Angels of Death
by Steve Jones,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Angels of Death ?
In a bold but truthful manner, Angels of Death has decided that nothing is scarier than the legal system, so welcome to the Trial of the Century! The defendant is Rachel Gardner, young girl, God enthusiast, and expert puzzle solver. The prosecution is a dangerous triumvirate consisting of a grave fetishist, a sadistic prison warden, and an eye doctor (but not the normal kind). Presiding over these proceedings is the questionably honorable judge Gray. All rise!
Before we get to this totally-not-kangaroo-court, it looks like much of this episode's strangeness can be blamed on Gray's seemingly endless supply of purple hallucinogenic smoke. Rachel runs into it as soon as she leaves Zack, resulting in a classic scene of a young lass following a white rabbit before tumbling down into a giant hole. I don't believe Alice kept a serrated knife with her, however, so Rachel at least has that advantage. Again, she's confronted with the ghosts of the people she's killed so far, which doesn't faze her as much as the seed of doubt that's been growing inside her. If God doesn't exist here, or if God wouldn't accept her and Zack's promise, then what has she been doing all of this for? Gray arrives during this crisis of faith, and he's about as helpful as ever. This time he actually has medicine that could help Zack, which is all Rachel has wanted for the past several episodes, but he's not going to let her have it without ascertaining her sinfulness and passing judgment. These pre-trial scenes are mostly iterating on points that have already been addressed, but the imagery is pleasantly surreal. Blood gushes out of a mirror that Rachel stabs as its reflection turns from herself, to Cathy, to Zack, which is a nice illustration of her own guilt. Gray's kaleidoscopic and psychedelic presence later gives way to a stark white room occupied only by Rachel, a bible, and a metronome, whose perfect and impassive ticking is a fitting representation of how Gray views himself as an impartial arbiter.
In spite of his ambitions, Gray does possess the wherewithal to call this a witch trial, which is typically not something one would call a fair proceeding. The odds are certainly stacked against Rachel. She has no legal representation besides herself, and the prosecution is two-thirds people she's killed or helped kill and one-third a guy she left for dead. I don't know whether Eddie and Cathy are ghosts, holograms, or manifestations of Rachel's guilt, and at this point I'll be fine with whatever answer the show gives (or doesn't give) us. The true joy in this scene comes from seeing all the villains try to work together and bickering endlessly instead. They're constantly interrupting each other's testimony and undermining each other's evidence, and it rules. It's a resurgence of the show's comedic leanings, and it makes Angels of Death a lot more entertaining and interesting, in my estimation. The voice actors ham it up wonderfully, but the real MVPs of this episode are the animators who drew Rachel looking various shades of unamused and pissed off during this court scene. For instance, Cathy ends her testimony practically writhing in ecstasy at the thought of how Rachel killed her, and then the camera cuts for a moment to let us see Rachel in the background with her eyebrows slightly raised in disgust. Imbuing a quiet and inexpressive character with this much range is no small feat.
The villains end up sabotaging each other, but they're also just bad at proving their points. The crux of Cathy's testimony is that Rachel used Zack only as a tool, but all she has is a short out-of-context scene, which Eddie calls her out on before Rachel even gets a chance. Narratively, this is a point that has already been addressed, although it might be true that all of this is playing out in Rachel's head, so she's just projecting her insecurities back onto herself. I'll honestly be a little disappointed if that's the case, since the prospect of ghosts giving testimony in court amuses me much more, but I can't rule it out. Eddie, meanwhile, acts like a lover scorned, building up his narrative as one of selfless love undone by Rachel's selfishness. My favorite part of this entire episode is how Eddie blushes through his mask, which is so sickeningly sweet it makes everything feel more macabre. And we're quickly reminded that Eddie's idea of a grand romantic gesture was making a grave for Ray, which definitely reeks of trying too hard. Not wanting to date a creepy boy is far from a crime. Danny provides testimony last, and he initially positions himself as being on Rachel's side. But any good will he tried to accrue goes immediately down the drain as soon as he starts hollering about Rachel's perfect eyes again. Gray's characterization of Danny as a decent, caring man clashes so strongly against his maniacal ravings about eyeballs that I can't help but laugh.
After what would have been several mistrials in a real court, Gray draws the proceedings to a close and delivers his verdict: Rachel is a witch. Now, I'll be the first to admit that Rachel has definitely got issues, but it should be clear to anybody watching the show that Gray's condemnation of Rachel as purely selfish is flat-out incorrect. There was convenience in her initial arrangement with Zack (absurd bloody convenience), but their friendship has obviously deepened since then, and their mutual concern for each other's welfare and safety can only be called selfless. Yeah, one wants to be killed by the other, but why should that preclude friendship? Is that not perhaps an even deeper and stronger bond? I'm being facetious, but Ray and Zack's camaraderie is undeniable, and the audience knows Gray is in the wrong. So what remains to be seen is how Rachel is going to escape being burned alive as a witch. Hopefully Zack has woken up by now, but maybe she can talk her way out of it. Regardless, this was another strange yet amusing installment of Angels of Death, balancing horrific situations with comically inept villains. Until next week, court is adjourned.
Angels of Death is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Steve is a longtime anime fan who can be found making bad posts about anime on his Twitter.
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