You shouldn’t call an episode “Decisive Battle” if you’re not going to include the Evangelion song.
What They Say:
After making peace with Ereshkigal, the goddess of the underworld, Fujimaru and the others return to Uruk to find Gilgamesh who has returned to the land of the living. As the final battle with Gorgon approaches, Gilgamesh proposes a strategy that may give them a chance at victory. His plan calls for a preemptive strike on Gorgon’s stronghold, the Blood Fort, before she can begin her next attack on humanity. Before the battle to decide Uruk’s fate, Fujimaru speaks with Merlin and Ana as they travel to the Northern wall.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sandwiched in between the Ereshkigal battle and what appears to be the second Gorgon battle, this episode is a transitional piece comprised of several mostly quieter vignettes to allow the audience to catch its collective breath and build up anticipation for the long-awaited rematch with Gorgon. Although the party has added the rest of the Three Goddess Alliance to their ranks since the last fight, they face an interesting dilemma as any member of the alliance attacking one of the others theoretically leads to their imminent destruction. Quetzalcoatl has joined Ritsuka and company, but mostly for the fun of it, so there’s no chance that she’d be willing to sacrifice herself just to take a crack at Gorgon, but her strength is the only way to maneuver the Axe of Marduk, so her and Merlin begin thinking up loopholes, though it’s safe to assume that when Merlin starts scheming, the other parties involved are not on the same page.
In the continued trend of non-fight-centric episodes featuring Ritsuka having one-on-ones with other characters in a very video game-y way, both Merlin and Ana are featured this time, the former slightly refreshing as they’ve basically all been girls up to this point, giving it a very gal game feel to it, as appropriate as that may be. The conversations mirror each other in an interesting way, both of them centering on the theme of characters with varying level of humanity examining how they feel about humans. Merlin and Gilgamesh, scoundrels in their own right, are characterized as loving humans, the former explaining how he has tried to understand them but never truly could. These scenes are obviously always made to deepen not only Ritsuka’s relationships with the given characters, but also develop them as individuals, and considering Merlin’s general disposition, getting any amount of humanity out of him is a big step. On the other hand, Ana claims that she hates humanity in a conversation that sets the stage for her central importance in the remainder of the episode.
A brief side story involving an old woman also ties into Ana’s journey in accepting herself, and while perfectly sweet, it’s a relatively dull distraction. These pieces could’ve been set in motion in a more interesting way. It is true that this additionally allows a look at the civilians of Uruk that we haven’t gotten much of since early in the series, and there’s some value to that, but this story has become so absurd that, honestly, none of those normal people are ever going to feel like anything more than NPCs.
There is some legitimate action to be had here, though. We get a brief scuffle between Quetzalcoatl and Kingu that reveals a bit about Merlin’s plots, the range of punishment from the rules of the alliance, and a return of Jaguar Warrior after some time. And of course, even a minor fight like this has some beautiful sakuga animation, such as Kingu’s chains being used for a classic Itano Circus.
As we finally come face to face with Gorgon again, Ana takes center stage, and her identity is hinted at enough that it’s nearly revealed. Between her design and voice actors in both Japanese and English, I assumed there was some connection in a slightly different vein from Ishtar just being Rin, and the reveal of Gorgon made me pretty confident that would come up. I’m interested to see how these two will face off, and Ana has a lot of potential to be a very sympathetic character as we learn more about her.
This is a transition in the middle of major battle arcs, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of its own action. In addition to some fine fight animation for a brief moment, the focus of the episode on a whole is definitely character exploration. Ana in particular is being set up as the next big focal character, and given her obvious ties to Gorgon by the end of the episode, it should be a satisfying conflict.
Streamed By: Funimation
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