by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 11 of
In which our new hero faces his first big challenge.
Alright, let's get this out of the way from the start. After two episodes of little-to-no fanservice, it returns in an over-the-top and completely gratuitous fashion: the entire female cast (sans Hina) is groped by the abyssal hands for almost their entire screen time with little in the way of explanation. Played for laughs, the situation raises so many questions about what the hands are, how they work, and how they've acted so far that it's staggering (see the Random Thoughts section for more). Now, granted, I'm generally take-it-or-leave-it when it comes to fanservice in general but watching it interfere with the plot and world-building to this extent is truly disappointing as it detracts from what would be an otherwise fantastic episode.
Putting the fanservice aside, the meat of the episode is once again centered around Jail and him taking up the mantle of a true hero. Summoned to the capital, he is ordered to meet with the Supreme Commander of the army. Their conversation does two things.
First, it fleshes out a bit more about the military state that rules the world. It lets us know it is ruled by a queen and, like any good totalitarian regime, has its own secret police that are completely above the law and exist outside of the normal military chain-of-command.
The second thing we learn is of a personal nature: we get a brief introduction to Jail's past. Jail was an orphan that was adopted by a loving—perhaps overly so—father: the Supreme Commander of the army himself. And while Jail insists on drawing a line between their personal and professional relationships, it seems clear that he does hold affection and gratitude towards his adoptive father.
However, Jail has changed since the last time he stood before his father and has become a hero in his own right—following his own moral compass instead of the orders he has been handed. Thus, when pressed about the situation, Jail stands firm in the knowledge that what he did was right.
At this point, we see that Jail made it part of his internal conviction to never lie. Yet, he now realizes that lying is sometimes the right thing to do. So he doesn't hesitate to lie to keep Licht and the others safe, even as the lie is exposed by his dropping count. His father's anger and exasperation isn't enough to deter Jail from his new path. Yet it is here that Jail faces his first real challenge as a new hero: a hostage situation.
The secret police had a man inside Jail's troops that knows exactly what went down. So through his father, they offer Jail a deal: he turns over Licht to them and they won't murder all of Jail's subordinates for attacking the abyssal hands two episodes back.
Seeing no way out, Jail returns to where Licht and the others are hiding out to do the dirty deed. He tries to pretend that it isn't bothering him to do this—that it is the right thing to do but his decreasing count shows the lie. Licht, for one, accepts his fate—not wanting the deaths of Lynn, Pele, and the others on his hands. Meanwhile, the girls attempt to stop Jail—Sonohara pointing out that in the long run, Licht will just be drugged and used as a tool of oppression, killing many more than just Jail's small squad—but Jail simply restrains them.
It's Nana that talks some sense into him—punctuated by a slap across the face. She presents him with a third option beyond “give Licht over” or “let his men die”: step up, fight the world, and protect everyone with his own power—to be the hero the people need him to be.
It's important to note that this isn't the first time that Nana has stood up to Jail. In retrospect, it's clear she has seen in him her idealized version of what Licht was before his fall—a fall she has a hard time accepting. Thus she has worked to guide Jail on his path—mostly by challenging his BS when needed. Jail, whether consciously or not, realizes this and so takes her words to heart, gaining new resolve to continue down the righteous path.
And in return, Nana puts her faith in him—and in the others who, for the first time in 300 years have broken through to Licht and started to help him heal from his mental scars. She reveals that she too is a legendary ace and that her power is time travel—sending the party sans her, Licht, and Sonohara 300 years into the past… to modern-day Japan where they encounter a young Sonohara and a black-haired boy with all-to-familiar eyes.
Bum, Bum, BUUUUUUUUUUUM!
• The molesting hands run away from Jail knowing he won't stand for their bullshit.
• So Nana's real count is on her face—likely covered by makeup normally. Therefore, the one on her chest is likely a tattoo—hence why it never changes despite her job and supposed calling. And it's kind of brilliant: How better to make sure no one looks too closely at your face than to distract people with your chest.
• Sonohara, despite being a fellow Ace, doesn't recognize Nana—until she hears her name.
• Questions Raised by This Week's Fanservice Bomb:
✘ Are the abyssal hands conscious?
✘ Do they have a will?
✘ Can they be reasoned with?
✘ Is this constant molestation the hands getting their own revenge on those who interfered with them or is Licht somehow controlling the hands at this point?
✘ Why is Hina left out? Is it really due to her bust size (that hasn't bothered the hands in the past) or is it perhaps because Licht has truly come to like her and can't bring himself to push her away by molesting her.
Plunderer is currently streaming on FUNimation.
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