Back Arrow
Episode 12

by Grant Jones,

How would you rate episode 12 of
Back Arrow ?

The war between Lutoh and Rekka rages on. The Lutoh people are nervous about whether they can actually win the war, but Princess Fine calms their nerves. Meanwhile, the Lutoh army tries to lure the Rekka forces into a canyon to destroy them with the help of the Granedger. Kai and Back Arrow are both fighting in a weakened state due to their injuries, with Atlee putting Rekka's great warrior on the back foot using her electric whips.

However, Ren has only become more determined since her defeat. Through training and determination, she unlocks flight for her Briheight. She reunites with Kai and is disgusted with his lack of conviction. Ren helps Kai snap out of his funk and they combine to form a new, deadlier Briheight. In this combined form, they are stronger and faster, not to mention being able to fly. They disable the Granedger swiftly, and when Back Arrow attempts to stop them, his injuries flare up as the episode ends.

Another strong entry for this little surprise hit.

Back Arrow has been building up the supporting cast in the background for the past few weeks and it really paid off here. Ren in particular is just phenomenal in this episode, with her desire for revenge becoming a true burning passion. There's something deeply affecting about watching Ren doing whatever it takes to keep herself alive, including hanging onto a tree root with her bare teeth to keep from drowning in a whirlpool.

The mecha animation has only become more fluid as the show goes on. The sequences where Kai and Ren's combined form battles Arrow, deflect lasers, then toss Elsha into a canyon wall just hit like a ton of bricks. I'm extremely impressed at how good the CG mecha animation can look like in this show despite its weekly production schedule, and it has me reconsidering my usual biases. The design work is impressive too – I really dig the way Ren's wings hover around Kai's back area without being obviously connected. It has an angelic halo kind of look that I find very effective in its simplicity.

I hope more people are looking into Back Arrow, because if not, they're missing out.


Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.

Back Arrow is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.

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