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Back Arrow
Episode 17

by Grant Jones,

How would you rate episode 17 of
Back Arrow ?

Tae's dreadnought continues its rampage in Rekka. Zetsu pulls Rekka out of the Granedger United talks and heads back to the capital. Once there, Tae unleashes the full might of the battleship on Zetsu but to no avail. The emperor of Rekka uses his Briheight to dispatch Tae and claim the battleship for himself.

As the Granedger United talks break down, the leaders of Lutoh return and Peath goes to see Rudolph. Rudolph gifts him with control of yet another flying dreadnought, this one hidden beneath Lutoh itself. Once it rises from the ground, the armies of Lutoh leave to confront the Granedger.

Aboard the Granedger, Back Arrow meets with a member of the Lind Faith. This shrouded figure tells him that he is the Newcomer, a prophesied figure, and invites him to come beyond the Wall. The monk disappears and the Granedger heads for the Wall, only to be intercepted by the Lutoh dreadnought. A battle ensues, and even though Lutoh's Briheights have gained the power of flight, Prax is able to defeat them handily. Shu and Back Arrow then transform the Granedger into a new mode and fire an enormous blast that devastates Lutoh's forces. In the aftermath, they head for the Wall and push through it quite easily, only to find another (!) Wall waiting for them on the other side as the episode ends.

It's funny how Back Arrow has gradually shifted in my estimation across the season. “Hey this is pretty good” became “Hey this is strong work” and now “Wait this may end up being a favorite.” I feel like the quality has only increased every episode, from plotting to character writing to the fidelity of the action sequences. If Back Arrow sticks the landing in the finale it could end up being a modern classic for me.

It's hard to decide what's best about this episode in particular. First of all, the political machinations and constant shifting of the state of play are really engaging. The fragile promise of peace has already come apart at the seams with the introduction of multiple dreadnoughts, and the scale of the battles has ramped up to match. I loved watching Prax get her moment in the sun by single-handedly taking on the entirety of Lutoh's flying Briheights. Not to mention the added wrinkle of a secret secondary Wall that introduces new questions even as the old assumptions about Lingalind are literally exploding behind the Granedger.

What a feast for the eyes this week's battles were too. Emperor Zetsu's giant martial bow attack where he summoned astral hands then shot himself at the dreadnought is my kind of ridiculous super robot nonsense – it was stunning. There are also plenty of spectacular visual touches, like the black-and-white static-y void effects and the close-ups on Zetsu's grinning face as the entire screen shook. Add in the short but tenacious sequence of Prax dismantling the legion of Briheights, the haunting visual of the space between the Walls, and the giant beam from the Granedger and you've got a super visually engaging twenty minutes of television. Next week can't come soon enough.


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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