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Helck Episode #17 Anime Review

3 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.

“Traitors”

What They Say
Helck is on the verge of being killed. To save the life of his big brother, Cless is forced to make a choice.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Watching Helck reminds me that I haven’t watched a lot of two-cour seriously serialized shows in a long time as a simulcast. I’ve seen plenty in collected form, but doing the weekly takes you to a different place. I continue to enjoy that Helck is spending the time digging into the backstory and expanding things, working as the manga did to introduce it along the way, but the pacing of it still feels just off enough to me that I’m wary of it. Mostly it feels like this should have come sooner in the first cour when Helck was on the island but that ended up just being too bland overall – even though it had the point of forming the bonds there better. The storyline as it stands now hits the right point it needs to in expanding on the past and why Helck is the way he is and the state of the world from man’s point of view as well.

Picking up on the fight that started in the previous episode, we see how Mikaros tries to sway Helck to his side and that others are realizing that there’s more to Mikaros’ dark nature. Helck’s not pure in the classic sense but is operating with some righteousness and does his best to push back against him even as he takes some dire wounds. Cless’ sudden arrival helps to shift the tide – for the moment – but the larger events are underway and nothing feels stable at this point. It’s no surprise that things go badly with Cless and Helck amid all of this chaos and that Cless looks like he ends up dead, but it’s done in such a solidly tragic way that you really feel Helck’s anger over it and the disbelief from the others on his side who are just shocked at the cruelty of those that they’re facing. But we also see just how unusual Helck is as he seems to be drawing on dark forces without doing it consciously and is almost elemental in nature.

With the group obviously doing what they can to survive since Helck lives on to another day, his discovery upon getting out that he’s not got the biggest bounty on him because he’s now listed as a Hero Slayer makes clear his place in the world is vastly different than before. Labeled a traitor, there are plenty of people that will be coming after him and his discovery that time has passed and he’s missed so much hits him hard. It’s a lot of internal anger here at how he basically fell to the wound that he received from Mikaros and the others fought to help him survive when he should have been able to withstand it and fight alongside them. That it’s all presented with a pair of basic ass bounty hunters to provide the narrative just makes it extra harsh as they’re decidedly unpalatable types and their view of Helck as easy pickings just makes it all the worse across the board.

© Nanaki Nanao / Shogakukan / Helck Production Committee

In Summary:
Getting more of how events unfolded and getting closer to seeing how Helck ends up finding his way into the world of the demons continues fairly wel here. Of course, he’s about to undergo something of a personality change in order to cope with the tragedy he went through to be who we know him as now, so getting to understand some of it here definitely works well. But the pacing continues to be problematic for me with how it unfolds and it just feels awkward. I’m curious to see how the manage things in the next episode or two and just how far the story intends to get by the time the season is over with.

Grade: B

Streamed By: HIDIVE