by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 18 of
Back Arrow ?
As the Granedger moves past the illusionary first wall and approaches the second wall, they realize that they are surrounded by strange spires. These structures are made of human skulls, bodies, and agonized faces - including the recently deceased Werner Conrad. Another messenger arrives from the Lind Faith to tell the Granedger crew that Back Arrow is actually the destroyer, sent by god to “harvest” Lingalind like a fruit ripe for plucking. Back Arrow tries to fly out to meet the Lutoh forces but he is not himself. He attacks the flying dreadnought and kills Peath, then is forcibly attached to the Lutoh dreadnought's hull and begins firing dozens of beams. These beams wipe out the Lutoh forces, killing them all.
Rudolph beams in to tell them that they cannot defy god's will, and that Arrow will destroy all of Lingalind. Back Arrow begins firing at the Granedger but wills the beam to stop. The Granedger team defiantly attack the dreadnought in the hopes of separating it from Back Arrow. He gets free and tries to fly away from them to keep them safe, but a new wall arises to entrap them all once again. Within the cargo hold of the Granedger, Biot shows everyone the Rakuho that Back Arrow first arrived in - and Shu hatches a plan to use it to fight god.
Lordy, what an episode.
Back Arrow has well and truly gone into dark territory (pun intended) at this point. The bubbly bright early episodes seem pretty distant from where we're at now. It's a real deft writing flourish to have Arrow's power flip from “he can defeat enemies without killing them” to “he wipes out everyone” and having the weight of that come crashing down on him. The exact consequences of all this will be interesting to see play out, what with Rudolph working to help god harvest everyone and Shu going full Get in loser, we're committing deicide.
I think the imagery in this week's episode will stick with me for a while. Back Arrow losing control, slaughtering the entire Lutoh army, and watching as pillars of tortured spirits rise from the earth beneath the cheerful chanting of a gleeful Lutoh choir (who are themselves being killed at that moment) is perhaps the most striking scene in the series to date. I cannot wait to see where this show is taking us.
Back Arrow is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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