to the abandoned Sacred Beasts
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 9 of
to the abandoned Sacred Beasts ?
Another episode, another featured Incarnate. Only this time it's not a one-and-done fight. Roy, aka the Incarnate Garm (named after the dog who guards Hel's gate in Norse mythology), is well beyond Hank's ability to handle at this point. Hank is too physically and mentally exhausted to defeat him without help; even his werewolf form isn't good enough because his own tortured soul is holding him down. Furthermore, now he's dealing with an Incarnate who isn't out of his mind. Unlike the previous non-Cain cases that Hank or Schaal have dealt with, Roy has all of his mental faculties intact and a specific purpose he's pursuing that isn't a lingering obsession from wartime. He has fully bought into Cain's rhetoric and regards Hank's promise as a thing of the past. He's also an offensive melee fighter who could probably give Hank a run for his money even if Hank were healthy, so he makes for the most formidable non-Cain challenge yet. Despite that, he seems reluctant to kill Hank outright; perhaps he seeks a kindred soul or still respects Hank as a commander. Whatever the case, Hank falling into the ravine at the end of the episode while Roy fends off Coup de Grace is surely not going to keep them from facing off again.
The rest of the episode focuses on Schaal and, to a lesser extent, Claude. The parts about Claude and how he's worked himself into the sick bed with his driving ambition to eliminate Incarnates aren't that interesting, as he's just not that compelling a character. Likewise, Liza's efforts to tease him are as incongruous for the story's overall tone as ever. While Claude does serve a purpose in this scenario, the less time spent on him, the better. He does at least make a proper foil for Schaal's more sympathetic views on the Incarnates. The observation she makes to Claude about the Incarnates is important, if flawed; perhaps amicable human contact, being accepted rather than rejected by those around them, can be the key to keeping them from losing their way. The problem with this viewpoint is that her own father lost his mind despite having that contact with Schaal, so perhaps another element is needed for them to recover, like greater capacity for two-way communication. The one Incarnate so far who did have both of those factors – the Siren – was doing better for as long as she had them, and I suppose you could say that Cain's minions have each other. Somehow I don't think she's going to get many opportunities to test that theory while Claude's still around.
By comparison, the short but bloody battle sequences show that action scenes are never going to be a strong point for this series, due to both staging and an inconsistent animation effort. Visual flaws are still commonplace outside of the action as well, though they're not as prevalent as in some earlier episodes. On the whole, this was a workmanlike installment that moves the story along without doing much that excites.
to the abandoned Sacred Beasts is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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