This series requires so little embellishment that it’s kind of frustrating to write for, but that’s about the only thing I can say against it. I can’t help but be impressed with the consistency and quality of “Virgin Soul” – even the outsourced episodes like this one look pretty good, and every week brings a vastly entertaining 22 minutes that both advances the story and makes perfect sense. Shingeki no Bahamut is a great example of how to execute a plot-driven anime with style and dexterity.
This episode was important for a number of reasons, but the character it was most important for was definitely El. This was a crucial stage for him, given that he’d been set up as the next great mover in the story – but not just for that reason. Was he going to go full-on messiah complex and become a sort of anti-hero, or is he just a frustrated little boy with wings who wants to do the right thing and hasn’t quite figured out how to do it? It looks from this episode like it’s going to be the latter, and I think that’s a very good thing for both El and Shingeki no Bahamut.
What keeps El grounded (no pun intended) is definitely family, and even if surrogate dad Azazel is otherwise engaged (thankfully, we’ll get to him in a minute) Bacchus, Hamsa and Nina definitely represent family to El too. I enjoyed the Heaven scenes this week – El and Nina switching clothes to fool the guards (at different times), the reveal that Bacchus fell to Earth for the love of a woman, the pantomime instructions (with subs) Nina gave Bacchus and Hamsa for their failed capture of El. This trio (and Rita) remains the essence of Virgin Soul’s lighter side, and that side is a very important part of this show’s formula for success.
As El proves he’s still a good kid by rescuing Nina and the two are reunited with their “parents” and Hippogriff, Kaisar is about to face his sentence – a bout in the arena with Azazel. Ostensibly this is supposed to be a death sentence for Kaisar, but Azazel only wants Kaisar to put him out of his misery. And it seems as though Charioce really doesn’t seem to want to see either one killed (Kaisar for sure) – they seem to amuse him more than infuriate him, and this sentence to be more of a test to see what would happen than an execution. In the end it’s Favaro (unsurprisingly) who lends a hand, saving not just Kaisar but Azazel too.
So now we have the scattered members of the good guys reunited in two quartets (Rita is waiting for the rescued gladiators after Favaro liberates them). It seemed inevitable that Azazel was going to formally join forces with Kaisar at some point – for all his tsun, it’s clear he has a certain respect for Kaisar and even more than the two of them have overlapping goals. The Heavenly group and the earthbound group both want the same thing – peace between humans, angels and demons (I’ll give Azazel the benefit of the doubt here), and I’ve been waiting for a long time to see them all teamed up to try and secure it. What’s not as clear is what role Charioce will play in the end, as we’re pretty clearly being sold that he’s not an outright villain – is there any way for him to be redeemed, or are his sins simply too great for him to be anything but a noble sacrifice?