Enen no Shouboutai Episode 21
The battles rage on as we get a focus on Obi and Vulcan this round. However, I feel like this fight wasn’t as strong as the others we’ve seen so far during this arc. Animation-wise at least. Though I suppose it still had a lot of emotional weight to it, especially in the case of Vulcan. Both Lisa and Giovanni had been very large impacts in Vulcan’s life, in positive and negative ways respectively. So it definitely felt like there was a lot at stake for Vulcan. While Obi… he was just there to lend support, I suppose. Though I guess he also had a lot of beef with Giovanni considering he was always looking into the creation of infernals and Giovanni the Fire Force member that was part of it.
There was a lot going on with Lisa and it’s not hard to see why. On one hand, Giovanni extended a hand to her and gave her purpose after she lost everything. Manipulative people will always prey on those who have lost hope and then use them to their advantage. It’s honestly sad to see how desperate Lisa is to be useful and not be abandoned. Which makes sense considering what she’s been through in the past. And it makes it all the more touching when Obi stops her rampage and Vulcan is the one to step in and catch her. I really loved the symbolism of Vulcan opening up and umbrella and putting it over Lisa to protect her from the rain. That act of kindness and how he treated her when the lived together must have meant so much to her, even if it started as an act. Especially when afterwards she started crying. Vulcan never abandoned her, even when she betrayed him again and again. And I admit, I found the part where he flicked some of the extinguisher foam off her face was really cute.
However, the moment is broken when Giovanni comes and terrifyingly reminds Lisa of her place. Everything about Giovanni is so unnerving, especially when that extra head just came out of his body while taunting Vulcan and Obi. And then again when he just straight up starts strangling Lisa with a heating wire. It’s honestly no surprise that the creator of Soul Eater was able to create such a terrifying antagonist. Especially when the animators go above and beyond to show just how terrifying he is when using that stylized animation. It always makes me feel so uneasy and anxious whenever it happens. I just wished that someone could have punched his face in. Though I have a feeling he may not even have a true face underneath that plague mask anymore considering the rest of his body is basically a machine now.
And while it was supposed to be really tense when Vulcan was ordered to shoot Obi to save Lisa, I was like: Yeah go ahead, I’m sure Obi has some sort of bullet proof vest underneath his clothes. So I was never really worried that Obi would get killed or hurt in that moment. Especially when my theory proved true when Obi just suddenly got back up. Though I’m not gonna lie that I was a little annoyed that when Vulcan shot Obi, he fell forward and there was no sense of impact, especially with how close Vulcan when he shot him. The blast should have at least sent him at least stumbling backwards and not face forward. Especially if the shot didn’t even go through him. Though I guess nothing could have been as bad as that Persona 5 shooting… So I’ll give it a pass I GUESS. However, I admit it was hilarious how Giovanni was just cackling over how Vulcan killed Obi but then the latter suddenly gets back up and yells how scary that was. Just hearing Giovanni’s shocked squak sent me laughing hysterically. And it was made even funnier when Obi tried to pull Giovanni’s own taunt by telling him what he did. But Vulcan apparently didn’t get the memo and told him, leaving Obi defeated and making a reference to Ashita no Joe lol.
What I found interesting was in that one scene where Lisa steps over the tracks and onto the other side, showing where her loyalty lies. However, after Giovanni threatened to kill her, he dumped her back onto the other side of the tracks where she originally was. So that could have been foreshadowing that Lisa really is going to end up on the 8th’s side. Maybe… Hopefully. It was pretty sad to see her desperate for Giovanni not to leave her. Giovanni wasn’t kidding that it would take a while to undo Lisa’s brainwashing. It definitely will take a while for her to separate her sense of self worth from Giovanni. I’m sure she’ll eventually get there with the help of Vulcan and the others.
While watching the fight with Obi, I couldn’t help but notice that the animation regressed back to it’s normal choppy way with weird cuts that doesn’t really allow the viewer to get a good feel of what is happening. However, it was made apparent that they were saving the animation budget for the inevitable battle between the Kusakabe brothers. And OH MY GOSH was that fight animation WILD. But before we get into that, were we treated to some HORRIFYINGLY NIGHTMARISH IMAGES IN SHINRA’S DREAM.
There were a lot of things going on there that I honestly don’t know what to think of. Especially with that horned demon thing coming out and seemingly taking hold of Shinra. That thing was SO FREAKY. Not to mention it showed the 4th’s Captain looking pretty gnarly, seemingly when he got those scars over his face. I’m not sure why it flashed to that, but I found it rather unnerving, especially with how crazy he looked. When they showed baby Sho again, I was honestly really worried something was going to either grab him or it would morph into something horrific. Thankfully none of that happened and instead there was a pretty creepy moment of demon footprints leading Shinra to Sho.
BUT HOLY CRAP THAT FIGHT. As soon as I saw the different art style, I knew something BIG was gonna happen with the animation and BOY WAS I RIGHT. Though I did snort really loudly when Sho just smacked Shinra’s hand away and then pushed him. I don’t know why that was so funny to me. Maybe it was because of how much smaller Sho is to Shinra. ANYWAYS, the fight starts off with these flashes of light just flying in different directions, leaving all sorts of burning footprints around Victor. I absolutely loved the camera angles and pans used in this scene, making it feel all the more intense. And as the footprints started closing in on Victor I was like: Yo, you may want to go back behind that pillar, it’s freaking dangerous! Thankfully Shinra was able to stop Sho’s attack on Victor or else they would have lost their scientist.
And then the real fight commences as we get to see such fast and crisp fight animation. I’ve said in the past that I actually do like seeing Shinra’s fighting style despite my gripes with him as a character and this fight is no exception. I love fast paced fights without characters having inner monologues. Just pure, relentless action. However you can tell there were a lot of emotions raging in this fight from the scene prior with Sho telling Shinra how much he hated the thought of them being brothers. He even spoke terribly of their mother and that’s where I would also draw the line. Boy, you have no RIGHT to talk about your mother that way! She loved both of them so much, so it was heartbreaking to hear Sho say such things especially to Shinra’s face.
I’m just worried as to what exactly Sho is doing by stopping time like that and how exactly he does it. Victor seems to have an idea and we may get it answered next episode. However, Sho is definitely a force no one can currently keep up with, even with Shinra’s power up. I wonder if Sho can be saved with how deeply he’s been brainwashed. Though it seems we’ll be getting some sort of conclusion to the Shinra and Sho fight next episode. I don’t see how it can end well for Shinra honestly. Especially since Sho seems to have taken Shinra to that universe with the horrifying imagery. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.