Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
Episode 20

by Gabriella Ekens,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul ?

As Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul heads into its final stretch, I think it's fair to say that the plot has gone to hell a bit. Our heroes are heading back to heaven for some reason, have to fight a dragon out of nowhere, and face a setback that I don't think anyone could have predicted. Well, that's not entirely accurate – Mugaro was probably going to be incapacitated somehow before the final battle. I just didn't see it happening like this. However, I also didn't see Alessand's characterization paying off like this. I thought that the writers had made him an unlikable shitweasel by accident, but now it might have all been on purpose! I still don't think it was a good idea, and it's notable that the show's writing has reached the point where I have to wonder how much of the unpleasant stuff they're doing deliberately.

At least this episode starts out with a pretty cool fight. The mercenary that Mr. Onyx Knight Guy hired to take out Nina turns out to be another Dragonkin, so they get into a cool dragon fight with really good animation and it's awesome. Nina gets schooled, but then Azazel and Sophiel show up to wreck Mr. Dragon's face so bad that he dies. I'm actually kind of sad about that last bit – this could have been a neat conflict for Nina if it were introduced earlier in the show. Mr. Dragon disparages Nina for being a half-breed, and it appears that some dragonfolk don't care for her village's assimilation of humans. But it's too late to explore that angle, because now he's dead.

The good news is that Nina has finally started to address the fact that her beloved is a colossal jerkwad. Unfortunately, it's still not due to any acknowledgement of the horrible things that he did. Onyx Knight Guy tells Nina that Charioce was only ever fooling around with her – which we know isn't true – and she takes it to heart. That was the last straw. All the same, I'm just thirsty for some disillusionment on Nina's part. As I have said many times before, it's just not believable for Nina (as established at the beginning of the show) to be blind to another person's flaws to this extent. This all culminates in a pretty good moment where we see her shed her cheery demeanor for what feels like the first time. She breaks down crying in that moonlit crater place where everyone seems to go to have emotional moments, then throws away the pendant Charioce gave her. When Mugaro approaches her however, Nina swallows her tears and puts on another smile, indicating that her constant peppiness is a mask to some extent. Once again, this is a neat bit of character writing that would have worked better had it come earlier in the show. It's a bit too late to try and give Nina a character arc beyond whatever outcome results from her relationship with Charioce.

Mugaro and his surrounding relationships continue to contain all of the show's best character writing. This week, Bacchus confronts Mugaro's savior complex, stating that Mugaro was born as a gift from his father to his mother, rather than the means to some divine end. Bacchus has no actual insight into this, of course, but it's certainly a more healthy way for Mugaro to think. Mugaro decides to go back to heaven so that he can apologize to Gabriel, and he even shares a tearful goodbye with Azazel. Unfortunately, all this sweetness is cut short by Alessand stabbing the little kid in the gut. Apparently he decided that he'd made a mistake in tagging along with the good guys, so he decides to cut his losses to defect to the Onyx Knights instead. Mugaro's death will likely ensure his acceptance into their order and make up for his betrayal at the ball earlier. What a heel.

So yeah, boo Alessand. I never liked the guy. The good news is that Mugaro is almost certainly not dead for real. It'd be pretty crippling for the show to kill off the cute little kid (who is also the best character) at this stage in the game just for shock value. Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul's writing can get pretty iffy, but it's not that bad (yet). Otherwise, the final showdown appears imminent, seeing as Charioce is about to unlock the ultimate something-something. Apparently whatever he's doing involves magic left behind by the continent's original inhabitants, who disappeared when the gods and demons took over. I guess those people would be dragons, seeing as the Dromos's power resembles Bahamut? It's also kind of neat that the gods/demons are revealed as colonialists who suppressed the area's native culture, even if it means yet more underutilized ideas. That's kind of the name of the game for Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul at this point, but I can't say there isn't anything left keeping me entertained. Mostly I'm holding out hope for a bombastic conclusion, and maybe Alessand getting righteously murdered.

Grade: B

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

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

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