Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
Episode 9

by Gabriella Ekens,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul ?

Following the disaster that was Azazel's attempted rebellion, our heroes have pretty much all been thrown in the pokey. Luckily, they run into old friends who have been there for a while, making this whole thing more like a high school reunion than a state-sanctioned punishment. Of course, the biggest deal is the reappearance of Favaro, the first season's protagonist and Kaisar's old best-friend-cum-nemesis-cum-best friend again. (Unfortunately, it turns out that his hair and beard don't wrap around his hair like a donut - it just looked that way in poor lighting.) The two get down to some jailhouse talk, in which Favaro explains his acquaintance with Nina.

One day, Favaro stopped by the dragonfolk village for some drinks and barmaid flirting. A young Nina spotted him and immediately wanted to become a bounty hunter, for some reason. She badgered him into training her, so he did, and then he left. I'm honestly a little disappointed by this account of her training – it was cute, but it's the most basic version of the Nina/Favaro relationship imaginable, and I would've preferred that it come alongside some sort of revelation. While it was charming, it was also a lot of screentime spent on a version of their relationship I could have extrapolated from much less. This flashback also tells us that Nina doesn't see Favaro's luscious locks of love as a turn on, which, c'mon girl. Maybe she'll grow some taste for afros as she gets older?

On our heroine's side, getting thrown in prison has only exacerbated Nina's relentlessly cheery attitude. Based on how effortlessly she lugs around that ball-and-chain, my bet is that she can escape whenever she wants, so she's only hanging around because that's where they've put her for now. The upside to this situation is that it puts her in touch with Jeanne. The former saint has been having a rough few years, to say the least. Her selflessness is still present (as seen when she protects her fellow inmates from guards' abuses), but she looks pretty defeated overall, spending all of her cell time in prayer. She snaps out of this, however, when Nina chats her up, inadvertently revealing her son's location. That's right – Mugaro is a boy, so Azazel won that bet. (Not that he didn't look adorable in that dress.) Jeanne asks Nina to help her bust out and save Mugaro, and boom, we have the next episode's plot. Their success is assured since Rita's on her way to break them out personally, and Rita has never failed at anything in her (un)life.

In miscellaneous scenes, Gabriel has decided to jumpstart Mugaro's godhood. Some sort of ritual is involved, so I doubt that it will be any good for him. Realizing this, Sophiel decides to set him free. Besides this, there's also an extended scene with two characters so minor that I don't think I've even had to mention them until this point – Kaisar's subordinates Dias and Alessand. They've been showing up every once in a while as setup for a subplot that hasn't really gone anywhere yet. For the most part, Alessand is kind of an insolent wannabe, while Dias babysits him. This week, they go visit Ye Olde Hostess Club (full of demon girls), where Alessand gets it into his head that he's the new leader of the Orleans Knights. The best part of this scene is that it brings back everyone's favorite character design, Cerberus, the hot demon girl with two yapping puppies for hands. God bless you, Rage of Bahamut.

Overall, I think I'm still reeling from the festival's decompression-to-the-point-of-anticlimax. This slower episode based on patching up holes in the backstory would have worked better after a concentrated week of action and story reversals. Still, it's better than the last two weeks in that the pacing is back to normal for the show. (Slow, but not excessively so.) They also introduced a few holes in character motivation that I'd prefer get patched up. For example, why exactly was Nina so set on becoming a bounty hunter? Why did Sophiel take pity on Mugaro after eight episodes spent working towards the boy's capture? Why was Favaro captured by those mysterious black knights? Does Charioce not want the hero who saved the world from Bahamut around for some reason? Also, I have to dock some points for not including either Hansa or Rocky. My needs are simple, and they're every episode must include either a sentient severed hand or the talking duck, if not both. I'll be lenient this time, but Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul better fix this particular issue quick.

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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