Welcome to the ballroom.
It feels as if we’ve really started the home stretch of Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul, and I could hardly think of a better way to do so. This was a real cracker of an episode – “Virgin Soul” really firing on all cylinders. When this show focuses on what it does best it’s mighty hard to beat – and that’s solid, straightforward cinematic storytelling. The last couple of episode have played more like the first cour for me, after the series went through a stretch where it more resembled the original series. As good as that show was, the first cour of this one was certainly better – and I’d like to see it finish on the same kind of note.
When I mentioned “all the major good guys” finally being together last week, I was of course omitting one of them – Jeanne. But she and Sofiel very much asserted their presence in the narrative this week, as Jeanne continually pressed Sofiel to help her find her son. But the rest of the heroes are indeed now a team, and they’ve informally added Dias and Allesand as members – all part of Rita’s grand scheme (though even she admits it kind of sucks as plans go) to infiltrate the palace and liberate the bracelet from Charioce’s wrist. That hinges on Nina turning into a dragon and causing a distraction once she sneaks in posing as Allesand’s date, but Favaro seems to be high skeptical of that from the start – and he’s doing some independent planning on his own.
I feel kind of bad for Allesand here, who’s really dragged head-first into this conspiracy now (and unlike most of his teammates, he has a lot to lose). Nina initially introduces herself as his fiancee, and he later tries to pass her off as his younger sister when she brazenly asks Charioce to dance (after getting Allesand’s name wrong, a further indignity). But in the end I think it’s the same for him as it is for everyone else – you’re going to have to choose a side in this, because it’s nor morally conscionable to stand next to the king with his history.
I will give Charioce this much – I think he does have genuine feelings for Nina. Not love, probably, but affection – and what she feels for him is undeniably full-bore, infatuated love as only a 16 year-old girl can suffer from it. That’s the reason why Favaro knew she couldn’t turn into a dragon, surely – and the reason why she blocked his line of fire when he turned his crossbow on the king. I don’t necessarily see Favaro shooting an unarmed man there anyway, but this is a guy that’s lost an awful lot – consequences mean something different to him than they do to most people. He gave up everything to create a world that Charioce is threatening to destroy, and I don’t think he has much patience for others being unwilling to sacrifice to preserve it. But that said, his paternal concern for Nina and her feelings is undeniably real.
As it was the first time, Nina and Charioce’s dance scene was quite enchanting, but it doesn’t do anything to take away from my overall feeling that Charioce is irredeemable as a human being. That he seemingly plans to die in pursuit of whatever his final plan is doesn’t change a thing in my view – lots of megalomaniacs commit atrocities because they’re convinced they’re doing the world a favor by doing so. At least he’s trying to push Nina away from him for her own good, but his moral accounts are still hopelessly in the red. I must admit, that punch Favaro landed was probably – along with Fumaki-san finally closing Sengoku – the most satisfying blow of the season…