by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Assassins Pride ?
Episode 4 must have finished the first of the source light novels because episode 5 feels like it's stepping forward into the next story arc. Considering how unimpressive the first arc was, this is a welcome development.
This episode offers two major plot points. The first and predominant one involves the Luna Lumiera Selection tournament, which is really just a fancy name for the practically obligatory tournament scenario that every anime involving a fighting-training school seems to have. In this case the series pulls a stunt akin to the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire trick: behind-the-scenes manipulations unexpectedly place younglings Melida and Elise in the fray when representatives of another school come to participate in the contest, which is sure to cause tensions with their fellow students. At its heart it's a battle for family pre-eminence, but what gives the scenario a little extra depth is that neither of the girls wants it that way. That Elise is willing to throw the match in order to return to being subordinate to Melida isn't at all surprising; she may have the superior talent but is definitely much weaker when it comes to willpower, social skill, and motivation, and she knows it. She's more comfortable with Melida being the Big Sister figure she can rely on, as she did when they were little kids, though Melida does not seem to understand or full appreciate that.
The consequences of Elise's timidity aren't just limited to her relationship with Melida, either. She can't express herself right to others who respect her and want to work with her, hence resulting in her getting dragged along by the elite clique. In fact, the chief underlying irony of the series is that she's the one who most wants protection even though she's clearly the most powerful. If she were a co-protagonist then this are might end up being about her developing her confidence and emerging on her own. Since she's not, I fear that she is going to wind up being even more of a tool for a power player than she already is.
The other major turn of events is Kufa's encounter with Black Madia, who first appeared in the epilogue of last episode. (For sake of reference, “Madia” is a genus of flowers sometimes known as tarweeds. That seems to have nothing to do with her displayed abilities and disposition so far.) Her inclination to only communicate through fiery English script is quite pretentious, though also a bit cool, but it's that almost-mischievous smile of hers which also makes her a little more interesting than normal. She's strong enough that she is going to be quite the problem, especially given that she has some inkling that Kufa is trying to pull something here. Rosetti also getting pulled into that conflict adds a further wrinkle, though I am still more convinced that she's being set up as the requisite faux love interest; Kufa of course only has eyes for Melida, but what fun would it be without at least some romantic tension?
On the whole this episode is a minor improvement, if for no other reason than its content doesn't comes across as quite so corny. If the series keeps mixing in additional little intrigues like we saw here then it might well hold its own.
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