Rokka no Yuusha – 12 (Fin)

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For me, Rokka no Yuusha’s ending was never going to be satisfying. Even if the identity of the seventh is revealed—and it is; it’s Nashetania, whom we’d suspected the most all along—one episode isn’t enough to get to the Demon God, let alone defeat him. It just wasn’t going to happen. With that in mind, I managed my expectations accordingly.

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While it made logical sense based on a lot of her actions throughout the show that Tania was the seventh, it still left me a bit cold. A lot of why I enjoyed the show was the fact that most of the time, especially before that barrier went up, there was no reason to believe Tania was a villain. From the night she visited Adlet in his cell, she seemed like, well, a nice person. The story may have always intended for her to be the villain, but I’m not sure what to do with that.

I’m mostly just disappointed she turned into a sneering baddie who thinks 500,000 human casualties is a small price to pay for peace with the fiends. Despite the evidence against her, it still felt out of left field, and the big revelation didn’t have an impact that justified throwing her character into the dumpster. It doesn’t help that she turns into muddy goo and vanishes into the wind, meaning she’s still very much a threat to the other braves.

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But hey, at least Maura is apologetic and ready to work with Adlet, right? And Fremy isn’t going to go off on her own, and after she has some time to think, may eventually figure out how to interact with Adlet, whom she has feelings for? And we’re down to the correct number of six braves, right? Well, on that last point, wrong. 

Once the barrier falls, another seventh brave shows up. This brave, Rolonia seems specifically meant to vaguely resemble a cheap Nashetania knock-off, albeit with cow-themed rather than rabbit-themed armor. Worse, her sudden appearance, as well as the newly reignited suspicion and discord amongst the other braves…is played for comedy.

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Sorry, but this development is unforgivable. We were DONE with the seventh brave mystery. It took up the whole damn show, and if we’re being honest, wasn’t enough on its own to sustain most of the show. Combined with Nashetania being wasted, and not dying, ending up as a fresh threat, as well as the sudden arrival of a king who says 2,000 fiends are descending on their position…it’s all too much for a show that gives no indication of if and when it will return.

Part of it is me; I came in expecting the world-saving story to progress a lot further, rather than the show to get bogged down in a mystery. But for the show to solve that mystery, only to immediately start a new one in the last episode, was frankly the last straw for me. I’ve run out of goodwill and patience for this show. I wish I’d run out much earlier, so I wouldn’t have had to watch this botched finale. But I can tell you one thing: if there is a second season, I’ll be passing on it.

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Rokka no Yuusha – 11

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To be honest, while RnY got off to a stirring start, it’s been a bit of a disappointment, failing to score a 9 all Summer. It’s gotten to the point that if I could go back to week one, I’d probably choose to skip it. But since watching week one, and then week two, and beyond, I’ve been unable to turn away, because of the weekly reminder that the next revelation or new truth or uncovered mystery is always around the corner. And the central mystery—Who is the Seventh—will keep me around until the end.

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Much of this week’s first half is devoted to Nashetania’s attempts to kill Adlet, flanked by Maura and Goldov. Fremy, now firmly on Adlet’s side, backs him up; he saves her from Tania’s blades, then she comes right back and saves him from Tania’s blades. And while Tania seems to play up the insanity a bit too much, the show at least attempts to explain her behavior as that of an inexperienced princess out in the world for the first time, who believes she’s had the wool pulled from her eyes. After all, why would Maura be lying to her about Adlet injuring Hans?

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In the process we see exactly how tough and relentless the Blade Saint can be when she’s trying to make up for her ignorance and naivete, even though its those very qualities she’s succombing to by blindly belieiving Maura. But neither she nor Maura nor Goldov are able to kill Adlet before he’s able to get to the very spot where he can clear everything up and prove once and for all he’s not the seventh by exposing their plan.

In other words, part of being the World’s Strongest Man means having an extraordinary amount of luck, and being able to rely on luck and only luck when backed into a corner. Because he’s so lucky, not only do the six other braves converge at right place, but the injuries he suffered made him lose enough blood that he finally realized why it’s been so cold.

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His explanations, while long-winded and somewhat momentum-killing, are still welcome, because they make so many references to past events in the show, tying previously mundane details together to built his argument. The seventh and their allies kidnapped the Sun Saint Riuna to heat up the area around the temple, then killed her so the temperature would drop, causing the fog the braves thought was a result of the barrier. Then when no one was noticing, the real barrier was activated.

Hans finds the body of Riuna in a nearby dead fiend, proving Adlet right, and after Tania and Goldov stayed their hands, even Maura must concede she was mistaken about Adlet being the seventh. Which begs the question: than who is? Everyone has acted in some way that seemed suspicious, only to turn out not to be the seventh, so it truly could be anyone.

Unfortunately, the episode couldn’t resist cutting to the credits before Adlet can spit it out, but you can be certain I’ll be back next week, eagerly awaiting that name.

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Rokka no Yuusha – 10

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What’s this? Why, it’s a frantic Adlet pleading his case to a skeptical Fremy as she points her gun at him and barks in absolutes! What is this, the eighth time we’ve seen this scenario? Still, the words exchanged between these two is the overture for an episode in which almost every character takes a slight to major detour from their established character paths. In Adlet’s case, when warned he’ll be shot if he lies, he decides to confess his love to an utterly bemused Fremy. You can’t say the lad lacks guts!

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Then it’s Mora’s character’s turn to take a kooky turn, when she uses her mountain echo ability to spread a blatant, vicious lie to Tania, Goldof, and Fremy: that Hans is in critical condition after being attacked by the Seventh. I’m not sure what to think about her decision to condemn Adlet, because after ten episodes we still don’t really know who Mora is or what she believes in. Her character is much like the barrier: an amorphous cloud of fog that does whatever the plot needs it to do to up the drama. She lies to make things harder on Adlet, but why is she so convinced he’s the seventh?

Beyond Adlet, Hans is the only voice of reason—a welcome departure from his own blind suspicion earlier in the show, resolved because he knows Adlet is innocent. Mora orders Chamo to guard him, and when Chamo tries to kill him, Mora stays her hand with mere words and the threat of more than a spanking. As I thought, the only person Chamo fears is Mora, even though she’s technically weaker.

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That’s not even as ridiculous as the change that occurs in Nashetania once she hears Mora’s broadcast. She starts to laugh and smirk like a common villain—teasing the possibility she’s the seventh after all—before telling Goldof she’s looking forward to her latest new experience: killing the man who betrayed her: Adlet. After all the accusations thrown Adlet’s way, she chooses now to react so dramatically? Sorry, it doesn’t add up.

Negotiations once again go south and Adlet must flee a pursuing Fremy, but when Mora joins in and tries to kill an surrendering Adlet, Fremy fires a shot between the two, defending Adlet and pissing off the increasingly violent, unreasonable Mora.

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While Chamo, Mora, and apparently Tania and Goldof can’t listen to is reason, but not Fremy. And in the face of all the reason Adlet is throwing at her—even proving her innocence with his master’s fiend-detecting spray, like he promised—she’s not fighting reason like the other so much as fighting back her own heart. After her mother betrayed her, she vowed never to believe, and therefore love, anyone ever again. Adlet has all but forced her to change that policy, as she becomes the second person after Hans to essentially side with him against hotter heads.

As for Nashetania, who closes out the episode with a demonic stare and cloud of blades, she seems more brainwashed by Mora’s lies than particularly hot-headed. But her rapid change in personality also happens to reduce my suspicion in her being the seventh. If anything, Mora is looking more and more like the enemy of the six, what with her reckless manipulation of the others.

And now, as things currently stand, Adlet, Hans, and Fremy—the three scrappers of the group—are now in a loose alliance. I won’t count him or them out, even if I doubt he and Fremy will get the storybook ending.

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Rokka no Yuusha – 09

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Adlet and Hans end up defeating Chamot, though not killing her (it looks like Hans simply hits her with his blades in a way that knocks her out). But getting to her person was something Hans would never be able to pull off on his own; he relies on Adlet to throw enough distractions and misdirections as Chamot’s fiend shield to give Hans an opening, while Adlet needed Hans to buy time so he could think of the best tactics.

Chamot laughed off the possibility of people working together to beat her, but Adlet’s resourcefulness (and bag of tricks) prove to be the deciding factor.

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While I like how Chamot was ultimately brought down, I don’t like how it doesn’t really change anything. Chamot has already made clear she doesn’t really care who is or isn’t the seventh, so she’s a liability to the Braves no matter what, having vowed to kill everyone but Maura. If Maura is the seventh, that plays right into her hands.

But for all of the smarts Adlet needed to summon to beat Chamot with Hans, he took two steps back after taking one step forward, by splitting off from Hans and Chamot. At least when those three were together he posed a less tempting target and more convincing innocent party to Maura and Fremy. Going out alone when those two still think he’s the enemy is, frankly, idiotic.

And I say that even though Adlet is convinced he’s figured out the Seventh’s plan and convince Fremy to side with him. Fremy has tried to make it clear she trusts and believes in nothing and nobody, but even after she decisively debunks Adlet’s elaborate theory, the fact he’s still smiling and laughing and not giving up intrigues her too much to simply kill him. In effect, she’s starting to believe in something: him.

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Meanwhile, Maura, who split from Fremy (also probably not the best idea) ends up in the temple. She frees Chamot, and refuses to believe Hans when he says Adlet isn’t the enemy. In fact, Maura seems to change Hans’ mind back to suspecting Adlet by saying Adlet is “attacking their hearts”, which is frankly pretty vague accusation, just as Maura is a vague character.

I’d suspect Maura most at this point if it weren’t for the couple of odd and, on the surface, innocuous cuts to Tania and Goldof, the only two braves who didn’t encounter anyone else this week. First, Tania remarks how Hans seemed to know she was a princess when they first met, but then pretended to forget, calling her “bunny girl” instead, angering Goldof.

Then, after musing about how there’s “something different” about Adlet, she asks Goldof to look at her crest, confirming all six braves are still alive. If we’re splitting hairs, there aren’t seven petals on the crest, so if the seventh dies, the crest won’t change. But Tania takes it to mean Adlet and the others are still alive, that Adlet is working hard, and that she must work hard too.

The way she says all this, it’s unclear whether she’s looking ad Adlet as a comrade…or a worthy adversary. If Tania is indeed the seventh, she seems to be enjoying herself.

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Rokka no Yuusha – 08

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Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Hans is done talking with Adlet, who manages to escape using a smoke bomb, but Hans doesn’t let up in his pursuit, and they end up crossing swords once more. This means Adlet, who only proves Hans right if he kills a fellow brave, cannot achieve victory by defeating him or outsmarting him.

No, he has to convince Hans without a shadow of a doubt that he’s not the seventh brave. He does so by launching his sword blade at him, a move Hans did not predict, but Adlet intentionally misses, something the seventh would not have cause to do.

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Hans seems to accept that Adlet isn’t a fake, while Adlet bets that Hans isn’t the seventh, or he’s set himself up for slaughter. Indeed, Hans tells him he’s the real seventh, and slits his throat—but it’s only a hallucination induced by the poison on the blade he cut Adlet with.

In that state, Adlet is incapable of lying, and looks like his time is up, convincing Hans once and for all that Adlet is a comrade, not an enemy. WHEW! And what do you know, now that Hans has proven he’s reasonable (and not the seventh), I instantly like the guy a lot more.

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If only the others were around to witness their exchange. Instead, Mora and Fremy are off on their own, still convinced Adlet is the seventh and ready to kill him on sight, heightening the tension of the situation. Though at least Nashetania manages to convince Goldof that his prejudiced view of Adlet is a result of jealousy, since he believes Tania is driven by feelings for him.

Finally, after Adlet and Hans inspect the temple further, Adlet decides he needs to ask Chamot, who along with Hans are the only two people who weren’t briefed on how the barrier is activated.

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Adlet doesn’t suspect Chamot, mind you, but Chamot is simply bored and does not care who is a real brave and who is fake. Just as the 16-year-old Goldof’s judgment was susceptible to his hormones, the even younger Chamot is driven by a desire to wrap things up quickly and neatly. If the seventh isn’t Adlet, it’s Fremy, or Kitty-san, or the Princess and her aide. Chamot is confident she can destroy the Demon God on her own, so she’ll kill everyone else to ensure they won’t get in her way (everyone but Mora, that is).

And I have to hand it to her, she makes a good case for why she’s good enough to take on the Demon God alone, as well as why Fremy ran the hell away from her rather than fight. Chamot eats her cattail and rather disturbingly vomits out a swamp, from which numerous squishy fiends emerge and attack Adlet and Hans. When they try to cut them down, they instantly regenerate and keep coming.

It’s a frightening, relentless attack, but Chamot’s comment about not killing Mora leaves open the possibility Mora could put a stop to her foolishness. She and Fremy just have to get there before Adlet and Hans buy it!

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Rokka no Yuusha – 07

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Adlet has a steep hill to climb to convince anyone—particularly Fremy, who seeks unequivocal proof—that he’s not the seventh brave, even as I remain convinced he isn’t. At this point in the show it would seem like a cheap conceit to make him that, and it makes for more interesting drama when Adlet has to prove something that’s true rather than something he merely believes to be true. That is, for him to be the seventh brave but not even know it seems silly.

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While he doesn’t quite manage to convince Fremy, he at least gets her to understand him a little better. Before, she was confused as to how someone so seemingly “average” was able to become strong enough to hold his own against the likes of her and Hans. Adlet, heartened by her apparent interest, answers that question by telling her the story of how his sister and best friend were killed protecting him, and how his master taught him that revenge alone is not enough to be strong.

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Rather, one must believe in something to gain and maintain strength. To Adlet’s shock, Fremy is jealous of his belief in something, because after the life she’s lived, including a mother who pretended to love her only to betray and abandon her, taught her not to believe in anything, which is why she distrusted Adlet in the first place.

When she asks why Adlet is so trusting of her backstory as she tells it, he tells her he sees similarities in the two of them, and wants to believe her, so he does. He clarifies that this isn’t about love per se, though he’s blushing  while doing so, so I’m sure a part of him wants to believe and protect Fremy because, well, she’s a cutey.

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Fremy gives a little more ground by not turning Adlet away, but nor does she stick with him, deciding instead to return to the temple and the other braves. However, she gives him a special bullet that when exploded will tell her and only her of his presence, which means tacit permission to call on her whenever he wishes. What she doesn’t promise is that she won’t kill him next time they meet. After all, he still hasn’t convinced her he isn’t the seventh.

And that’s what remains Adlet’s problem as the episode closes on a battle between him and Hans, whom Nashetania believes to be the seventh, rather than Adlet. Tania believes his innocence, and Fremy is willing to hear him out if he has proof, but Chamot, Goldof, and Hans are eager to kill him, confident he’s the enemy. I’m a little loath to side with Tania, for the same reason I don’t want Adlet to be the seventh: it seems too easy for it to be the shifty and never particularly trustworthy Hans.

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Rokka no Yuusha – 06

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Our boy Adlet is in a heap of trouble, with a most of the other Braves either suspecting him (Maura), ready to kill him (Hans and Chamo), or abstaining and letting the others do what they want (Fremy). Only Tania still believes in his innocence, and is both confused and outraged by the positions of the others.

When it’s Goldolf’s turn to offer his thoughts, he offers them in the form of a strike against Adlet, ignoring his princess’ doubts about his guilt. Hans joins in, and Adlet has no choice but to improvise, knocking Fremy out cold and running out of the temple. And thank God he does, too, because I was dead tired of that stuffy glowy room.

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Adlet doesn’t get far, as Hans throws a dagger in his back and he passes out. While out, he helpfully dreams about his backstory, back when he wasn’t even the strongest boy in his village, to when he presented himself before his future master, a pitiful bag of bones, begging to be trained.

We don’t see the in between, when his friend, mother, and village are presumably wiped out by fiends. The longbeard begins the lesson at once by beating young Adlet up, telling him he must smile when things go bad and laugh at despair if he wants to become strong.

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Adlet isn’t smiling much when he wakes up to find Fremy has saved him, but not only to prepare for what she calculates is just a 1% chance he isn’t the seventh brave and her enemy. Still, there’s something to the fact she didn’t make a lot of noise so the other braves could capture them. Perhaps she’s giving Adlet that 1% chance to convince her he’s not lying.

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Adlet doesn’t do so well at first, but then starts to smile again, remembering the words of his master. No matter how dark the night gets, he’ll pierce it with his defiant grin. He doesn’t know how to convince Fremy that his theory about an eighth brave helping the seventh (who then framed him), but he won’t concede defeat.

Even though Fremy flatly refuses to help him, his boundless optimism moves her to ask him why he wanted to become a brave, a question that suggests, for the first time, that she has the slightest interest in anything about Adlet (other than her suspicions he’s the enemy). It’s not much, but Adlet—and I—will take it, and similarly look forward to the morning when he must figure out a way to prove his innocence and foil the real enemy.

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Rokka no Yuusha – 05

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RnY really slammed on the brakes this week, finishing the job it started last week of bringing the story’s momentum to a screeching halt. What had been a thrilling, sprawling fantasy adventure tale is now stuck in a square room with a lame mystery, pacing around, tapping its foot; scratching its head, and yawning.

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I know; seven Braves when there should be six isn’t that bad a mystery. It’s more that the way the mystery is being investigated saps all of my interest. First we get another set of introductions, along with their stories of where they were when the barrier came up. We hear Adlet’s monologue as he sizes people and their stories up, but aside from learning Fremy is half-fiend (which is actually pretty interesting), we don’t learn much of note.

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From there, everyone starts chiming in with their ideas about what happened and who they suspect the seventh Brave to be. Now, I’m a big fan of 12 Angry Men, but they were a jury deliberating a verdict; these guys are supposed to be legendary heroes kicking ass and saving the world. The fact that they’re holed up in this room pointing fingers at each other for an entire episodes diminishes their splendor along with our patience. When Chamo yawned, I said to myself “You and me both, kid!”

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Thankfully, the seven do eventually get somewhere, though I’m not yet satisfied with where that is: Hans (whose cat-speak and constant cackling is really annoying, BTW) says once the temple doors open they cannot be closed, calling into question Adlet’s story about having to blow the door open, which immediately preceded the activation of the barrier. Even though Fremy is in chains, Hans seems on the cusp of turning everyone against Adlet.

Yet we witnessed what Adlet did, from start to finish, and at worst, he activated the barrier accidentally. He doesn’t work as the culprit, since we’ve been following him the whole time, before even Nashetania showed up. So unless the show itself was lying to us, he can’t possibly be the enemy.

Because the deliberation is far from over, it’s guaranteed that the Braves won’t be leaving this room for at least part of the next episode. Smoke if you got ’em…

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Rokka no Yuusha – 04

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Introductions between Fremy and Tania/Goldof are tense because Goldof has it on good authority that Fremy is in fact the Brave-Killer…an accusation she doesn’t even bother refuting. Yet Adlet still shields her from Tania’s blades. Why? Because whatever she did in the past, she’s one of the Six Braves now, by the will of the Goddess, and The Strongest Man in the World isn’t going to let them fight among themselves.

Tania stands down, because she trusts Adlet, not Fremy. Fremy tells her she’s a naive girl and doesn’t so much as thank Adlet for saving her, but the group of four is off to meet the remaining two.

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As soon as they’re in the dense forest, a fleet of aerial fiends begins bombing it, while land-based fiends swarm and surround them. Here, for the first time, we see what kind of badassery four Braves are capable of, especially since one of those four, Adlet, is able to continue on to the temple, since three Braves are enough to hold off the horde: Tania and Fremy from long-range; Goldof the close-range brawler.

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Adlet finds the beautiful yet foreboding temple (looking like the entrance to many an FF dungeon) and meets an injured priestess only to watch her transform into a fiend (which promptly, confusingly runs away). Rather than pursue, Adlet enters the temple, shocked to find the phantasmal barrier already active, and even when the others arrive unharmed, they’re unable to shut it down. Adlet tries using his blood, while Tania flails about in a panic, to the point I though for a moment she was hallucinating.

Then, it all becomes clear: the barrier is active because it was activated by the remaining Braves. First, they meet Chamo Rosso, a small, child-like girl in green whom Adlet acknowledges as the “claimed” strongest person in the world; a claim he obviously disputes.

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Chamo immediately wishes to kill Fremy, who must’ve gotten the same memo as Goldof, and we learn for certain why when not one but two more Braves grace their presence—Mora Chester and Hans Humpty (dumb name)—for a total of seven. Since there was never any instance in all of history of their being any less or more than six Braves, everyone concludes that there’s an impostor in their midst.

Assuming they’re right, who could it be? Have we already been privy to previously unnoticed clues? At this point Fremy seems too obvious. Hans, who seems a bit more sinister than the others, also seems too obvious. I wouldn’t have cast any suspicion whatsoever on Nashetania, were it not for a heavily Tania-centric ending sequence (complete with an awesome ending theme). As for Adlet, well, we witnessed him become a Brave. Hell, maybe there are just supposed to be seven this time around…

While the action and adventure were definitely here, there was something mechanical and underwhelming about the reveal of the other three Braves. They just kinda…show up, all at once, with little fanfare or showmanship. I suppose I’ve been hanging around the showboating Adlet and stylish Tania too long. I’m also loath to watch the group continue bickering when there’s a Demon God to defeat. Finally, the character animation looked rougher and sloppier than usual at points, possibly in order to accommodate the CGI fiends.

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Rokka no Yuusha – 03

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In the early stages of many an RPG when the party is still being assembled, one often comes across a character who doesn’t want to join, and will only reluctantly/provisionally join if convinced or coerced to do so, and even then, could turn on you or turn tail at any time.

That’s who we have in the stylishly-attired, world-weary lone she-wolf Fremy Speeddraw, and it’s what makes the kind and gregarious Adlet her perfect foil. First, Adlet shows her he’s someone to be reckoned with by chasing her down with a deftness that surprises her. The gets in close and steals her ammo, leaving her with one bullet.

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Then Adlet basically tells her to swallow her outrage and come along, turning his back on her and giving her the choice to shoot him and take back her ammo, or join him. It’s a key moment for Fremy after much argumentative banter between them, and she decides to lower her weapon, either because she doubts the dance will end when she fires her last shot, or, less likely, she just doesn’t feel like shooting a unarmed man in the back just for wanting her to tag along.

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An uneasy accord between those two thus reached, we cut to Nasheitania, who allows herself to get cornered by some tricky fiends, but fortunately has the fiercely loyal Goldof by her side. When they encounter Adlet’s horse and note, Goldof accuses Adlet of abandoning the princess, but Tania is far more understanding, and assures Goldof he’d get along famously with Adlet.

Goldof isn’t so sure about that, but he is extremely adept at combat and killing fiends. Tania and Goldof echo Adlet and Fremy in that each pair has an outgoing/happy-go-lucky and introverted/distrustful personality in it.

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No matter which pair it follows, the soaring sights and the stirring orchestral score maintains the grandeur and scale of the Braves’ journey established in the previous episodes. Though only drawn together by Adlet’s insistence, Fremy sticks by his side as they enter the fortress of a town close to their ultimate destination of the Demon God’s domain.

Though the fortress garrison has been decimated and a mere private commands, he dutifully and confidently informs the Braves of the intricate plan to cast a giant cloud of fog over the lands, blocking the fiends from taking further territory once the Braves press on. This too is a very RPG-like mission, with precise timing and contingency plans involved. Adlet, naturally, believes Plan A will go swimmingly.

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But once Adlet and Fremy strike out for the Braves’ rendezvous point, they are ambushed, not by fiends but by Tania and Goldof. The main reason Fremy gives for not wanting to join the others is her belief the other Braves will try to kill her if they see her (and the only reason Adlet didn’t is because he’s “weird”, i.e. a kind person). Fremy doesn’t believe in kindness, and doesn’t want it. She even tries to get him to agree to one day fight her, but go easy on her, while all he wants to do is fight by her side.

Now, exactly what she said would happen is happening, albeit due to Tania and Goldof’s belief Fremy is the Brave-killer. As blades and bullets fly, Adlet must play the peacemaker, and be the glue that holds the Braves together. And if he truly is the World’s Strongest Man, than surely he can get it done, right?

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Rokka no Yuusha – 02

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While their party is just two and the activities are limited to exploring and traversing the great expanse before them, Adlet and Nashetania’s journey is the perfect opportunity for both them and us to learn a little more about them. Take ‘Tania: she’s so excited and giddy at the prospect of this adventure, she challenges Adlet to a fight. In fact, she uses her powers for things like cutting vegetables. She’s restless, but Adlet and she both need to be focused with a Brave Killer at large.

At night Adlet warns Tania they’ll be sleeping on hard ground under the stars a lot, and we learn she’s no stranger to that. Despite having never seen so much, she has experienced more hardship than you’d think of a sheltered princess, mostly because of the tenuous hold her late father had on the kingdom, and the execution order put out for her before she became a saint. Adlet’s not the only one here who’s had to rough it.

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The bottom line is, outside of arena competition, Tania has zero experience fighting fiends, who Adlet knows they’ll encounter. The “game”, if you will, then shifts from “getting to know each other” to “battle 101.”  I like how Adlet gets a very nervous Tania to laugh, thus calming her. Then Adlet gets right in the (CGI) fiends’ faces and dodges and slashes, while keeping Tania back to support him with her blades.

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Their first battle goes well, and the villagers the fiends attacked are saved from obliteration, but there’s news that one village girl didn’t make it out. Adlet is ready to go after her, but Tania stops him, telling him their primary mission is to find the other Braves, and that no matter how strong they are, they can’t save everybody.

Adlet agrees with her until she lets go of his horse, and then charges off anyway, which is Classic Adlet: after all, how can he call himself the Strongest Man if he can’t defeat the Demon God and save the people? He wants to do it all, and in this case, Tania indulges him.

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And this time, it may just get him in serious trouble, as the “girl” in the smoldering ruins of the village seems to be doing just fine taking out all of the fiends. When she notices Adlet, she introduces herself as Fremy Speeddraw, so named because of her rifle and the ability to summon bullets at will. She doesn’t like other humans, suspects Adlet is there to kill him, and refuses to lower her rifle to his non-provocational stance.

Meanwhile, more fiends arrive at Tania’s location, and while she’s able to deal with them herself, she loses her horse in the process. Then the person she’s been searching for, Goldof, who once let her win in the arena, presents himself before her, a newly-made Brave, like her. Tania says this now makes them equals, but Goldof still insists on bowing before her and pledging his life to her protection.

Then Goldof tells her the name of the Brave Killer is Fremy. This should be interesting!

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Rokka no Yuusha – 01 (First Impressions)

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What is it: A sweeping fantasy epic about the rise and gathering of of the “Braves of the Six Flowers”, six warriors chosen by the Goddess of Fate to save the world from the reawakened Demon God and its fiends. The first we meet is self-(and oft)-proclaimed “strongest man in the world” Adlet Mayer, who crashes a sacred ceremony between two lesser warriors and embarrasses them and the entire institution.

For this, he is imprisoned, but he makes a friend of a pretty maid who visits him in his cell, and they chat about the Braves. Adlet spends many weeks in a cage, but when the signs of the Demon God awakening filling the sky, the mark of the Braves appears on his hand.

He is then sprung by jail by the maid, who is really the Nashetania, the princess of Piena, who has also been chosen as one of the Braves. She and Adlet mount horses at strike out into the world to rendezvous with the the other four.

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Why should you watch? If, like me, you’re a big fan of the whole concept of RPGs like FF, which follows a relatively set but time-tested formula from game to game, evoloving with technology of the time (I’ve played FF for NES all the way up to PS3, and looking forward to FFXV for PS4) and switching up its character types, settings, and battle systems. Up until recently there were no direct sequels, as if each FF was really the “final” of its kind.

But the first FF wasn’t the final one as it was believed to be by its creators, nor will FF ever really disappear, despite all the missteps the studio may have taken throughout the years, because fantasy is elemental and eternal. Going back to the carved stones of the Epic of Gilgamesh, they have always been both a tale of how we came to be and an escape from where and who we are.

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Rokka no Yuusha understands this simple fact intrinsically, and attaches new trappings to well-traveled roads in its execution, in the best tradition of FF. The Meso-American fusion motif, with the Tenochtitlan-style capital, makes an immediate escapist impact, and as we move on to our cocky but capable protagonist Adlet carve his way through two of the best warriors in the land, his constant protestations of being the “strongest in the world” sound less and less like idle boasting.

That’s particularly true when we see what becomes of Adlet for stepping out of line and shitting all over the city’s traditions: he’s thrown into a big pit to rot. But far from despairing, Adlet simply uses the time to train and allow his wounds to heal, knowing he could escape at any time. And as I immediately knew the “maid” was actually Princess Nashetania (great name, BTW) I’m not entirely certain a part of Adlet didn’t know it too, judging by how he tells the maid to relay the message, and his lack of surprise when she shows up to free him.

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Why should you watch? Perhaps for the same reason I will be watching: If you’re annoyed, rather than comforted and excited, about the umpteenth execution of the epic fantasy formula. Also, while the show got off to a quick start with Adlet’s battle, things bog down quite a bit in the cell scene. The dialogue is natural at first, and I liked Nashetania’s fidgeting as Adlet talked about himself, but then things descended into pretty transparent infodump territory, though that’s just another familiar mark of this genre.

The Verdict: This second effort by studio Passione (the first being Rail Wars!, which Hannah quite liked) that we’ve seen is a strong entry in the epic fantasy genre, and gets off to a convincing start, immersing us in its lush setting, familiar yet intriguing mythology, and the sense of a grand adventurous journey commencing.

Its attention to detail in matters of combat, production, and costumes impressed mightily. And while Adlet’s a cocky bastard, he has an honorable goal, and Nashetania should be good for him (and vice versa). We’ve yet to meet most of Braves of the Six Flowers to meet, but I’m already sold.

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