Tenten Kakumei – 05 – A Dragon and a Dance

Before they reach the battle zone where a dragon is causing a monster stampede and overwhelming the royal defenses, Euphie is worried. Before she hopped on the broom with her, she asked Anis what she would do with the dragon’s magicite. Anis’ answer—that she’d implant it within her body—is the primary cause of her worry. She doesn’t want Anis taking her dream to become a “real” magician too far, lest it change who she is.

But something Euphie doesn’t truly learn until this week is that Anis is in it to win it; she can’t hold back, not even an inch, in the pursuit of that dream, or it won’t happen. Anis drops in just in time to slash a giant monster in two before it kills two fighters, then chats casually with the captain of the knights and tells him and his peeps, and Euphie, to deal with the small fry and leave the dragon to her.

Euphie doesn’t like the idea of Anis going it alone, but Anis makes the very reasonable argument that she’s the only flying fighter they’ve got, and Euphie is still not experienced in aerial combat. She also pops some “magic medicine” that not only heightens her speed and stamina, but also makes her somehow even more unhinged than she usually is. Drugged Anis’ faces run the gamut between badass and, well, worrying.

When Anis finds herself surrounded by hordes of monsters, Euphie bails her out with an Explosion spell, showing Anis that not only is her magic beautiful, but also highly effective in a battle. All this commotion attracts the attention of their main target, the dragon, and once more Anis flies off on her own, confident of an easy victory.

And then her mana sword bounces off the dragon’s magical barrier. Honestly, I thought this episode would be a cakewalk for Anis, but unlike Euphie I had been completely taken in by her now apparent overconfidence in both her technology and the extent of her limits. This dragon is no slouch, and after a couple more failed strikes, Anis gets a taste of its dragon’s breath.

She’s only kept from being incinerated by her wrist-shield, but when it shatters, she’s knocked from her broom. She can’t re-summon the broom, and for a moment, thinks that this might be It for her. With the ground approaching fast at fatal speed, “Euphie” may be the last word she utters.

But Euphie spots Anis falling, and rushes to catch her. She runs faster than she ever has, and perhaps for the first time, uses her magic to turn her into a human missile. She catches Anis just in time. When Anis prepares to jump right back into the battle, a distraught Anis stops her and asks why, why is she going back in the state she’s in.

Anis simply says she’d cease to be a magician if she didn’t fight with everything she had to eliminate the thing keeping people from smiling. So Euphie, her eyes welling with tears says fine, if she has to go to keep being herself, then take her with her as well. Anis gives her a warm smile and accepts, and off they go.

With Euphie aboard, the broom is a lot faster and more maneuverable. The duo determine that hacking off the dragon’s wings will bring it down, and that means slipping around and doubling back. Euphie serves as a decoy, going straight up into the night sky and distracting the dragon, who is too late to spot Euphie bringing her sword right down on the base of its wing.

But the battle is only halfway over. The dragon may be grounded, but it still has its breath, and it prepares an immense ball of incredibly dense mana that will destroy the entire area and everyone in it…if Anis and Euphie don’t stop it. Anis removes the limiter on her sword, and the strain causes her to cough up blood, but Euphie is right there to keep her steady. When the ball of pure mana comes at them, they’ll either come out of it alive or not.

They end up surviving the full force of the dragon’s Ultima, as Anis’ unlimited mana sword cuts through it and delivers a fatal blow to the dragon. Then, as if this hasn’t been awesome enough, the dragon speaks to Anis, accepting his defeat and saying she can do what she wants with his corpse. It’s only when she says he must resent her that he decides he’ll hit her with a dragon’s curse before he dies.

What that curse will mean for Anis short or long term, we’ll have to wait and see. It and the magicite may lend her incredible power—it may even let her finally achieve her dream of becoming a real magician like Euphie—but at what physical cost? Will she still be Anisphia the Maurading Princess?

In an episode so packed even a seminal scene like Anis and Euphie’s first dance together has to take place during the end credits. Fortunately, those credits are timed so we see the best shots of these two abandoning the haughty victory party, declaring their undying affection for one another and committing to be by each others’ side forevermore, and then, yes dancing together (Euphie makes clear dancing with men feels oppressive).

We now have a strong contender for best episode of the season, if not all of 2023. It is the culmination of all the careful character work done in the previous four episodes. Truly, the emotional beats here would not have hit so hard had we not gotten to know and love these two leads.

We also got to see them at their most badass, making the impossible possible. While not ufotable-level, the battle animation still shone.  We didn’t need to see the prince show up too late, so we don’t. The only minor mark against this episode is that there’s no Ilia. There are certainly things to worry about down the road, but for now, life is good.

RABUJOI WORLD HERITAGE LIST

Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

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