by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Back Arrow ?
As Lutoh prepares for war, the bloodthirsty Princess Fine sets her sights on the Granedger. Of course, in order to pilot the ship she needs Elsha to cooperate. She challenges Elsha to battle Prax in the arena - and if Elsha doesn't cooperate, then Princess Fine will have the villagers of Edger killed. Elsha reluctantly begins her battle with Prax, but she is initially outmatched by the more skilled combatant.
Meanwhile, Back Arrow, Bit, Sola, and Shu Bi are being chased by Lutoh's Briheights. They are soon met by a servant of a the Elect Surpeme. The Elect Supreme is a
gigabrain enormous individual of great intellect and influence who elects the crown of Lutoh. They learn that the reason Princess Fine is the way she has become is his due to his blood and manipulation, and set out to stop her. Along the way to the arena they run into Prax's armored division who nearly stop them. However, Back Arrow manifests new wings and soars past them to the arena.
Elsha is on the back foot against Prax when Back Arrow arrives. He wants to fight the battle for her but she says this is ultimately her fight. Back Arrow cannot fight his battle for her but he does change form into a giant sword for her to wield. Even though it is heavy, she managed to wield him and defeat Prax and she survives the battle because it was technically Back Arrow who was delivering the blow. Princess Fine goes back on her agreement and seeks to kill them all anyway, but her better half manifests and she banishes the cruel part of herself and regains control.
In the aftermath, Elsha offers her assistance to Princess Fine in protecting Lutoh. They form an alliance and shake hands, much to everyone's joy and relief.
This one was a real home run for me.
Back Arrow has been consistently good and at times surprisingly so, and this episode really showed what the series is capable of. CG mecha shows have a bit of a… reputation in the visuals department, and I know a lot of old timers like myself balk at any mecha which aren't hand drawn. But the fight sequences in this show have all been strong, with this one being a particular highlight. The kinetic energy of the Elsha versus Prax fight was great, and I loved the thematic and visual elements at play. Back Arrow wanting to help, Elsha saying she needed to win this battle herself, and him ultimately deciding to become the weapon she wielded was all excellent stuff. I think the bit where he created jet turbines on the back edge of the blade to help empower Elsha's swing was a really creative moment too.
The Elect Supreme is a whole other angle to the Lingalind equation that I… was not expecting. If you had told me that “This mecha show about conviction powered robots will eventually feature a scene where fleshy Hedonism Bot has a creepy jester guide the heroes into his mist-covered sex dungeon,” would be a real plot point in the series a few months ago, I'm not sure I would have believed you. It was definitely an interesting contrast and almost a dream-like space with the strange fortress, harlequin colors, and misty environs. I think it's another great example of how the simple binary political setup at the start of the show has been made more complicated without necessarily adding entirely new political bodies/nations to the mix. Since the Wall has faded a bit as a plot point and things have become more complicated on the ground, I'm curious as to where the series is going - and excited to find out.
Back Arrow is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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