Back Arrow
Episode 9

by Grant Jones,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Back Arrow ?

Princess Fine continues to pursue Arrow, Shu, and the others, but Prax leaps into the action promising to end them herself. Prax and Back Arrow began to battle in their Briheights, but in his weakened form he is no match for her. Just as Prax is about to finish off our heroes, Dr. Sola arrives on a hoverbike and stops her. Sola reveals that he is Prax's brother, and in fact the one who caused the Princess's current predicament. He uses a flashbang to cover their retreat and they go underground.

At a safe house, Dr. Sola reveals his history as a former member of the Kingdom of Lutoh, and his real name: Werner Conrad. Years ago, when Princess Fine was much younger, she and Prax were hang-gliding when Dr. Sola shot at them with a crossbow and nearly killed them both. It was an accident, but the damage was done. Prax tried to poison him, and he fled the kingdom.

Meanwhile, in Rekka, the Prime Minister Tae is in dire straits as the Emperor strips away his title and his holdings. Additionally, the Emperor challenges a captured Briheight pilot who is a general from the Lustar Emirates. He resoundingly defeats the general with his exploding whip weapon, then declares war on Lutoh. Princess Fine reveals her other persona in public and cackles with glee at the coming challenge.

In the words of the wise philosopher Random Futurama Military Recruiter: War Were Declared.

Back Arrow is picking up steam with this episode. I've mentioned before that the political dimension of this show isn't exactly complex, but there is enough there to kick off exciting developments. In another example of deft writing, a relatively simple binary political situation between two powers has yielded rather engaging results. There is just enough texture to each of these nations to create a fascinating little interplay between not only the political entities themselves but the warring sub-factions within each one. Developments such as Rekka being much different after Shu and Kai's break and the introduction of the new minister, as well as Lutoh's dark secret in Princess Fine and those loyal to covering for her both work to make us invested in the upcoming conflict between these two nations. Toss in the Granedger crew getting caught in the crossfire and the various minor states milling about, and there are enough lit fuses to set off plenty of mecha chaos in the episodes to come.

Prax continues to be a favorite as well. Not only is she really the first major challenge that Back Arrow has had, I dig the entire vibe her character has. As an avid fan of works like Rose of Versailles, I was eating up the entire sub-plot with Prax and Werner. Courtly melodrama, near-fatal misunderstandings, poisoning attempts – it's all there. Plus Prax has more than a few visual and thematic parallels with Oscar de Jarjayes – what can I say, I'm a mark.

I'm amped for what the next few chapters have in store vis-a-vis dramatic mecha fights while castles burn in the background.

Rating:


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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