Episode 20

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Plunderer ?

“In which a new villain rises and is handily defeated”

This episode is filled with revelations about the past and dangers lurking in the near future. But really, the episode as a whole is about the fine line between being a hero and a villain.

While Jail has been on a constant, personal journey—refining what it means to be a true hero with each challenge he encounters—Licht has remained static. He believes just what he believed 300 years ago: that if killing is needed he will do it all himself to spare those he cares about. Once all enemies are dead, his loved ones will be able to live in peace.

Of course, this overlooks one important thing: this strategy doesn't work in practice. 300 years back he killed every enemy and won the war—only to be turned against his friends. He struck down Tokikaze and left all his friends to eventually kill themselves to feed the next generation in the world below. His killing in the war did not save them nor prevent them from suffering grievous emotional wounds.

Yet, Licht refuses to learn from his mistakes—to see that the idea behind the no-killing army was for the whole class to share the load, not to sit back while one man unilaterally decides to carry the burdens himself.

And so, Licht sets off on his revenge quest—his mission to destroy the world his late friends were sacrificed to create. As a first step, he decides to separate from his companions, thinking that being away from him will keep them safe.

He starts by pushing Hina away in the same basic way he always does: by trying to make her hate him. This time, instead of sexual harassment, though, he points out that he killed her father. And just in case that emotional revelation isn't enough, he spikes everyone's drinks to knock them out so he can make his escape. There's just one problem. Tranquilizers don't work on Jail Murdoch.

And it's in the following conversation that the truth becomes clear. Licht is not the hero of this story—at least, not as he is now. He is the villain. And so Jail must rise up against him.

While Jail clearly believes that the people responsible for the evils behind the country must be punished, he is not willing to simply slaughter his way to the top and send a nation of innocents crashing into the Earth below. Jail, for all his bluster about being friendless, cares for his companions—as well as all the people of this world. Killing the ignorant privileged to save the suffering and downtrodden is not justice—nor is getting such bloody revenge for the sake of friends long gone. He will not stand for it.

Even then, instead of fighting, Jail attempts to talk Licht down—pointing out the flaws in his line of thinking. But Licht refuses to face the fact that his actions 300 years ago were a mistake—that including his friends rather than shunning them was the real way to prevent their final tragedy from happening. He clings to his sunk-cost fallacy even as Jail tells him in no uncertain terms that if he continues down this path, he will find Jail there to stop him.

Of course, he never gets that far. What Licht seems to forget is that, even as he killed in the war, he had companions by his side: the other Aces. They helped and supported him on the battlefield. Alone, he is vulnerable—even more so when he is up against one of them. Caught off guard, Licht finds himself easily defeated by Doan. After all, Licht is far from the only villain in this story.


Random Thoughts:

• And now we know why Hina is the only person born in the future to have a Japanese name.

• Hina's mother is Licht and Tokikaze's childhood friend. But Licht's words seem to suggest she wasn't an Ace (at least, not one he knew about). Are there other ways to live 300 years we don't know about?

• If Tokikaze died 300 years ago, how can he be Hina's father?

• As a child of an Ace, does that make Hina an Ace as well? Does she have latent Schmerman powers?

• Boy, Hina's MacGuffin—i.e., the ballot her mom gave her—sure got real important all of a sudden, didn't it?

• The fact that the Althea creation vote needs to be reconfirmed puts a time crunch on this whole thing while also explaining how the helicopter was able to make it to the world above.

• Does the “King” actually have any real power? Cuz it seems to me like Schmerman and his secret police are really the ones running things.

Plunderer 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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