Assassins threaten the Cardinal’s secret meeting, and Jiv worries about Gayus’ safety.
Gayus and Gigina had a nasty encounter with Nidvorg, a gravity mage with a revenge kick. They had to escape to the sewers, and hid out in a magic shop overnight. When he returns home the following morning, Gayus’ girlfriend Jivenya draws him a bath. She relays to him just how worried she is. He’s a combat mage. If that weren’t enough, there’s a serial killer going after combat mages. She’s completely unaware that he and Gigina already fought the killer, but that doesn’t mean she could handle it if Gayus died on her. After he gets the sewer smell off, Gayus meets Gigina at the Cardinal’s hotel. The Cardinal has arranged to have tea with someone, and the boys are along to guard him. After a brief and childish comedy act, they escort him to the locale: an old church. The group awaits the cardinal’s contact, and Gayus takes a moment to have a theological conversation with the Cardinal. His primary argument against religion is the classic one. If there were gods, why would they allow bad things to happen? The Cardinal’s only response is that religion gives people purpose. Don’t mess with the faith, because people need it. Well, that isn’t compelling enough reason. The tea-time friend arrives. He’s the leader of the democratic party for the seven kingdoms. Wow. This isn’t just tea, this is an important negotiation. Likely about that controversial Dragon Treaty.
As the two meet, Gayus notices that the guards outside the building are missing. Strange. He looks out in the hall. Bloody stains. Ninja’s erupt into the hall, using magic to summon throwing blades. Our heroes block the path to the Cardinal, confining the battle to the main chapel. The battle is intense, and Gayus takes a brutal hit to the chest, but they drive the assassins off. All that’s left is their boss, the shadow that has been convening with both the Cardinal and his rivals in the church. She claims that she’s fighting for the Kouga ninja clan’s honor, and she’s got some nasty projectile magic. Gayus takes her ultimate attack head on with a spell of his own…
And wakes up in a hospital. Jiv has been waiting for him to come to, and immediately crumbles into a puddle of tears.
Well, this episode wasn’t horrible. It just wasn’t exciting until the battle. The entire scene of Gayus and Gigina mocking each other was completely unnecessary, both from a narrative and entertainment sense. If they were trying to be funny, it failed. If they were trying to display the relationship between the two characters, it was superfluous. It just used up time, which could have been used for other things. The discussion with the Cardinal was lackluster, either revealing that he doesn’t have much faith himself, or that the writers just don’t know how to write for such a character. These scenes are also animated rather poorly. The characters don’t express themselves physically, which means that the little amount of emotion we get from the voice actors sounds out of place. The exception to all of this is the scene with Jiv at the beginning. While I thought she was a bit character when she first appeared, I’m growing to like her character. She isn’t just a sex object, but she has desires and isn’t afraid to go for them. She’s got a mind of her own and isn’t just an extension of Gayus.
Once the action hits, we have a bit more to watch. Not only do we get better visuals, but the characters actually emote. The brief flashback, while he was knocked out, was loaded with amazing animation. The camera angles are more dynamic and compelling. The voice actors don’t change how expressive they are, but at least it feels like it fits the way the characters look. The second half of the episode is just… better.
This plot arc is developing quite slowly, and not because they are being subtle. It feels like they are just wasting time with unnecessary conversations. Conversations that could build these characters are so boring and meaningless that they end up being bland trudges. We get it, Gayus is a pragmatic character with a drunken streak. You don’t need to have a convo every episode to emphasize it.
This series has issues with its plot development, and seems to rely on its action to keep people hooked. That may have worked in older shows, but it doesn't play today. Still, slightly better animation than I was expecting give the episode a boost. I give the episode seven ninja assassins out of ten.