GOD EATER – 10

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GOD EATER is back. Repeat: GOD EATER is BACK. And just when I was about to give up hope. Turns out they waited until the point in the season when the rest of the Winter shows were in their final quarter, either because they needed more time or because they didn’t want this show to end when everything else was at episode 4 or 5.

You know what else? My patience was handsomely rewarded. This was the best episode of GOD EATER (and one of the best of the entire Winter) yet, using Lenka’s ordeal with adjusting to a new God Arc as the framing device for a heretofore untold story of Lenka’s childhood, starting with when he was found in the mud by a kind family who tested negative for entry into Fenrir.

More than a story, it is an often horrifically heartbreaking tragedy that is epic in scale, stretching across the fifteen years that precede the show’s present day, and being far more emotionally powerful than any of the black-and-white flashbacks that came before.

A lot of this episode’s power comes from our amassed knowledge of the previous nine. And yet, this could very well have been the first episode of GOD EATER—or even a completely standalone short film—and still been effective.

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After Lenka was rescued and named by his new big sister Iroha, his family lived in a shanty town living off rations and constantly at risk of Aragami attacks. When his mother develops a cough and becomes bedridden, he and his sister strike out with other town members to find medicine, but are ambushed.

Lenka, who wants to become strong enough to protect everyone, hits an Aragami with a stick, but it has no effect. Still, he’s bailed out by a God Eater – Lindow, specifically. Lenka is both jealous of Iroha’s attention towards Lindow, and of Lindow’s strength to protect. Lenka’s father doesn’t like the Fenrir system in which “people choose people” and leave others to die due to limited resources, but that’s exactly what happens in the shanty town as well.

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When Lenka grows ill and there’s only one dose of medicine, Lenka’s mother demands it be used on him, for he is the future. That’s confirmed when they test him for the first time and he reads positive, making his dream to become strong a more real possibility. It’s Iroha who injects the drugs, as both she and their father weep uncontrollably over tacitly condemning their mother to die. They bury her not long after.

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A few years pass, and Lenka is on the cusp of fifteen, the age when he can join Fenrir. His older sister has also grown more beautiful, and still quite close and protective of her brother. But she’s also mature enough to slap Lenka when, after an Aragami attack, their father is trapped under wreckage. All they can do is escape on a motorbike their father prepared for such an eventuality. Like his mother, Lenka’s father died so that he could live.

But while escaping the Aragami on the bike, one manages to scratch Iroha’s leg. It doesn’t look that bad, but the wound bleeds and festers, and before long, she can no longer walk (an analog to a similar desperate journey he’ll go on with Alisa later on). Once they check the wound and it’s riddled with maggots, once more a choice must be made.

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Lenka can’t make that choice—Iroha is all he has left—so she chooses for him, by slitting her own throat, forcing him to leave her. Before they part, she tells him to go to Fenrir, because he tested positive, and always was positive. That didn’t do the family any good, however, because they weren’t related by blood. But no matter how Fenrir cruelly defines it, Iroha always considered Lenka her brother – she even named him, because like a lotus, they found him in the mud, where lotuses bloom.

To twist the proverbial knife once more, before and then in the process of being devoured by Aragami, Iroha briefly envisions the world she always dreamed of, a beautiful pastoral paradise where plants have returned, and where she’ll be together with her dear brother forever. She looks like a Studio Ghibli character in this fantasy, before a devastating smash cut to her being eaten. No point in trying to hold back the tears here; this was utterly dejecting. Rest in peace, Iroha.

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The Utsugi family, then, sacrificed themselves one after another to save a boy who wasn’t even related to them by blood. But if any of the three of them, including Iroha, had to do it all over again, I doubt they’d change a thing. The choices they made led to Lenka being in the position to “overturn” the world they had no power to change.

When Lenka stops re-living the memories of losing his family members one by one over the course of his life, he awakens to find the adjustments for his new God Arc are complete. All that’s left is to re-declare what he means to do with his newly-resotred (and likely greatly increased) power: to kill Aragami. But also, to be someone whom people can entrust their hope for a better world, the way his family was for him.

GOD EATER is back; with brutal, gorgeous, heart-rending, unyielding authority. Episode 11 has its work cut out for it.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

6 thoughts on “GOD EATER – 10”

  1. Ah, GOD EATER.

    I was talking about how I love a good backstory in the latest Dimension-W review, and it is doubly so, here. The only difference is that GOD EATER was able to impart greater emotional impact than Dimension-W’s latest outing.

    Both shows are on the top of my list, at the moment. However, I am glad to see GOD EATER back on the air. Things were getting a little slim, this season.

    [ Although I have to admit that Bubuki/Buranki is my WTF guilty pleasure of the season ]

  2. Great return for God Eater, this was easily one of the most powerful episodes of the series.

    This is one of those episodes that makes me go back and rewatch all of the previous ones again with a whole new context. Lenka’s journey, now realizing what it took for him to get there and how much he lost and what his family sacrificed to get him there. Everything you see about him is now in a whole new light.

    I loved the moment between him and Iroha at the end as it was the most emotional and tearjearking, but even the moments with the mom also made me well up. I consider him and Iroha complete brothers and sisters even if it’s not by blood. They grew up that way and supported each other even more than some of those who would have been actually blood related. And in Lenka’s mind, he never knew otherwise, so she would have always been his sister to him. So for him, he lost the only family that he will ever know.

    Lindow was a nicer at that time, it being years ago, but it was nice to see the connection between the two of them before they even met.

    1. I bumped it up to a 10 and added the episode to the WHL. I’ll be honest with you: this episode haunted me, more than anything since certain episodes of From the New World and Steins;Gate, and also recalled for me the saddest thing I’ve ever watched, Grave of the Fireflies.

      1. Braverade,

        You will get no complaints from me, then. I completely agree.

        I would even go so far as to say that –Iroha’s last scene– was better than any of the black-and-white flashbacks from the previous nine episodes.

        PS – Can we get bold and italics tags for our comments….. please?!? ^_^

  3. AH YES IT’S BACK! ah this is amazing, i’ve had this bookmarked, i’d almost given up hope :)

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