Talk about a come-from-behind victory!
The big match kicks off with Kiba versus Beluga Furcus. Beluga fights from horseback, and uses a lance along with his power to create clones. Kiba counters this with an unseen Balance Breaker that he acquired: Glory Drag Trooper. This is the normal Balance Breaker for the Blade Blacksmith Sacred Gear. He creates a bunch of armored troops that can copy his movements, and wield his swords. In a dashing burst, Kiba takes Beluga down. 1-0 for Gremory!
Next battle, It’s Koneko and Rossweise versus Balam and Crocell. Other than Crocell’s Knight status, everyone else here prescribes to Rooks Quarterly, so get ready to see people take a pounding. Balam’s rocky skin makes him the tank of the party, while Crocell’s ability to affect the local gravity of whatever he looks at gives him an advantage. While Koneko beats the tar out of Balam, Rossweise sits in Crocell’s sights. She casts a spell at him, knowing full well that he’d reflect it. Turns out, the spell was a teleport spell, and when it bounced off Crocell’s shield, it hit Balam. This frees the girls up to punish the enemy team. With their last breath, Crocell and Balam take a final shot to take out Koneko. The next round’s fighters aren’t chosen in secret, however…
Sairaorg announces that he’s sending in Coreana Adrealphus, who supposedly has the perfect way to counter Issei. Ever the
idiot optimist, Issei takes the challenge. The two of them head off to the battlefield, and Coreana reveals her special skill… by revealing her decolletage! She starts stripping, which takes advantage of Issei’s perverted nature to paralyze him by draining all the blood from his brain! One little mistake, however: When she gets down to the lingerie, she begins taking it off the panties first! This enrages the Grabbin’ Dragon, and he chastises her with a magic blast. Unfortunately for her, she just bent over and showed off her larboard side as the shot hits. Uh-oh, indeed! Yeah, she’s out of the fight.
The next fight is Gasper and Xenovia versus Bune and Misteeta. Bune has the power to turn into a brown dragon, while Misteeta uses her Sacred Gear to seal Xenovia’s Ex-Durandal’s power. Gasper takes her aside and uses a spell he made to break the curse. Problem is, it takes a while to take effect. While it does so, Gasper heads out to distract the enemy… as a dhampir-turned-punching bag! Still, no mater how much Bune piles on the hurt, the tiny transvestite keeps coming back for more. Then, when the time is right, he freezes the enemy with his eyes. This leaves the enemy wide open for a finishing blow from Ex-Durandal while Gasper fades back to the bench. The fight at least takes longer than the next, where Sairaorg’s Queen, Kuisha Abbadon, takes out Akeno in a single move, reflecting Akeno’s lightning blasts back at her.
Sixth match, and the roll allows Sairaorg to jump in to the fray. Rather than send Issei as we would think, the team instead sends Rossweise, Xenovia, and Kiba. They have no delusions that they can actually win, but they plan to wear him down enough to give Issei a chance. Can they do it? The score is 6-3 in favor of Gremory, but the big boy hungers for battle!
This episode sated my hunger for combat from the show. It wasn’t high-octane, but the fights were thoroughly entertaining in their own unique way. The highlights for me were the second and fourth fights, where tactics played a bigger role. Further, I liked how Gasper showed personal growth in this episode by applying Issei’s advice. He showed incredible determination, and won it for the team, where before he would have turned tail. I find it gratifying to see a little guy take such a lead role in taking down big enemies.
I do want to take a moment to talk about the fight against Coreana. I’ve not hidden my disdain towards blatant fanservice. So, how do I feel about this fight? I… actually have no problem with it. Yeah, it’s blatant. She gets far enough that she’s about to show her naughty bits, and the sequence goes on for a while. However, this fight has a purpose. Not much of one, mind you. The point is to present Issei’s weakness, which is the same as his strength. He’s pervy. This isn’t unlike the typical trope of Phlebotinum Overdose, where somebody throws more of your power source at you than you can handle. In this case, though tough for a straight-laced guy like me to watch, this sequence makes actual sense, and leads to a humorous enough end that I excuse it.
With only a couple episodes left in the season, I’m glad that the animation hasn’t dropped at all in this one. I didn’t notice any errors throughout, and the voices synced with the video well. The Kiba fight at the beginning had some great animation to it. I think the Dragon Soldiers he created may have been done with CG. The fact that I’m unable to tell is a good thing.
The voice acting wasn’t quite as impactful as I’d like. Since there wasn’t very much talking going on in the episode, the typical quips and blurbs don’t have room to blossom. Still, I found the Gasper fight to hold some deep emotion from Josh Grelle’s Issei. He had a deep reverence in him for what his friend was doing and enduring.
This has probably been my favorite episode of the season. Good animation, and thoroughly enjoyable action. I give it eight shots from behind out of ten.