Banished From The Heroes' Party
Episode 9

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Banished From The Heroes' Party ?
Community score: 4.5

This week's episode is a fun one with Ruti and Tisse's misadventures in the frontier—punctuated by some slow life romance moments between Rit and Red. But in my mind that is all overshadowed by what we learn about the Demon Blessing drug—and the world altering implications that stem from its existence.

In simple terms, the Demon Blessing drug gives the user a second Blessing (that of an axe demon). Each dose you take lowers your original Blessing level by one and levels up the axe demon Blessing by one.

The reason this is so amazing has to do with how leveling up works in this world. To level up, a person must kill monsters (or people) with a Blessing around the same level or higher—regardless of whether they are a warrior or a farmer. Thus, for people to become truly strong—like the heroes' party—they must travel the world going to ever more dangerous places to level up. Of course, this simply isn't practical for most people. They have neither the time nor money and so they never leave their tiny villages. Thus, they can only grow to be the same level as the monsters in the surrounding area. In other words, the safer the area you live in, the less skilled you are at whatever your Blessing is.

This is why using the drug would be a total game changer on a societal level. By lowering your level, you could just stay in one place, killing the same weak monsters. Then when the drug is out of your system, you'd be way overleveled. This would mean, for example, that doctors and herbalists in small, safe towns could be as skilled as those in much more dangerous areas (making for a healthcare revolution). Likewise, soldiers and guards could train in relative safety killing rats and bunnies—maxing out their Blessings before even having to face real combat.

But there are three big issues with this drug. The first is the side effect that plagued Zoltan. Once there are more levels in axe demon than in the original Blessing, the axe demon curse hits and causes a person to go berserk. The second is that it tampers with your Blessing in general—something deemed holy and given by god. In a world where faith is strong and the church is a major entity, it's easy to see how this could become a major sticking point. The last issue is simply that it gives free will back to the people who use it. After all, we see in this very episode what happens to a person with a strong Blessing when they are let off the leash for the first time.

Ruti, free from the Hero's Blessing, is cute, earnest, and completely amoral. Now, that's not to say she is evil—she's not. However, while normal people have to learn morals and empathy through experience growing up, Ruti was literally controlled by her Blessing to make her act noble, good, and law-abiding from the very start. She never had to learn the hard way why such things are important. Of course, it's not like Ruti is going to go on a mindless killing spree or anything but she has no second thoughts about abandoning her mission to save the world, stealing the party's airship, stranding her party members in a desert, or breaking a person responsible for the deaths of many people out of jail. To her, only two things are important: gaining the means to maintain her free will indefinitely (i.e., getting more of the drug) and being reunited with her brother.

Luckily, she has Tisse—and while the cute little assassin may be terrified out of her mind most of the time—it's clear that Ruti listens to her opinions and values her as a friend. Tisse is basically Ruti's conscience—keeping her from doing major harm or exposing herself for what she truly is (though admittedly to varying degrees of success). What's interesting now is that Ruti and Tisse had basically set themselves up to avoid Red (not knowing who he was). And while Ruti and Red's reunion will no doubt be a joyous one, the question remains on where he will stand on the whole drug issue—or if she'll even decide to let him in on what she is doing and why. Either way, I can't wait to see how things unfold.


Random Thoughts:

• So, it seems as if there is a civil war within the demons with the current Demon King going against his or her Blessing. This throws everything into confusion about who the “bad guys” actually are.

• I wonder if the drug was originally developed so that the Demon King could power level before facing the hero—but upon gaining free will through it, the Demon King decided to go rogue.

• The contract demon sealed its own fate the moment it said it was trying to make everything follow the will of god. Ruti is the last person who would agree to help with that—hence why she kills it once she has free will.

• Tossing away the hero's medal, the very proof that she is the destined hero... is there any clearer way for her to tell the world that she is not the hero, she is just plain old Ruti now?

• I like that the question is left open ended as to whether, with her Hero Blessing leveled down, she will be able to resist the axe demon curse or not.

• I also like that, due to how leveled up she is, we know there is no immediate danger of her going axe crazy. However, with each dose she takes, the possibility raises little by little.

• Tisse's inner monologue is pure gold. It's a nice touch that her skill to hide her true feelings is so good even Ruti can't tell—subtly reminding us that Tisse is at least somewhat near the hero's level in power.

• Mr. Crawley Wawly continues to be best girl.

• I love that Rit is totally thrown off her game when Red is hitting on her instead of the other way around.

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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