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Banished From The Heroes' Party
Episode 13

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 13 of
Banished From The Heroes' Party ?
Community score: 4.1

It's funny: like the two worst episodes in the series, this episode is jam-packed. It's got the final action climax, a major lore dump, and a ton of epilogues for various characters. Yet, despite this, everything is given just enough room to breathe, making it a satisfying conclusion to the series.

While short, the final action climax is full of deeper meaning. Red, as the Guide, has no chance of beating a fully powered and motivated Hero. His skills are dwarfed by hers and his magic sword is nothing compared to one of the original Hero's blades. But here's the thing: the battle isn't about the Guide beating the Hero; it's Red saving Ruti. He switches to his copper sword—the symbol of his new “slow life”—and uses its weakness to disarm Ruti and bring her back to her senses. The message here is clear: “Gideon” could not save his sister from her fate, but “Red,” thanks to all he has learned from his new life, is able to.

But that's not all that this scene reveals. Up until now, Blessings have seemed to simply alter a person's way of thinking. They persuade you into acting like the character archetype they represent—making you fulfilled when you do what you're supposed to and unhappy when you don't. However, with Ruti in this episode, we see something different.

This isn't some passive guideline or framework forcing her to act like a hero. After all, what she is trying to do—i.e., kill Red and Tisse—isn't the least bit heroic. I mean, what Hero would kill her companions and family—especially when they have no interest in harming her or even preventing her from continuing her mission? It even forced Ruti to heal Ares after his personal betrayal.

No, what we see here is the Blessing acting in self-preservation. It is making a conscious choice to go against the nature it represents in order to eliminate the things that make Ruti fight against its control—i.e., her emotional connections. Even when Ruti is once again free from its control, it, almost spitefully, refuses to let Ruti heal Tisse. This is the first time we have seen the Blessing not let itself be used when Ruti is in control. All this implies that Blessings are more like parasitic organisms than anything else—and that the strongest of them have something akin to sentience. That's pretty freaking terrifying right there.

This again makes me question how much of Ares' actions were his own. It's possible that Ares was just a normal guy whose Blessing expected him to be far more than he could actually be—and that this mismatch in capability and Blessing is what drove him insane in the end. Things were okay with him when the hero's party was acting as his Blessing demanded, but once Red left and things went off the rails, it kept pushing him till he broke.

Beyond this, we get a lot of little resolutions for the cast, with the most important of these centering around Rit and Ruti. Rit and Red put all their feelings for each other in the open—making clear their plans for their future together. From there, we move on to Rit and Red's first night together. What's great about this scene is that it's not as titillating as it is awkward. The two of them have no idea what they are doing. Sexual advances turn into tickling matches and both are so embarrassed by the whole thing that they almost give up halfway. And honestly, this perfectly fits their characters. While Rit has taken the lead in their whole relationship, we've seen enough to know that teasing is pretty much the extent of what she is comfortable with. She's like a dog chasing a car in this respect; now that she has caught it she doesn't know what to do with it. Luckily, it all seems to have worked out by the morning after.

With Ruti, we get two epilogues as well. The first shows her life totally free from the influence of the Hero's Blessing. She can feel cold and tired, and she can enjoy the taste of food. She is able to unabashedly act as the child she is and build new memories with her brother. But what's most telling is that, as she and Red sit on the bank of a river, she falls asleep—able to fully relax and dream for the first time in a decade. While there may not be such things as happy endings, this happy moment is certainly a well-deserved one.

Ruti's other epilogue shows that she is finally able to exercise agency in her own life. To help her brother, she has chosen to buy a farm and grow herbs on it alongside Tisse. But what's truly interesting is that thanks to her new Blessing, “New Truth” (which has all kinds of crazy implications), she is able to control the level of her Hero's Blessing at will. This allows her to be the B-Rank adventurer that Zoltan so badly needs (you know, now that Albert is disgraced and Rit retired). But while she might be facing monsters and saving people, this is far different from her life as “The Hero.” Now she is doing it by choice, and not because of some external controlling force. Ruti has found more to life than simply being with her brother. Her innate kindness has turned into altruism all on its own. And while mankind may suffer without “The Hero” at its head, Ruti may be on her way to becoming a new kind of hero—one capable of ending war with the demons and freeing mankind from their divine enslavement. Or maybe, she'll simply live out the rest of her life as a normal girl, loved by the friends and family who surround her. Honestly, I'm fine with it either way.

Rating:

Random Thoughts:

• It's funny that Ruti says that Theodora would make the ideal Hero, since what Theodora actually wants is to be the Guide who will find and nurture the next Hero.

• I'm not sure what to take from the revelation that the first hero was likely an Asura demon. However, it certainly hints that the whole Blessing system is even more messed up than it appears.

• “New Truth” allows Ruti to dampen her own Blessing. However, depending on how you interpret Red's explanation, there's a possibility that it can be used to dampen other people's Blessings as well.

• If that's the case, I wonder whether Ruti is suppressing Rit's blessing too. Because that would be a nice thing to do for her.

• If Blessings are God's will and going against them is a sin, isn't Ruti basically the devil as far as the church is concerned?

• Rit and Ruti fighting over Red—only to realize how silly they are being—is a great moment.

• I'm glad we get to see that Yarandrala has learned that Red is alive. When we last heard about her, she believed that her best friend had been murdered by a jealous party member and she had been unable to take revenge.

• As always, thanks to the readers and commentors who took this journey with me. I hope you enjoyed digging into this series each week as much as I did.

• Mr. Crawly Wawly remains best girl.

Banished From The Heroes' Party is currently streaming on Funimation.

Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.


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