by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Assassins Pride ?
On the good side, the writing clarifies the character dynamic with Elise a bit further. The conversations between her and Melida during their fight more directly confirms what was implied by last episode: Elise really doesn't like to be in the spotlight. At all. She's a shy girl at heart who feels much more comfortable standing behind a strong figure, even if that strength is more from personality than actualized mana power. While that makes her come off as a weaker character than her talents would imply, it's at least an understandable sentiment. Melida's reaction, once she fully understands herself, is interesting; rather than try to pump Elise up so they can stand as equals, Melida is fully willing to be Elise's front woman, but only on her own terms. That means beating Elise straight-up and proving that she's worthy of standing before her.
Morale factor has long been acknowledged as a critical intangible in wargaming, and the resulting fight is definitely one which swings in Melida's favor mostly because of that; if the two girls were equally-determined, Melida wouldn't be beating Elise. But that's what makes some leaders and other followers, and despite how she's constantly blushing over Kufa's attention, she is a leader in the making. It's not the strongest case of building up a future leader, but it will do for now. I also liked how the results of the challenge did not pivot solely on Melida and Elise's battle; the ultimate winner was one of the elder and more experienced girls, as it should be. That the girl from the other school who spoke to Melida last episode is a potent enough noble to even given Kufa pause was also a nice touch, as was seeing more of Black Madia in actioin.
On the bad side, Black Madia is a disappointment when she finally eschews her hooded robe and pretentious habit of communicating through fiery English script. She's just another skilled, cute anime girl at that point. (Despite that, the episode's epilogue indicates that the series is far from done with her.) Kufa's dialogue towards her – about her exposing her identity, physique, and so forth – is also entertaining only in a cheesy sense. Worse, their fight transitions too abruptly between scenes, giving the distinct impression that a whole block of shots has been cut out. In fact, aside from a handful of cuts, the animation throughout the episode is not good, especially for a more fight-intensive episode.
At least the whole Melida/Elise conflict seems to be settled for the moment, allowing the story to move onto a new phases. There's still the question about how Elise's attendant was able to get the access to switch the names (and the episode even acknowledges this), but at this point I'm not all that interested in that minor mystery. Hopefully settling this one matter will allow for some meatier upcoming content.
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