Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul Episodes 13-14
by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul ?
How would you rate episode 14 of
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul ?
Note: Hey y'all. You may have noticed that there wasn't a Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul write-up last week. That's because I was away at Anime-Expo, hanging out with nerds and doing work for this very site. We'll be back on track from this week going forward. Thank you for your patience.
With these two episodes, Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul has finally entered its second cour. I suspect that it'll be a straight-up action rollercoaster from here on out, although we've still got some cleaning up to do from the prison break arc first. When we last left our heroes, Nina and company had just gotten out, Gabriel had launched her invasion on the human world, and Charioce was getting trashed by an army of angry angels. In a last ditch effort to save his pretty boy ass, Charioce has chosen to unleash the giant death machine he's been building in his basement. Apparently this thing – called a dromos – is real bad news. Comparing it to Bahamut, Gabriel starts freaking the hell out and orders her armies to retreat. The problem is that Mugaro (now called El, but I'll stick with his old name for now) is all psyched up to rescue his mom. So instead, he tries to bust through the dromos's force field and gets hurt real bad. In the end, Gabriel's armies are decimated, Mugaro is left comatose, and Charioce has escaped alive. Nice going, angel lady.
Well, I can't act like it isn't Charioce who deserves 100% of the blame here. Your end goal better be awesome enough that it justifies building a pseudo-Bahamut apocalypse tower, Charry-kun, not that this thing seems to deter Nina, since the two of them have another meet-cute while he's preparing to fire. He ends up protecting her from the recoil, losing an eye in the process. I guess that means that he cares? When Nina sees that his troops are still beating up her friends, she convinces Charioce to hug her so that she can turn into a dragon and rescue them. This is made out as a gesture of longing even though their relationship should really be antagonistic at this point. Charioce isn't even that surprised to see her transform. (That bodes well for their relationship, at least. He'd have to get used to it.) Then Rita shows up to save everyone, as she is wont to do. Nina and Jeanne head off to rescue Mugaro, while Rita is tasked with breaking Kaisar (and maybe Favaro) out of jail. Again. Hopefully they won't be showing the whole thing this time.
In episode 14, Jeanne and Nina stop by the dragonfolk village on their way to the land of the gods. This is mostly a chill-out episode in between action climaxes, but there are some good moments. The standout scene is some mom-talk between Nina's mother and Jeanne, where the former knight finally gets to vent about all that she's been through. By this point, she's been betrayed by her gods, tricked into killing a bunch of them, banished from the capital, had her son taken away from her, and imprisoned in the Temple of Doom mines for several years. This lady has the patience of a saint (literally), but anyone could use a good hug after all that. Much like in the first season, it looks Jeanne will be getting all of the best character material despite being mostly peripheral to the main action.
Speaking of character material, the show is now absolutely going in the direction of “Nina and Charioce have serious feelings for each because we say so, and not for any well-substantiated reasons.” While I can't say that this is the best writing choice, I also won't call it a disaster or anything. Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is clearly going for a Disney vibe, and that's how it worked in the older princess movies. It's just awkward since Charioce isn't a blank slate Prince Charming type, but rather a warlord who's been repeatedly awful to every non-Nina character in the show. Nina, girlfriend, I know that he's cute and all, but he's tried to imprison or murder most of your friends. One great date doesn't come close to justifying that. At least it's somewhat believable that Nina would be this romantically optimistic, but the show will have to go to some lengths to justify a brutal conqueror falling in love-at-first-dance with a teenage girl. It'd be neat if they could manage it, but I doubt that'll happen. They're having enough trouble making Charioce sympathetic at all in light of all he's done. (This whole “war with the gods” thing better not just be because his mom died or something. Boo hoo, I'm an orphan, time to go enslave a million demons. Yeah right.) However it shakes out, this isn't a make-or-break deal for the show. Rage of Bahamut has never been a characterization-heavy series, and while this second season places more emphasis on plot details, it's still an archetypal romp at heart. This series' greatest strength has always been its ability to remain charming even as the storytelling gets loosey-goosey.
When it comes to miscellaneous stuff, we learn that Nina's dad died while protecting the village from Bahamut's (or perhaps Demon Jeanne's) crossfire all those years ago. Nina's difficulty transforming is also linked to the trauma of her father's death. It's apparently triggered by hot boys because they remind her of him? Wow, that has implications. Also, that puffball thing from the first ending finally showed up! I'd been waiting on it for what feels like forever, but it's funny that the puffball shows up just when the ED changes. It's a good new ED too – that combination of fairy tale and UFO imagery feels inspired by Revolutionary Girl Utena, while the club scenes are reminiscent of Free! Iwatobi Swim Club's ending. Also, keep your eyes out for a breakdancing Rocky. By contrast, the second opening is weaker than the first due to its vastly pared-down visuals.
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul remains an enjoyable ride. I look forward to seeing Jeanne reunite with Mugaro and maybe even seeing more of that puffball. I also hope that Azazel comes back soon. Something's been missing ever since he left. (That thing is tight leather pants.)
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.
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