This season’s big overachiever keeps right on delivering. Shingeki no Bahamut is that rare sequel that clearly eclipses its predecessor, and that rare series that dramatically overperforms what it seems likely to deliver. That said, I am getting to the point where I really would like to see Favaro turn up soon. I would have bet Nina would start getting on my nerves by now, but she hasn’t – which is something of a testament to just how good “Virgin Soul” is. But I’m ready to see more elements from the first season actively brought into the story.
This episode was pretty much all Nina all the time, which makes it something of a miracle that it was as good as it was. I can’t say enough for the character animation and for Morohoshi Sumire’s performance – they’re both a huge part of the reason Nina continues to be both hilarious and kawaii without becoming grating or hopelessly cliched. The characters in general come off brilliantly in “Virgin Soul” – the cast is terrific and the faces are so expressive and distinctive. MAPPA has come a long way, that’s for sure, and while Yuri on Ice is going to get most of the fanfare I think it’s this series that really marks their arrival as an elite studio.
In plot terms, the big development here is obviously Nina’s developing relationship with Charioce (though he’s undercover, of course). Obviously if Nina falls in love with the king, that’s a major plot point. But even more critical is the fact that she seems (though it’s too early to say for sure) to be able to moon over him at close range without turning into a dragon. Is it possible that the transition from infatuation to actual love (adolescent though it may be) nullified her dragon effect? Strictly from the perspective of Nina’s happiness you’d certainly like that to be true – though I hope it ends up manifesting itself with someone who isn’t a genocidal sadist.
In practical terms, though, if that is indeed the case it’s going to cause huge problems for Azazel. His plan to take down Charioce depends almost entirely on the red dragon, and if the red dragon is in hibernation the Rag Demon is basically screwed. It would be simplistic to call Azazel the hero of “Virgin Soul” or even a good guy – clearly what he has in mind is going to cause the deaths of a great many innocent humans. But the root of Azazel’s campaign is justified by the atrocities being committed by Charioce’s regime. We have two really awful potential scenarios in play here, and in the end I suppose it really doesn’t matter who started it if everyone is going to be made to suffer.
It’s going to fall to men like Kaisar to try and avert tragedy – not that there are many like him, it seems. I loved this episode – the dance number was great, Nina was adorable, and Rita, Bacchus and Hamsa were their usual hilarious selves. But I still feel what I did last week, as if it’s really time for this story to move onto the next phase. We’ve had a lot of questions asked over six episodes – about Favaro, about Mugaro, about what’s right and wrong. And now I think it’s about time Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul started delivering some answers.