by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Back Arrow ?
Commander Prax brings the Granedger and crew back to Lutoh. They are welcomed with grand displays of hospitality: fancy architecture like they have never seen before, bountiful tables of food, and even the luxury of ample water for bathing. They are taken in by the sights and joviality – perhaps a bit too much. Princess Fine speaks softly to them of diplomacy and openness, while Prax secretly leaves to go back to the Wall.
At the Wall, Back Arrow is hard at work with the punching. He attacks the wall again and again but to no avail. Suddenly he is attacked by Prax who has returned in her flying Briheight. After a brief struggle that is partially interrupted by a new Rakuho, she captures him and takes him to Demyne Shaft – the Supreme Scientist of Lutoh. Demyne begins to experiment on Back Arrow but Shu and Bit arrive to rescue him. They encounter Prax in their escape; she is wearing her helmet and a fight ensues. During the battle, Prax's helmet is knocked off, revealing that it is in fact not Prax but Princess Fine, who appears to have a more aggressive split personality her calmer half is unprepared for. Her laughing maniacally is where the episode draws to a close.
While a solid enough episode for the series, this felt like a bit of a letdown compared to last episode. I was rather excited to see what happened with the Wall, but it's treated like kind of a random footnote here, and was obviously more of a means to split the Granedger group rather than introducing any new revelations. While it is somewhat unfair to find fault with what the episode wasn't, it was rather anticlimactic how Back Arrow makes it to the Wall and immediately gets whisked away without much reflection or revelation.
The fighting was fine, and the animation remains impressively smooth for these Briheight battles. I thought the locale for Lutoh was well-realized enough, but it feels less engaging than either Rekka or Edgar village.
Again, the best touches were the surprise little moments sprinkled throughout the episode. The villagers' joy at seeing food in a quantity and variety they had never encountered before was great, and even though this was a bathhouse episode it didn't end up being a Bathhouse Episode™, if you catch my drift (and I appreciated that). Similarly, the truly bizarre element of having Demyne Shaft – a name which HAS to be a pun – backed up by a literal choir singing while he worked was a delight. I enjoy absurdity of that sort.
Back Arrow is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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