A surprising payoff for the meager build-up to date might well turn this series around.
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Over the course of six episodes, only one piece of the scattered backstory given for Roman had a glaring and obvious payoff. Given how the direction of the series, I was skeptical that it could manage to have the payoff make an impact. As the credits rolled, I was pleased to be proven wrong and found myself actually wanting to see what the next week’s episode would hold.
Moving the pieces into place are a series of fires and thefts from three of the most powerful clans supporting the current government. They enlist the Helpers to recover their stolen weapons, which leads the Helpers to a rebel group stealing weapons and money in an effort to build up an army to overthrow the government and toss out the foreigners. They seek weapons from the Americans and make contact through a Chinese lady known as Meimei.
If you have managed to pay attention to the series, you will immediately make the connection that Meimei is Okuni. You will have also likely have connected the dots and realized that Okuni is Otsu, the little girl Roman failed years ago, his one great regret that keeps him helping others. Once again, destiny has brought them together.
The pair skirmish for a bit until Roman unmasks Okuni; he cannot believe that Okuni would be willing helping the villains and promises her that they can work together to take them down. Okuni pulls him close and tells him "Really? You’ll just let me go again." The tumblers click in Roman’s mind, and you can see the words rip through his gut. The tangible claws Okuni removes from Roman are barely felt despite being equally as deadly. In one instant, Roman realizes the depth of his failure; he has lost the one woman he loved by losing his courage and letting her go so many years ago. More importantly, he realizes that one moment killed the innocence in that girl and turned her into the villain before him.
While it was an obvious and not terribly original plot turn, it leaves Roman utterly demoralized and could lead into what will hopefully be a strong arc to build him up into an even stronger Helper. Hopefully, they will take more than one episode to do so.
While it has taken seven episodes to get here, Roman has finally delivered a great piece of character and story development. Roman’s one failure has come back to haunt him and wounds him far greater, far deeper than any weapon could. For once, I am eager to see what the next episode holds, as we now must watch and wait to see if a demoralized Roman can become a better, stronger hero from this ordeal.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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