Banished From The Heroes' Party
Episode 8

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Banished From The Heroes' Party ?
Community score: 4.3

On one hand, this episode helps me understand why the last episode was so overstuffed with information: they wanted to make sure that this episode had room to breathe. On the other hand, this episode—which is obviously the climax to the first arc of the story—could have still used more than it got.

Oh sure, unlike last episode, this one is easy enough to follow. However, character motivations are just kind of dropped on us suddenly and the climatic moments need more time to build and sustain tension. In other words, this episode's issue is a technical one: The story being told is a good one. The way it's being told is the problem.

Pacing issues aside, the most interesting thing to come out of this episode isn't the revelation of the mystery—i.e., what Big Hawk was doing and why. Nor is it how Red and Rit foil Big Hawk's plans for revolution. It's what we learn about the nature and society of demons—and the implications it has for Red and Rit's world.

To start, we see that demons can make contracts with humans—contracts they have to fulfill (though I admit to not understanding how Big Hawk's demon is able to nullify its contract, seemingly without penalty in the end). Of course, like many “deals with the devil,” you have to not only be careful what you wish for but also how you wish for it. Big Hawk wished to become King of Zoltan—so the demon just took over his body and planned to rule as King. It would still technically be “Big Hawk” as King after all.

Albert also makes a contract with the demon—for a mixture of selfish and selfless reasons. He wants to unite Zoltan so it can join the fight against the Demon Lord. He also wants the glory that would come from joining the Hero on the front lines—becoming the “Champion” his Blessing calls him to be. Of course, if he has to violently overthrow the existing Zoltan government, make a demon King, and lead a ton of innocents to their deaths, it's just a necessary sacrifice. Though, let's be clear here. It's hard to say how much of this is Albert's fault.

If anything, Albert is the most tragic character we have met aside from Ruti. His Blessing drives him to attain greatness but he lacks the ability to actually achieve it. In the frontier, he is the top dog as far as heroes go. He doesn't even have to share the limelight with Rit anymore since her retirement. Yet, his Blessing doesn't allow him to be satisfied with this. While Rit has been battling against her Blessing in order to follow her heart (and we've seen the emotional strain of her doing this), Albert has had no choice in the matter. He can't grow anymore as long as he is in the frontier but he can't leave it either—not without some great feat under his belt anyway.

Once again, it is Blessings in general that are the cause of what is going on. People are divinely forced into doing things they don't want to do or are simply unsuited for. Imagine being born like Big Hawk with the “Torturer” Blessing—knowing that you only get fulfillment by hurting others in deep, dark dungeons. And, through Ruti, we've seen that the other side of the coin can be just as rough. Is it any wonder the Blessing canceling drug is so popular even with the axe murdering side effects?

Yet, what's really interesting is that demons are likewise forced into their roles through Blessings as well. Sure, there seems to be less variety with all Axe Demons having the “Axe Demon” Blessing but that means in general that Demons have just as much/little free will as the humans. In the conversation between demons we witness, it is clearly stated that the demons also worship “The Almighty Demis” just like the humans—that they believe it is correct to live in accordance to their predetermined roles. The demon inside Big Hawk, however, is a heretic, trying to make its own path—and using a drug that rejects the will of Demis in the process. Now, of course, all of this isn't to say that the demons we've seen so far aren't evil (they certainly are), however, it seems more and more clear that it is Demis and its worldly agents that are the true villains. I mean, without Blessings, who's to say there would even be a war between humankind and demons at all?

Rating:

Random Thoughts:

• I love that Rit and Red are able to keep it in their pants once they remember they have a kid in the house. It makes them seem like real people dealing with a real issue in a responsible way.

• I like that Zoltan is like the worst place to start a revolution as people aren't being oppressed nor do they really care about the outside world.

• I assume the effects of the drug aren't permanent—that Big Hawk just drugged up Ademi in case Al wouldn't kill him.

• I get that the character resolution of the episode is Red choosing life with Rit over being a hero. However, I feel it's kind of a false conflict. The real conflict is, once he knows what Ruti is going through without him, will he really be able to continue his slow life with Rit?

• Not sure I understand Big Hawk's Demon's Plan by going to Ruti... and I understand even less why Albert is okay with it.

• Can Ruti even have a talk with a demon? Like would her Blessing even allow that?

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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