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Helck Episode #16 Anime Review

4 min read
Backstory episodes can be really hit or miss depending on both the story and execution - as well as placement within the bigger picture.

“The Truth Behind Awakening”

What They Say
Zeruzeon reveals the kingdom’s terrifying plan, so Helck and his friends sneak into the castle to put a stop to it by saving Cless.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
We get further into the backstory with this episode and it helps to explain more things from the past. I’m still not entirely sure that this is done poorly in a way because cover the backstory is important and it does take time to do so if you want to do it right. I do feel like it’s come a bit later in the game than it did in the manga for some of it but it’s also something that makes sense to do at the start of the second cour because it allows for some solid build-up first. But we also had a lot of time-wasting going on at the end of the first cour even if it did work to bring our two leads together. Something about the pacing for everything just feels off and it hasn’t been able to create the right tension where it needed to nor to give it the kind of forward momentum it needs either. Especially since there’ll be some decent ground to cover before this cour is over and we’ve still got a bit more to go here.

This episode provides more of the plan that’s underway as Zeruzeon explains how those in power want to create a world with the nobility only and everyone else gets utilized in different ways, including as winged warriors. There are many pieces moving to all of this and how they intend to use Cless for it as he’s not aware of it but instrumental to it. Zeruzeon paints this well for Helck to want to be involved as it’s a way of saving Cless so there’s a sharpness there. But he also knows he needs Helck himself because of his reputation, though it’s one that he only had a fraction of an understanding of. He’s putting a lot of trust in Helck but it’s also because Zeruzeon considers Cless to be his best friend and the two face a lot together since enlisting at the same time. It’s set up well to make you like Zeruzeon but there’s always that edge that makes you a little wary since he’s just so all-in on this, practically begging Helck for help.

This leads into a lot of action in a pretty good way as Alicia comes on board as well, not wanting to be a toy of nobility either, and it presents a pretty tough team to go up against their opponents with Mikaros revealing himself as part of it as well. Facing off against the delusion of these senators and their views presents a very disturbing image of how leadership operates and the disconnect between them and ordinary people. Their view of most people just being livestock easily sets the tone and the righteousness of what Helck and the rest are doing. But the power of the King who inserts himself in this makes it clear just how much they’re truly facing – and just how apart from it all Helck is with his ability. Of course, the situation is even more problematic since Cless has been drawn into the problem as well and things are not as they seem for Helck, and seeing the scale of what Mikaros has been working toward laid bare is a big moment. As is brother versus brother amid all of it. There are some great moments here even as Mikaros basically narrates it and seeing Alciia step up to do the hard thing is really great to see.

© Nanaki Nanao / Shogakukan / Helck Production Committee

In Summary:
Understanding more of what happened that sent Helck on the path that he’s on now works well to make the character even more sympathetic and interesting. So much is hidden within the visual appearance of him and either his lighthearted approach as we saw earlier in the series or the more serious side of him when it comes to rescuing Cless works quite well. The flashback storyline gets to a pretty big and intense situation in this episode as well with the fight that plays out and it has all the right stakes to it. It does take a little bit to get there and I do think the storyline could have been paced better across the last few episodes, but the big scenes as we get here make it worthwhile.

Grade: B+

Streamed By: HIDIVE