by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Killing Bites ?
Last episode promised an all-out action fest to come, and for the most part that's exactly what we get this week. Unfortunately, many of the common hang-ups of shonen action series come into play, holding the episode back from being a true spectacle.
But first let's get to the good stuff. The big revelation this episode is that reptilian-based Brutes have secondary transformations that are much more extensive (and inhuman) than mammalian-based Brutes. This allows Brute Cobra to turn into the form seen in the screenshot, though apparently not every reptilian Brute is happy about such a transformation; Brute Gecko is reluctant to use her secondary form because of how ugly it is, for instance. After seeing it, I can't disagree with her, even if it is a rather inventive look. That would seem to give reptilian Brutes a distinct advantage in battle, with only an unpleasant disposition as an apparent negative, so I have to assume that there's some kind of balancing advantage on the mammalian side that we haven't seen yet.
The second big revelation is that Dr. Shido – the person Hitomi admires - is directly responsible for the shady characters filtering into the Therianthrope scene, and not everyone is happy about that. The series has given other indications that the tournaments were once a more honor-driven affair, which is confirmed by the woman who advised Yuya last episode, the player for Ichinosuke (aka Brute Hippo). She offered helpful words not just because they're allies but because she approved of Yuya's action in moving Hitomi to Ezura's aid; she sees it as being more in the spirit of the game, and perhaps she can't tolerate that Brute Cobra creep either. Shido also apparently has a powerful enemy in the Sumitomo head, as he's specifically gunning for Shido's newest creations. It makes me wonder about the ever-reticent Shido's motivations, and I hope they don't come down to just “in the interest of research.”
This all sets up some pretty good action scenes that involve more sustained and complicated movement alongside the usual array of special tricks and power moves, such as Brute Cobra's poisonous mist. Getting to see Ichinosuke actually do something cool is also a treat. The series wouldn't be appealing without all sorts of creative applications of animal traits, complete with narrator commentary and the now-standard pattern of reversals. Even if it gets predictable sometimes, it's still a fun watch, and at least Brute Cobra finally gets his comeuppance. Ui also gets a brief scene where we see her merrily tunneling away, though to what purpose (other than staying out of trouble) is hard to say.
But the annoying aspects of the series are still present too. I'll stop ragging on Announcer Girl for now, as I think I've already made my ongoing irritation with her clear enough. No, what bothers me more this week is the standard practice of interminably dragging out fights by mixing in all sorts of side distractions. The Gecko/Cobra vs. Cheetah/Ratel battle has now been going on for an episode and a half without end, and with few Brutes eliminated so far, the Destroyal doesn't feel like it's even near a middle point, much less a conclusion. At the rate it's going, the Destroyal could compose most of the rest of the season. This would be good for a longer series, but I'm not convinced that a single-cour series can afford this kind of pacing.
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