to the abandoned Sacred Beasts
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 6 of
to the abandoned Sacred Beasts ?
In my review of episode 5, I completely missed pointing out that the episode deviates from the source manga in one important way. In the manga, it was Schaal, not Hank, who landed the take-down shot on Gargoyle. By relegating that duty to Hank, the anime takes a slightly different slant than the source material. My guess is that this change was made to impact a scene that should be coming up in a couple more episodes, so we'll have to wait a while to see if this change is for the better or not.
This is also important to episode 6, which features even more radical changes to the source material. The essence of the story remains the same: Hank has been invited to a party hosted by Cain, with Schaal as the bait to lure him there. Schaal has not been harmed while dealing with the spider-woman Elizabeth, though she does get forcibly gussied up to emphasize her striking beauty. The purpose of the party is to thank rich folk disgruntled enough by the way the war was handled to fund Cain's efforts to recruit more Incarnates, then kill off those benefactors before Hank's eyes. When Cain's spiel about essentially taking charge of their situation isn't enough to win Hank over, Cain shoots Schaal to provoke him into his ultimate destructive form. It's all standard evil mastermind scheming, and the utter lack of originality in this plan is easily the biggest drag on the series yet.
Beyond that, however, there are substantial deviations from the source. Originally, Hank reunites with Liza and goes to the party with her, with both dressed up in finery. In this version, Hank never meets with Liza because she's otherwise occupied and instead just goes to the party in his standard clothing, which thankfully gets commented on as being out of place by another attendee. In the original, Hank meets Schaal at the party before Cain's speech, but he does not see her in the anime until Cain pulls her out to shoot her; so now her being dressed up makes less sense. There's a more dramatic change in the earlier introduction of Captain Claude Withers and his Incarnate Execution Squad. In the manga, this unit was formed in response to the Whitechurch incident rather than participating in it, and Claude specifically being Cain's younger brother (in the manga he only reveals that he has a relative who is an Incarnate) didn't come up until much later. This early arrival has been foreshadowed since at least episode 2, so at least the anime did lay the groundwork for the alteration. However, it does move the time frame of the story up considerably, so I am now curious to see what other changes this anime will make in the next couple of episodes to compensate.
Either way, the combination of Schaal getting shot and Hank being driven into his ultimate giant wolf form makes for one hell of a mid-season climax, which is complemented by the revelation that Cain is so extremely difficult to kill that he can even survive his top half getting completely blown away. (I'm guessing that nothing short of a Godkiller bullet will take him down.) The animation and battle choreography is good enough to make it look impressive, even if the equipment the Extermination Squad uses borders on corny, so this episode comes out mildly positive overall.
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