by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Assassins Pride ?
With its final episode, Assassin's Pride finally clarifies one key point that I don't recall the series ever clarifying before: that the reason why Melida being Samurai class is significant is because that's not one of the higher-level classes, which is what would have been expected of someone from a Duke's House. Exactly what all the higher-level classes are still isn't clear; Paladin is obvious, and Dragoon (which appears for the first time in this episode, I believe?) would seem to be one as well, but what else? The lack of explanation on points like this is just a symptom of the overall dearth of world-building in this series. For that matter, this episode is also the first one to give use any real sense of the scale of these domed cities, as a top-down view is provided at one point, on which suggests that they're a lot smaller on the inside than has previously been indicated.
A good chunk of the episode takes place in an Alice in Wonderland setting, complete with Melida dressed as Alice, which I am assuming is a product of the Once Upon a Time ability that Mule used near the end of last episode. Exactly how the other nobles got involved with this enough to be present is not at all clear, nor is how Kufa was later able to enter into the scenario (amusingly incongruously as the Mad Hatter), but hey, details don't matter on things like this, right? What bugs me even more about this scenario is Mule's attitude about it. Although she does seem to genuinely want to be friends with Melida, her demeanor doesn't change at all whether she's acting on Alice's side or to put her in a difficult situation. She shows no regret for what she's being asked to do to a friend nor any apparent concern over it. Frankly, she comes off as psychotic, and I'm pretty sure that is not what was intended.
Anyway, that all eventually leads to a climactic team-up face-off between Kufa and Melida on one side and the masked troublemaker on the other. I can see what the production staff was trying to do with that scene – namely, having Kufa and Melida do a true team-up effort rather than just taking turns attacking the masked guy – but the effort looks awkward in execution. The series has always been lacking someone on staff who understands how to do thrilling battle choreography, and this scene is just the newest victim. Contrarily, the intercutting with clips from Melida's previous training with Kuga isn't a problem, as it does suitably emphasize that she has learned her lessons well over time.
The episode's denouement, which involves Melida finally speaking to the Duke, is one of the series' high points. The Duke coming up with a way to explain how Melida could be Samurai class from lineage leaves vague the point about whether or not he is Melida's biological father, but that level of ambiguity is perfectly fine. That Salacha's brother isn't done scheming also provides the avenue for further storytelling. The series does also at least end on the right note: with a reaffirmation of the series' title.
On the whole, Assassin's Pride is a mediocre series which could have been at least a bit better with better production values and some tweaks to its storytelling. I will be rather surprised if the series does not quickly fade into obscurity.
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