Back Arrow
Episode 22

by Grant Jones,

How would you rate episode 22 of
Back Arrow ?

Big Shu-ngus Shu clasps Back Arrow's hand and lifts him up. Arrow is shocked, but Shu tells him that he has rewritten his data so that he is no longer the Destroyer. We find out via flashback that Shu is his own Briheight, because his conviction is “I think therefore I am.” He also reveals that Arrow's conviction turns life into conviction to be devoured by God. He entrusted Bit as their secret weapon to help revive him in three days if his plan worked.

Outside, the forces of Rekka have captured Arrow and are holding him under trial for killing the Emperor. He feels that he must be held accountable for all the people he has killed so he is not resisting. The Pretty Boys arrive to remind everyone that this is their territory, so taking Arrow away would violate their sovereignty. Shu offers an exchange—the knowledge of God he gained from that realm for Arrow's life.

The Rekka soldiers are allowed aboard the Granedger for a brief respite. Then everyone gathers for a meal but tensions are high. Shu reveals that their world is one of many such worlds, all hanging from a great branching network like the fruits of a tree though the giant structure more resembles a snowflake. The central hub receives the electric energy of living beings, feeding God there. God farms these Linds, but if any act out they are eradicated. Shu reveals that he was able to do all this because he was not trapped in a physical form, moving through the Epitaph Mountains as pure energy and that it was either Arrow or Kai's thoughts that brought him back.

Arrow begins to doubt whether he should even be alive. Kai quickly challenges him to just die if there's no point in living. The arguing continues until Arrow and Kai end up having a duel outside the ship, with Kai armed and Arrow barehanded. Arrow can't explain why he is dodging at all, while Kai unleashes a new blade against Arrow—that he stops by merely grasping it mid-swing. Arrow realizes that everyone's fierce will to survive changed him to want to be a protector, and that he will bear the weight of the world on his hands.

One of my favorite episodes yet.

This feels like the culmination of many of the threads that have been running through the show from the very beginning. We're clearly gearing up for the finale—or at the very least a major epic confrontation—now that all the forces of Lingalind are together behind Arrow. He gets to work through his self-doubt and guilt, there's some needed exposition from Shu, and we get a great motivation-defining duel at sunset. What's not to like?

Shu's return is kind of ridiculous logic but then that fits the show, and I love that his conviction is basically big brain thinking. We've already hit Biblically Accurate Angel Mecha stage so “your big brain thinking brought me back as a giant version of myself so I can tell you about God's snowflake Matrix farm” is, in my opinion, well within the bounds of this show at this point. Plus Shu was too great of a personality to have entirely out of the show; I need sassy Zhuge Liang to go the distance with this one. And hats off to Kazuki Nakashima for the Kai versus Arrow duel, which amounted to ‘I won't let you go commit deicide with me until we hash it out like bros'–like writing. The final battle is going to be ridiculous, I can't wait.


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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