play by the rules, boys and girls! In all seriousness, though, the ending is such a cop-out. Sword rears back to deliver the final blow, but the Dark Knight just goes poof. He literally disappears into thin air. Sword then somehow hears a disembodied voice telling him to prepare for their next battle. Really? And that, my friends, is why the battle gets no more than a B in my book. Everything was pretty good up until this point. All of a sudden, the writers ran out of ideas, so they had the bad guy cast “Escape.”
It’s one of those episodes where nobody really wins. The Dark Knight seems giddy enough, but he still failed to bring Sophia back to his king. Sword may have won this first encounter, but he’s no closer to the finish line than he was before all this fighting. All he’s done is dredged up some painful memories. Luke is physically and mentally wounded. He finally got to face his mother’s killer, and he couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Revenge isn’t really a good look anyway. And as I previously stated, Sophia lost her innocence. She will undoubtedly blame herself for the sister’s death. Worst of all, a significant portion of the city is in ruins, and this an indictment on the Makai Order. They are woefully unprepared to protect the city, and this was just a battle between two knights. How much worse is it going to get when shit really hits the fan later on in the story? They keep referring to backups, but I never see any of the other knights and alchemists. Hell, Gina continues to be MIA. In any case, it feels like Garo – Vanishing Line has finally started.