Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
Episode 16

by Gabriella Ekens,

How would you rate episode 16 of
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul ?

In the second half of this two-parter, Nina's stay in the realm of the gods ends with a familiar event for her and for us - a prison break. Only this time, she's not the one trying to evade captivity. Rather, it's Mugaro who's trying to get the hell (heaven?) out of dodge, having grown impatient with Gabriel and resolved to fix the world by himself. Unfortunately, since Nina, Bacchus, and Hansa are supposed to be watching him, his sudden absence will get them in a load of trouble, and they're forced to give chase. Following some yakety sax antics, Mugaro is put in a position where he can either escape or let Nina fall to her death. He chooses to save her and almost gets fried for it, but fortunately Bacchus swoops in to catch the two with his chariot and even manages to outrun the fuzz in the process. In the end, they head out to the capital to try and set things straight once and for all.

The main emotional thrust of these events is that Mugaro finally stops acting so weirdly withdrawn. He's been distant ever since he got his angel powers, but Nina's near-death experience seems to have snapped him out of that funk. The poor kid just doesn't want to see anyone he loves get hurt. Aww. He's had way too much responsibility put on his shoulders all of a sudden, and it looks like he was putting on a brave face to try and live up to it. I'm glad to have the old Mugaro back. Meanwhile, Nina finally starts having some serious reservations about Charioce. It's in a dream sequence, so who knows how seriously the show will take it, but I'm glad that they're starting to emphasize the conflict she should be feeling in this situation. She's in love infatuated with a genocidal warmonger who's trying to kill people she cares about. Sure he's pretty, but not enough to make up for that kind of conflict. We also get a little more information on Bacchus – apparently, he was kicked out of heaven for having a relationship with a human woman. If this is true, it complicates his implied past relationship with Sophiel. I wonder if some drama went down, or if there's something else that we still don't know about the situation. Either way, I wonder how it will be brought back into the story at this point. I doubt that Bacchus's romantic history will be the key to stopping Charioce's deathly ambitions, although we don't know anything about Charioce's paternity yet, do we? Hmmmmm… (That's just a joke. Mostly.)

The B plot this week is – of course – another escape attempt. It's finally time for Azazel to return as a dignified member of the cast, but first he has to get beaten up by Kaisar. Not that the dude hasn't had it coming. Azazel never really got his comeuppance for killing Kaisar's papa all those years back, and with Kaisar's victory (and subsequent mercy) it looks like the two are now even. Anyway, this performative gladiatorial match sets the stage for their getaway, courtesy of Favaro and Rita. Rita once again saves everyone's stupid ass (with a little help from Rocky), and this half of the cast is at long last united. Azazel does act like he's not joining the group for a hot second, but then he gives up immediately. C'mon bro, it's time to get the party together. Your tight ass is a vital part of things to come.

Just in terms of the production, Kaisar and Charioce's duel stands out as one of the season's highlights so far. It's more well-shot and choreographed than pristinely animated, but that still makes for a strong action scene. It helps that it was anchored to some of the show's strongest emotional material. Kaisar and Azazel's beef was a big part of the first season, and while it hasn't been mentioned in dialogue since then, it has played out as an undercurrent in their interactions. I'd have preferred a few more explicit callbacks, but I'm mostly just glad that the events of the first season are being brought up at all. (Amira? Who's that?)

And with that, our heroes are finally en route to forming a concentrated force against Charioce. It looks like Jeanne's staying behind for now, but I'm sure that she'll find her way into the action whenever she becomes necessary. Overall, this was a fun episode with some decent yuks (I particularly like Nina's attempt at flight), character moments, and action set pieces. I look forward to the building climax – it's been a good time so far, but I want to see this show really let loose, or at least try to top the first season's four-way free-for-all against Bahamut. Only this time, it should be the entire cast beating up Charioce. Including Nina. Take that, Murderboy.

Grade: B

Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.

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