Rokka No Yuusha

December 20, 2015

Once again, the big bad evil demon boss who once threatened the world will revive and bring terror to the lands. Once again, a chosen few will rise up and go on a journey to defeat the evil and his minions and bring peace for everyone. Happily ever after. Till the next cycle repeats itself again. How often have we heard of such stories? It is getting to be a bore, right? So I thought it was somewhat the same with Rokka No Yuusha. Six heroes have been chosen to go defeat the big baddie but there is a catch. This time there are seven of them! So? Extra help is always welcome, right? Well, who knows. Somebody got paranoid thinking there is a traitor in the midst. Jenjenjeng! And there you have it. Surprisingly this isn’t an action adventure genre but a drama mystery as everyone tries to figure out who the traitor is among them. And currently the suspicions fall on the main protagonist who might or might not be it. What can you do when everything is pointing towards you? Wow. I never would have guessed that this type of fantasy setting can take on such a genre twist after all.

Episode 1
As narrated when the world is in danger of the Demon God, the Goddess of Fate will choose 6 heroes known as Braves of the Six Flowers to save the world. In an Aztec-like nation, a ritual for a semi-final tournament is being held. The winner will have the right to face last year’s winner, Princess Nachetanya Loei Piena Augustra. Unfortunately, Adlet Mayer who proclaims himself as the world’s strongest man barges in and cockily wants both warriors to fight him. They ignore him and let the guards arrest him but Adlet swiftly throws his dart trick to wipe them all out. Now you take him seriously? Both warriors fiercely take him on but Adlet has more tricks up his sleeve and the match ends in his favour. Then he arrogantly proclaims to the Goddess of Fate to choose him to be one of the Braves but the guards quickly arrest him and the furious people start throwing their buckets. Thrown into prison, he is visited by a maid who is very much interested in him and wants to know about his background. Introducing himself and his master, Atro Spiker, he narrates the days of his harsh training and that his existence is only to destroy the Demon God. He still thinks he is the strongest although he hasn’t faced Nachetanya yet. An update: The semi-final resumed, there was a winner but he was easily destroyed by Nachetanya. Yes, yes, Adlet. We know you’re the strongest so please stop reminding us. He hopes to be chosen as one of the Braves, that is why he came to this tournament.

A brief history about how the Demon God awakened and attacked and killed people. Till the Goddess of Fate arose and drove it back. However she said it was not completely defeated and merely in slumber. When it awakes to destroy the world, she will send 6 heroes to drive it back. The heroes will be marked with a flower spot on their body. The maid continues to mention several names of past heroes when such similar events occurred. But recently there are a number of potential Braves who has been murdered supposedly by Fiends. Even so, a potential Brave shouldn’t easily be defeated like this. The next day, Adlet is sentenced to indefinite imprisonment and is tossed into a pit prison. Looks like the previous occupant is just a bag of bones. At least he left his short sword behind. So Adlet bides his time doing things in his cell and keeping fit. Days and nights passed. Now he thinks it’s time to escape? One night, the sky turns fire red. The people hear voices and they believe it to be from the Fiends. This could also be a sign that the Demon God is reviving. Adlet is scared when the sky ‘swallows’ him but the next thing he knows, a flower mark on his right hand. He is happy to be chosen and calls out to the guards. But coming to see him is Nachetanya who shows him she also has the crest. With her magic, she breaks the cell, pushes all the guards down into the pit for Adlet to escape. Looks like she’s got all this well planned out as she also has prepared him a horse for their escape. I guess she’s not going to wait for some embarkation ceremony. Evil is not going to wait, right? They make their way straight to the west to the end of the peninsular, to the Land of Howling Demons. That is the entrance to where the Demon God is and the place where the Braves will gather.

Episode 2
Nachetanya must be relishing her freedom from her palace life. Yeah, she ‘takes’ fruits from merchants and Adlet has to pay for them. Heck, she even admitted long ago she thought fruits grew on plates! Oh, the sheltered royal life! It might almost seem her journey times spent with Adlet feels like some sort of date. She is enjoying her company because she gets to talk to him on the same level and express her true feelings. He does so only because they are on equal footing as Braves. Nachetanya talks about her family. Her dad the king is merely a puppet and the prime minister holds the true power because her father was responsible for starting the civil war. Her mom and brother are gone so she is the only royal family member left. There are other distant relatives in other countries but why risk another civil war? Goldov Auora is the leader of her kingdom’s Black Knights and left on a journey 6 months ago to find the culprit responsible for killing potential Braves. The last she heard from him was 6 weeks ago and there still were no clues. Although she fears he might have been killed, she doesn’t think so. As Goldov was last year’s tournament finalist, he actually went easy on her and for this humiliation, she won’t allow him to die until she avenges that. Eh? What? There is also talk about Riura the Saint who went missing. She was awesome in her youthful days but looking at her old age right now, it is not possible for her to be the killer’s target.

After 10 days, the duo enter Gwenbyer, the country of iron hills. Lots of citizens are fleeing, heading in the opposite direction. They meet a couple who had to abandon their child and friends to escape attacking Fiends. Adlet heads into action wondering if this is a trap since it is the Fiends’ objective to kill them. He uses his tricks and dexterity to slay the Fiends while Nachetanya supports him from the back. Since this is her first time, you can’t blame her for being nervous. Once done, they learn the villagers say there is a traveller who decided to stay back at the village. Adlet wants to go save her himself but Nachetanya reminds him in this war it is either they slay the Demon God or save the people. You can’t do both. Oh, but Adlet will do both because what is the world’s strongest man if he can’t even do that. Adlet examines all the Fiend corpses. He notices there are iron ball bullets with gunpowder that took them out. Then he sees this gunslinger girl, Flamie Speeddraw who is freeing trapped dogs. Trivia: Fiends only attack humans. Additional trivia: Flamie loves dogs but hates humans. When Adlet introduces himself, she points her gun at him. She maintains her suspicion despite him showing his crest. She too has the crest of the Brave. She asks him if he is here to kill her. Nachetanya is not pleased that Goldov finally returns to her side. Despite he too has a Brave crest on his arm, she is not happy he still treats her like a royalty with all that protocol crap as he vows to always protect her. You can just feel it in her sighs. Goldov reports of his development and now has the identity of the Brave killer: Flamie!

Episode 3
Flamie relays a message to Adlet that she will kill the Demon God herself and not to get in her way. She fires a warning shot and runs. Adlet won’t give up and chases after her. She looks very surprised because he manages to catch her. She threatens to kill him but he continues to remind her that all Braves must work together to defeat the Demon God. A single person cannot just kill it. Flamie gives him a few options. Hear the reason and they try to kill each other or don’t hear them and walk away. Adlet is still bent on saving her so he tricks her and steals her bag of bullets. A person who uses a gun to fight is literally useless without her bullets, right? Against her will, she is forced to come with him. Adlet might seem to play cool but he is scared sh*t inside taking this big gamble. Meanwhile Nachetanya and Goldov are fighting more Fiends when Adlet’s horse returns with a message saying he has found another Brave and is going to pursue her. He wants her to continue their journey and meet up at their destination. It is no surprise that Goldov is wary when he hears the name of another man. Even putting up that ‘sad’ face when he hears her praising the good guy Adlet is and a fun person to tease. Really. Speaking of sad face, Flamie is another one having to travel along with this idiot. She can’t believe Adlet and Nachetanya are chosen as Braves considering how inexperienced they are. Hearing his arrogance as the world’s strongest man just wants to make her puke. But she has a request of him. It is inevitable that they will fight. If so, please go easy on her. She can’t die before she slays the Demon God. Adlet is ‘disappointed’ to hear that request. What he wanted to hear was a request to fight together. Over the horizon, they view the red mountain range. Across is the Land of the Howling Demons. Humans will die if they are exposed by that air but the blessings of the Goddess of Fate on the Brave negate that effect.

The duo make their way to the nearby fortress and are let in after showing their crest. Private first class of the Gwenbyer army, Lauren is in charge here since many of his higher ups and comrades have been killed in the battle with Fiends. Other Braves have already arrived and passed through here. He takes them to a chamber where the Gwenbyer king prepared something to help the Braves. As he has developed a method to seal the Fiends in this forest, they who are sent to wipe out the Braves will be trapped here as Fiends cannot cross water. He pinpoints a temple that will activate that barrier that Fiends will be unable to destroy. One of the Braves, Maura Chester who is also the head of All Heavens Temple is already stationed there. Once all the Braves are gathered, Maura will send a signal to the guards to head there and activate the barrier. If the guards fall here before all gather, one of them will have to go there. This means one of the Braves cannot venture forth into the lands but this is worth the risk. As they continue their journey, Flamie continues to spill the best insults. Like don’t talk to her because she’s speaking and she wants Adlet to stop treating her kindly because it just makes her want to kill him! Adlet suddenly senses somebody targeting them and pushes Flamie out of harm’s way. It is Nachetanya on the offensive. I believe it is not because of the other woman thingy. Adlet tackles Goldov and tries to stop all parties from all-out attacking each other but the ladies continue with their assault. Flamie wonders why Adlet is so surprised. Didn’t she tell him that if she meets the Braves, they’ll start killing each other?

Episode 4
Once Adlet manages to get everyone to stop, he shows the crest on Flamie’s hand. Now you believe? But what about Flamie being a Brave killer? Flamie admits that and names some of the potential Braves she killed (although she denied killing Riura). She did so to revive the Demon God because if potential strong ones are killed off, weaker ones will be chosen. Adlet believes she has some sort of reason to fight the Demon God and her desire is real. Even if she was once an enemy of the Braves, she is now one of their comrades. If Nachetanya insists on fighting, he will have to side Flamie. I guess that’s that. Just so to let us know, she’s trusting Adlet and not Flamie. But why does she sound jealous hinting to Adlet that he’s gotten closer to her? Yeah, Flamie is quite the pretty girl she is, no? And there’s the same sentiment too for Goldov but Adlet assures their relationship isn’t anything of what he thinks. Walking through the forest, flying Fiends start dropping bombs (what?). Then they have to fight off land Fiends so Nachetanya tells Adlet to run ahead to the temple while they fight off the endless hordes. Adlet finds a wounded priestess who tells him to hurry. However the temple door is locked. Nothing like a good bomb to blow it up. It gets weird when he has to fight off soulless armour knights and the priestess turns into a Fiend but flees. He senses something amiss when he sees the fog barrier up. When he runs inside the temple, it seems the barrier is already activated. Somebody did it. It sure wasn’t him. Now they’re all trap inside the barrier.

They try to deactivate it but no matter what kind of method they use, the fog is still up. Nachetanya panics and starts swinging her dagger like as though she’s possessed and ironically it is Flamie who is the one who calms her down. Then there is this kid, Chamot Rosso happily walking in. This kid is one of the Braves? Believe it. She thinks she is the world’s strongest. What do you get when 2 idiots argue about who is being the strongest? Well, save that for later because Chamot wants to kill Flamie. Gunslinger girl gets on the defensive while Adlet and Nachetanya prevent the little kid from taking further actions. She only backs down when Maura tells her so. Now that everyone is here, Maura wants to know who the outsider is. What does she mean? Maura just recently met this crazy weirdo, Hans Humpty, another one of the Braves. That’s right. You counted right. There are 7 of them. After showing their crest as proof, they are still puzzled how come there are 7 of them. There have always been only 6 Braves. No more, no less. Could the Goddess of Fate have decided 6 wasn’t enough and sent an additional one? Hans has a simple answer. It means one of them is a fake and their enemy.

Episode 5
An entire episode of guessing who the culprit is. Turning into a whodunit? After Adlet and Hans confirm the mist has formed a barrier, Maura says the only way for the barrier to be disabled is for the person who enabled it to do so or be killed. In other words, it is one of them. Chamot is adamant Flamie is the culprit and wants her killed but Maura wants everyone to tell a bit about themselves in hopes that there will be clues to pinpoint the culprit. As usual, Adlet goes first and starts reminding us of his strongest in the world status. It’s so annoying that even the rest questions what the heck it is supposed to mean! Worse, he can’t even explain it well! Suspicious? Hans is most interesting as we learn. Can’t say he is the weirdest since each one of them is equally weird. Hans works as an assassin and he talks and acts like a cat because his fighting style is based on them so he does so to pay his tribute. With everyone’s suspicions on Flamie, she has her eye-patch and headgear removed. To everyone’s surprise, they see a demon’s horn and eye. Flamie discloses her origins. She was born of both human and Fiend. The Fiends planned to plant one to infiltrate the humans in case the Demon God was revived. Flamie is that plan. Her father is human but right after Flamie was conceived, he was killed. She was raised by her Fiend mom and when the time is right, she set out on a journey to kill potential Braves. Flamie did not hesitate to consider herself a Fiend and believes in the Demon God. However she denies she is the seventh Brave.

Adlet wonders if Flamie is half Fiend, can she activate the barrier? Hans says she can as there are devices that keep Fiends out, Flamie’s presence here proves she can do both what humans and Fiends could not. Of course Flamie flat out denies she activated the barrier and throws it back to Maura that in her point of her, she is also another suspect. There is no guarantee what she is saying is true. One of them is the enemy and clearly lying. Adlet thinks how true it is because although they do not know Maura well, her well known position made them suspect her less. Adlet needs to be careful too or else he will be suspected. Surprisingly Hans supports the notion that Flamie isn’t the culprit. If she was, she had numerous chances to kill Adlet especially that idiot had so many opening chances to be dead. Flamie admits it too. So Adlet’s careless actions saved Flamie? Well, he’s the strongest, not the smartest. Nachetanya feels a little dizzy and takes a rest. After Adlet explains the events when he arrived at this temple, Hans tells him this is his last chance to change things. Adlet sticks to what he believes. Hans deduces that a temple that is impregnable suddenly had its strong doors unable to close right after Adlet blows it up (he was attacked by the knights as he didn’t follow proper procedure to open the door and he was treated as an intruder). Is it too much of a coincidence that the barrier got activated right after the door is open? So how did the one who activated the barrier get in? It wasn’t possible before the door blew up. There are no other entrances. At this point, Adlet know he is in sh*t because he has become suspect number one.

Episode 6
Here is Adlet’s answer: Somebody must have dug in, activated the barrier and sneak out! Maura dispels that theory because the seal protects the entire temple be it from the ceiling, wall or ground. Plus, restoring the seal back to its original state takes time and a very high skill. What if there is another Fiend like Flamie? Sorry. Flamie is told she is the only one. All Fiends cannot bear human children and her mom was carefully crafted over a long period of time for this. The damning verdict is those knights who attacked him. That itself indicated he was the first intruder. Nachetanya becomes vocal in standing up for Adlet that he couldn’t be the culprit. But Adlet starts panicking and even accuses Hans to be the perpetrator. No proof? Maura wants everyone’s opinion. Hans wants to kill him. Chamot although interested in Flamie, wants to torture him. Maura sides with Hans. Flamie: No comment. Nachetanya is pleading to Goldov why he isn’t helping Adlet. Isn’t it obvious? But you want to know his answer? This is his answer. He attacks Adlet! I guess action speaks louder than words. Immediately Adlet takes Flamie hostage and inserts some sleeping poison into her. Did he just dig his own grave? He then runs out. Although he scatters traps to make the rest unable to follow, Hans threw his dagger and got him in the back. It is not long before he loses strength and passes out. Night falls and Maura wants Hans to stop the search as there is no telling what tricks Adlet can do. Hans is confident he can catch Adlet since the night is his domain. Maura wants to see Hans’ crest. She knows Flamie is still alive because if one of the Braves dies, a petal will disappear. This means Adlet is valuing Flamie’s worth as a hostage and keeping her alive. (Note: Maura can’t see her own crest because it’s on the back of her neck).

Adlet dreams of his younger days. Then one day when Fiends killed everybody and he was the only survivor (looking like a bag of bones!), he approached Atro in hopes to become the world’s strongest man to defeat Fiends. Old geezer isn’t interested but Adlet falls into despair if he can’t do that, he doesn’t deserve to be alive. Atro starts kicking him and tells him to smile. That is how you become the strongest. You smile in the face of pain and despair! Man, Adlet sure looks creepy smiling like that. Yeah, I thought he looks like a masochist… He wakes up and looks like Flamie has patched him up. Luckily the dagger didn’t hit any vital parts. So she saved him? Well, she still suspects him 99%. This is the 1%. Going over everything again, Adlet thinks either Hans or Maura did it but unless he can prove his innocence, this accusation is meaningless. Adlet then comes up with a theory that there is an eighth suspect, the one who activated the barrier. The Fiends dropped the bombs to lure the Braves here and the seventh was planted so that he could be framed. Adlet’s priority now is to look for the eighth but since Flamie still suspects him, she won’t help out. Even in this dire situation, Adlet continues to smile. He doesn’t know how he is going to handle the other Braves but he can’t give up now. He can’t give up on smiling. Then a surprise question from Flamie as she asks him why he wanted to become part of the Brave. Has Flamie been interested in anything else but herself? Shocking, no?

Episode 7
No, Adlet. Flamie’s not interested in you. She sees him as only an average man with lots of unusual weapons. Yeah, I guess he’s not that strong. Adlet describes his harsh training with Atro. He also had to learn how to make secret weapons and studied science to make poison. See, kids. Stay in school! She heard many of Atro’s disciples ran away as they couldn’t stand his harsh training. But Adlet stayed and this could be the reason why he became a Brave. As explained, a Fiend came to their village one day. Surprised, it talked! He wanted to meet the village elder. Although the next morning he was gone, the village elder proclaims their village will move close to the Land of Howling Demons and worship the Demon God for there is no future in humanity. At least they will survive. Those who opposed will have their hearts ripped out. Flamie knows that Fiend who approached his village. He is one of the 3 leaders who rule over the Fiends. The one who came up with this half Fiend plan and the one who ordered her mom to conceive her. Adlet continues that his best friend died protecting him and his sister the same so he could escape. He is the only survivor. He never hated the villagers. Atro once told him it wasn’t revenge he became strong but because he believed in something. He believed everyone would come back and live in peace. Surprisingly Flamie feels envious. She was raised in a lovely environment and thought the best way to repay the Demon God was to do her job. However as Chamot was one of her targets, she lost and barely escaped with her life. When she returned home, mom tried to kill her for her failure. Of course she fled. Flamie isn’t mad about the fact mom tried to kill her. It was the love she pretended to give her. Therefore killing her now isn’t enough. She’ll destroy what she spent her life to bring about and make her regret her actions.

Flamie is surprised Adlet still doesn’t suspect her a bit. Hadn’t he thought this story is a lie? That reason itself was enough for her to suspect him. But Adlet now knows why he told his past freely to her that he could not to Nachetanya. It’s because they’re the same. He trusted her because he doesn’t want her to think her as the enemy. Of course, he’s not in love with her or anything (really?). Flamie decides to go back to the temple but she gives him some gunpowder. When thrown, it will explode but without light or sound. Only Flamie will know its location. Like a call for help? Adlet vows to protect everyone but she notes that will only get him killed. Flamie returns and tells everyone her conversation with Adlet. They split up in pairs to find Adlet. Hans has his suspicions on whether to trust Flamie because she might be lying. Did she really escape Adlet? Because from what he can see, Adlet was trying to take her side. Flamie isn’t surprised because Adlet has been trying to win her to his side since the start. Hans is still suspicious of Flamie if she can kill her mom when it comes down to it. Especially when mom starts begging for forgiveness. He knows because he has taken up a lot of contracts of husbands betraying wives and abandoned families. Meanwhile Nachetanya asks if Goldov would side her without questioning. Sorry, anything but Adlet. So much for loyalty. She claims she is trying to find proof of the seventh whom she suspects to be no other than Hans and wants Goldov to back her up for now. She believes Adlet is being framed and waiting for her. Adlet fears that with the group in pairs, the seventh might kill the partner and frame him. He rushes back to the temple since there is where he left his weapons. However Hans is waiting and the fight begins.

Episode 8
Adlet is in a pinch. Hans is going to extract information from him and then kill him but Adlet uses a bomb trap to escape. He is surprised that Hans can still chase and attack at full speed despite taking a direct hit. When he is cornered, Adlet drops all his weapons and tools. He believes a sword is enough to take him down. Of course this is his plan to let Hans suspect him as he scans his eyes around. After all, defeating Hans won’t mean victory but clearing his name. Adlet’s sword is also a trick as he can shoot its blade. However he purposely misses Hans. This is to show that he is not the seventh as this was his last chance to kill him. He couldn’t kill him because he is his comrade. This is also a big gamble because if Hans is the fake, he is doomed. Hans believes him but mentions that if it were others, they would have been fooled. A shocking revelation when Hans reveals he is the seventh! Adlet lost the bet. He tries to retrieve his belt but Hans slits his throat! Adlet is dead???!!! Actually that was only an illusion. Hans cut his throat to make him see that. As words and actions of men lie, only in death that their true face is revealed (he has seen many cases in his line of work). If Adlet was the fake, he would be confused when Hans claimed he was the seventh. Now that Adlet’s status is dispelled, the guys become buddies but they’re back to square one. Who is the seventh? Maura talks to Flamie that she believes she is not the culprit. Flamie remains suspicious since even among Fiends, they are divided into groups. She wonders if there are humans siding with Fiends. Maura is glad Adlet brought Flamie to them but he is still the enemy and should not be sympathetic. Don’t worry, Maura. Flamie hates him.

Nachetanya’s search hits a road block. Since Goldov still suspects Adlet, she tells him to go chase him by himself (I hope no gay connotations). Goldov wonders why she has changed so much because she used to be free spirited and calm. Why does she trust someone so much whom she spent a few days with? But she also thinks Goldov has changed. A battle to save the world has begun. Adlet is their comrade. Who does he think he was? She knows how he has felt about her for a long time but now is not the time. She doesn’t have time to deal with her jealousy. He is such a reliable person that she forgot. Looks like they don’t know each other that well after all. Hans looks for any clues in the cracks inside the temple walls and ceiling. Nope. Adlet needs to leave before the rest returns. But when Hans asks about how the barrier activates because he didn’t go to the fortress, Adlet senses something amiss. Since Hans and Chamot are the only ones who don’t know, he needs to ask that kid. Well, looks like she’s back and bored. She doesn’t care who is fake or not. Her idea is that she’ll just kill everyone she suspects except Maura as she believes she is strong enough to kill the Demon God along. Chamot then vomits a big pool of swamp! They turn into bubble Fiends?! She says there is a swamp in her stomach and everything she eats lives there happily ever after. Well, looks like somebody else is going to get eaten. The guys run and there is nothing much they can do since the monsters regenerate after taking damage. Chamot has an idea. She wants Hans to kill Adlet and if the barrier deactivates, she’ll spare him. No can do.

Episode 9
The guys work together but the Fiends are smart enough to protect Chamot. Adlet has Hans protect him so he can come up with a plan. In 60 seconds, he wants Hans to do nothing but run up to Chamot. He does and Chamot anticipated this move. A Fiend attacks him and Hans is told not to avoid but block it. When the Fiend pushes him away, Adlet kicks Hans to propel him forward. I don’t know about this ‘successful’ attack because it is game over once Hans lifts Chamot. Huh? Better tie her up and shut her mouth. After that fighting, Adlet is convinced Chamot is not the seventh. The question he asks her is if she knows about the barrier before coming here. She doesn’t. Adlet now needs to go to speak with Flamie alone but Hans warns him that Flamie lives in darkness and that she truly hates him. No, not the tsundere kind. I mean, really, really hates him from the bottom of her heart. Adlet uses the gunpowder to summon Flamie. Maura is back at the temple and she’s upset that Hans and Chamot got tricked by Adlet. Hans explains Adlet’s awesome theory as how Adlet does to Flamie. He has figured out part of the seventh’s trap. The seventh tricked them into being mistaken. Most of them had been taught by Lauren how to activate the barrier. Nobody knows about it till Lauren told them. What if Lauren is working with the seventh? He might have lied to them how the barrier is activated. The Fiends used the bombs to lure them to the temple and they waited for Adlet to open the door to cover the entire forest with the mist. At that time the barrier was not activated. They assumed it was. The sword was already in dial as they believed it was the factor to activate it. Then they messed around in hopes of deactivating but one of them may have then activated it. The perpetrator had to prove the temple was a locked room till Adlet arrives and pin the blame on him. But isn’t Hans the one who suspected Adlet with this?

Nachetanya’s suspicion on Hans is growing more. During the conversation, Hans didn’t know she was a princess but when he first came in and met everyone the first time, he called her one. Could it be that he knew her status beforehand and pretended not to later? Flamie shoots down Adlet’s theory as there is a fatal flaw. Despite using the power of the Saint, there are limits. Uspa is a Saint that used the fog. But to have it covered instantly a big area is impossible. That would take years to prepare. Had Uspa been able to do that, Flamie would have targeted her. She blows open the ground to reveal mini stakes that contains the barrier’s power. This is why the forest was covered immediately. However all the barriers are the same because if another is put up, one will be disabled. Hans argues that Adlet couldn’t be the seventh because he spared his life. This includes Chamot’s. Maura argues back about Hans’ silly reason of one’s true dying face. That is after all his personal opinion. Flamie can guess that Adlet will go for Nachetanya’s help if she fails to help him. But he continues smiling. Stop that and everything will be over. Adlet believes he is far more useful alive because if he’s killed, the suspicions will fall on Flamie. Nobody will suspect her if he is still alive. So please believe in him. However she still won’t as she cannot understand how he thinks. She believes Maura has convinced Hans and Chamot and are on the way to hunt him. But since Flamie is interested in knowing more about Adlet, she thinks if she stays, she can believe him.

Episode 10
I guess you just can’t trust a woman’s words, can you? She fires a warning shot and tells him to stay away. If it has come down to this, Adlet is just going to say it all. Initially he became a tool of war and threw away his heart to become strong. He was wrong. Your heart isn’t something you can easily get rid of. Flamie disagrees because she was able to do so to get revenge on her mother. Adlet doesn’t think so. It is hear heart that is making her do it. Then suddenly he confesses. He loves her. Hey wait!!! Am I watching the wrong genre?! And what did he said earlier about being not in love with her? From the first time they’ve met and the time he came to know she was the Brave killer, his feelings never changed. Flamie’s plan is to die along with the Demon God. Where else could she live as she doesn’t belong anywhere. Adlet will take care of it somehow. Really? He’s not just saying that, is he? However this only makes it certain for Flamie to shoot him. She now considers him the enemy. After warning Chamot, Maura has her watch over Hans. Then she uses her echo power to alert the rest that Adlet has critically injured Hans and for everyone to kill him as he is the culprit. OMG. Could she be? I guess the more reason for Flamie to fire her gun. Nachetanya must be most heartbroken hearing this. So much so she starts laughing madly and then becomes eager to kill the man whom she trusted so much. Dangerous. She cuts down all the trees to show us how angry she is. I think she’s turning into a sadist…

Flamie continues to hunt Adlet and she calls him a liar for sugar coating his words to hide the ugly truth. From the way Flamie has resigned herself that she will always be alone, Adlet realizes it is not that she doesn’t want to trust others. She really wants to believe in someone. Maura has entered the scene. She will kill him and wants Flamie to assist her. When Adlet surprisingly gives up, Flamie stops Maura. He is going to prove Flamie’s innocence and takes out a special poison and wants Flamie to lend a bullet. This drug is able to trace Fiends and when poured over stuffs, it will react with a red glow that Fiends emit. He used this on the altar and since there were no signs of it, it proves Flamie did not touch and activate the barrier. Maura is not convinced and will still kill him. Adlet resigns to his fate and tells Flamie to get Hans’ help. She can trust that guy. Surprisingly Flamie stops Maura again. I think Flamie is pretty much confused. She is saying how much she hates him. The more she talks to him, the more she hates him. She hates the fact that she is starting to believe in him. See those tears in her eyes? The distraction was enough for Adlet to release a smokescreen trap and run away with Flamie. However here comes the most dangerous woman of all: Nachetanya.

Episode 11
You can tell how broken Nachetanya is. She’s going to kill him with a smile! Don’t tell me she took after him! Flamie even vouches for Adlet but that crazy princess isn’t listening anymore. Flamie attacks them so Adlet can get away. He hates to leave Flamie alone but he has to as he plans to lure Nachetanya back to the temple to let her see for herself that Hans is safe. However she continues her attack and greatly wounds him. She really relishes seeing him suffer, does she? Adlet maintains his innocence and everything. He felt cold as he has lost too much blood. Then it hit him. Why had he not realized this before? After blocking a painful stab with his palm, he continues to run to the field where corpses of Fiends lay (the place where they were fighting Fiends before Adlet ran to the temple). With Hans and Chamot appearing, it proves that Maura was lying (she admitted it as she was taking desperate measures). Now Nachetanya is further broken. What has she done?! Oh God. Oh Adlet. Then he starts reminding us about his world’s strongest man thingy and what it means to be one. He is that very epitome because after all that has happened, who else would have made it here? Now it is time for Adlet’s explanation from his deductions to defeat the fake. As we know that Lauren might have told them the wrong way to activate the mist, Adlet tells never to look down on science! Do you know what a fog/mist is? Yeah. Take out your notes. He’s explaining in detail this phenomenon in a scientific way! This place has high humidity (notice previously how everyone was sweating hot?), as this temple is located right next to the sea, the wind carries in lots of moisture. A fog will be created when there is a sudden drop in temperature. So how do you do that? Everyone is thinking about the Saint of ice or snow but Adlet tells them to think outside the box. You don’t lower the temperature. You raise it. And who else but the Saint of the Sun, Riura who is able to do that. She has been missing for a month too, remember?

At first Adlet suspected Flamie but ever since her lost to Chamot, she hasn’t been killing Brave potentials since. Since Riura is old and weak, the seventh and their allies kidnapped Riura to raise the temperature of this place. The soldiers at the fortress could either be surviving villagers pretending to be soldiers or helping the fake. When Lauren told them how to activate, it should have raised an eyebrow because the king who built it was secretive and it is as good no one knew it existed. When the Fiends lured the Braves to the temple and Adlet bombed open the door, it was a signal for the other Fiends to kill Riura, thus the sudden drop in temperature. That transforming Fiend must be the one who sent the signal (it was subsequently killed by Chamot). Amidst the chaos as, the seventh used the confusion to activate the real barrier. All that is left was to wait for Adlet to be suspected. The question is where Riura’s body was hidden. It had to be close to the temple. The best place to hide a corpse is in a mountain a corpse. Like hiding a leaf in a forest. Hans cut open a Fiend and pulls out Riura’s corpse. Maura confirms it but is still adamant Adlet is the seventh and this is part of his trap. Flamie dismisses all that if that were true, he would have shared his theory a long time ago. And do you know how many times he was nearly killed to get here? Then Maura admits… Adlet is not the fake. The suspense continues… Adlet has a big smile over his face because he was taking a big gamble on where Riura’s body was. Thank goodness, right? And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Who is the seventh? Drum rolls please. Hold your breath everyone!

Episode 12
Don’t keep us in suspense! Tell us who the seventh is already! Adlet looks at Maura… OMG! Is it her? Maura insists it is not her. In fact, Adlet may be guessing by deduction too since he has no proof that Maura is the one. Chamot points out Maura is not the one. She brings a couple of tablets she dug up from the temple. There is also the same sword and looks like someone made a good spare set to activate it. One tablet tells how to deactivate the barrier and the other to reactivate it. What they found surprised was one of the methods was to shatter the tablet. The question now is, who broke it? That is the seventh. Adlet clearly remembers. Nachetanya was the one who broke it. Nachetanya asserts she is not the seventh although she is the one who broke it. Adlet thinks harder. For this trap to work, there must be a pre-requisite for the first Brave to reach the temple. Somebody needs to make him fall for the trap and he remembers Nachetanya was the one who told him to head to the temple first. With Adlet shell shocked that Nachetanya could be the perpetrator, even more shocking Nachetanya casts away her innocent personality to admit she is the seventh!!!! Goldov, you heartbroken? She would have gotten away with it all but the way Adlet was acting, nothing she said would have worked. She thought Adlet was an idiot and would be easily killed as the first victim. She viewed Hans as her most difficult opponent. Nachetanya’s goal is to revive the Demon God so that all humans and Fiends could live together in harmony. Therefore she wants the Brave to withdraw and let her handle the revival of the Demon God. However for this peace, there will be a small number of victims. Oh, not much. Just 500,000! FFFUUUUU!!!! Adlet gives the orders to kill her but Nachetanya turns into some spirit form to escape. Adlet recognizes this as a high level Fiend technique. While the rest tries to chase her, Flamie helps Adlet who is now collapsing from the exhaustion and shock. She’s still being a tsundere, though. She hates him but yet wants him to live. Can’t risk him dying (because he’s passing out now), she gives him swallow some liquid. Transferred via her mouth.

Adlet wakes up in the temple. Maura’s mountain herbs have healed him well. She apologizes for suspecting him. The barrier has been deactivated and Nachetanya has fled. While Goldov is just broken, Adlet talks to Flamie. Yeah, yeah. She still hates him. He hopes she’ll come with them instead of fighting on her own. As the Braves prepare to set off, suddenly here comes the ‘ugly’ geeky chubby cow girl, Rolonia Manchetta. She knows Adlet and Maura. Do I sense some jealousy in Flamie? She apologizes for being late. She tried to meet up with them but the mist was activated and couldn’t get close. Everyone is shocked when she shows her mark on her chest! OMG! Back to square one! After all they’ve gone through, now this sh*t again? When the Gwenbyer king arrives, he reports that all the Fiends scattered across the continent are converging here in a few hours. There’ll be like 2,000 of them. The Braves wonder if this is another trap set by the fake assuming this will make them retreat. Since all the Braves start suspecting each other, Adlet puts his foot down. Not only as the strongest man in the world, as he is also not the seventh, he is the only one who is trustworthy. The rest agree to follow Adlet’s judgment. Adlet wants the king to activate the barrier in 30 minutes while the Braves race towards the Land of Howling Demons. Adlet might not know who is the seventh now but waiting for that to be revealed they may not have time to defeat the fake. The mist has arisen, their only escape route cut off. They can’t leave until they defeat the Demon God and that includes the seventh as well.

The Plot Thickens… With A Smile!
Incredible. Wow. It has been a while since I have felt such sort of ‘excitement’ watching every episode of an anime series. I have to admit that I was hooked from the start to finish despite there were some slow scenes. I never thought that a series which is entirely about figuring out a culprit among the pack could be this intriguing as well as interesting and when the dozen episodes end, I was like, “It’s over already?!”. At least for this season. But the ending has left me with mixed feelings. The sense that once the culprit was discovered, it was the feeling of, “Oh, it is going to be over”. But then they screw with us by putting back the same problem and resetting it back to square one. That itself is both interesting and a disappointment since it’s great that it is not really over yet but after a dozen episodes, the season had to be concluded. Get what I’m saying?

This series was hardly about the Braves fighting the Fiends or going on a journey to defeat the Demon God. That itself is just the setting and side distracting as for a big part of the series is dedicated in trying to figure out the plan of the seventh and ultimately who the perpetrator is. It did a good job in trying make us wonder and despite the small amount of casts, that makes it even harder because everybody is a damn suspect. Everybody is not what they seem. Just when you thought you think this person might be the seventh, then you get paranoid and perhaps this person couldn’t be the one. There are a lot of hints as well as duds thrown in along the way and with all the information known so far, once again it makes you paranoid and suspicious if this piece of information is the so called truth. After all, everybody is still a suspect. Thoughts that Adlet may be the seventh may start to creep in. Just because he is the main protagonist and the one being heavily accused, he might just be the mastermind who screwed everyone up. It just keeps you guessing. Could this guy be the one? Could he be not? You think you’re sure but you’re not. So therefore kudos to this series for the interesting pace and turn of events till the end.

Although I have not read the novel that this series is based on, I read somewhere over the internet that there were a handful of changes made when it was adapted. Primarily, the official names of some of the characters. In the novel, it was spelled as Nashetania, Goldof, Fremy, Chamo and Mora. It makes me wonder if this means the character designs and their personality were also slightly altered. Also, I read that the setting was supposed to be a European medieval-like setting but instead we got this South American Aztec-like setting. But whatever it is, this doesn’t dull the plot and pace so I’m okay with it.

Despite just having 7 main characters for the entire duration of the series, I can’t really say for sure if their characters are properly fleshed out. Personally I do not think that they are but that is good in a way in the sense that it keeps the mystery and suspense intact. Because you do not know deep about each character, compounded with the suspicions that are already building up on each character, you only know what is only as told by them. Even then, you are not sure if they are telling the truth. I do have a feeling that a lot of focus goes to Adlet since he is the Sherlock Holmes of this series as well as his interaction with Flamie. Nachetanya who started out the journey with Adlet looked like she might have been Adlet’s co-star but her focus starts to diminish after Adlet becomes suspect number one. It might have added to the clue that she could be it but then again, that could be paranoia playing up.

Therefore all the characters each with their own unique personalities are mostly both likeable and annoying (in a good way) at the same time. Like Adlet who is perhaps the luckiest man ever after surviving attempts to take his life after being setup. His penchant to claim he is the strongest man in the world also makes him annoying. It is like as though he is trying to get some sort of attention. While it is good to smile even in difficult times, somehow I find it both cool and annoying. Cool because it shows he can laugh at the face of danger instead of panicking and annoying because well, I don’t know, maybe it makes him look silly. That idiotic looks perhaps is the reason why Nachetanya made him her easy target. Otherwise, don’t you think she could have just pinned it on Goldov who is just freaking blindly loyal to her?

Speaking of Nachetanya, with the ultimate revelation of her in the end, it makes me wonder who she really is. Was she another Fiend just like Flamie? After all, what Flamie said about being the only half Fiend could just be another lie told by the Fiend leader. After all, you don’t need to know more than what is necessary, right? If you remember Nachetanya talked to Adlet in the initial episodes about her family. Her father the king became a puppet after causing a civil war. By right everyone in the family would have been persecuted. How come Nachetanya was spared? Could it be that the real Nachetanya had been secretly killed and being replaced by this Fiend imposter? Either everyone in her kingdom is under her control or fooled by her. Another theory could be that she is the real deal but just that her ideals have been defected to the Fiend and supports them. Anyhow, this series is the reason why I cannot totally trust cute bunny girls now…

Flamie is probably the best character in terms of her ‘insults’ and acid tongue she spews to Adlet. It is both amusing and annoying because on one hand she says she hates him and the next thing she says is totally in contrast of that. But she still hates him. I think. Maybe. She tells him not to talk to him but he ignores her and continues. And she continues responding to him. See the irony? Couldn’t she just ignore him? You can’t help it when an idiot like Adlet continues to keep pestering her until she looked like a cliché tsundere, which I think she really is. Just that she just doesn’t show lots of flustering emotions like typical tsundere types. It would have been fun to see some sort of romance brewing between the ladies for Adlet as a side distraction. After being bugged so many times by Adlet and his consistency to side by her no matter what, it’s no surprise that in the end even if an ugly cow girl jumps into the picture, she’s still a woman after all. Don’t take any chances. After all, if Flamie rejects him, who else is she going to live with when everything ends? Nobody trusts her like he does so don’t be a hero and go it alone.

Goldov is the most boring one since he moves only when Nachetanya tells him to. Sometimes he feels like a robot. Caught in between his duty to protect his princess and his love for her. Well, it didn’t end too well for him but he had to suck it up and continue his responsibility as a Brave. Hans is an interesting character thanks to his cat-like personality and his cat fist techniques. Chamot feels like a brat and also a creepy kid who uses her leaf to vomit out Fiends! I guess that isn’t just a toy. The only person who could put her in place is the ever serious ‘grandma’ Maura. Who says high priestesses don’t make mistakes? And now with Rolonia in the fray, she might seem like an earnest person but after all that we’ve been through for the past dozen episodes, can we be more paranoid than ever?

Instead of being 100% drama, I guess some action bits are necessary to ditch the monotony and add some spice. They are entertaining if I should say the least as each of the Braves possess their own particular fighting skills and techniques which makes it interesting when they pit against each other. The most interesting one for me was Adlet taking on Hans as we could see the versatility and dexterity of Hans as an assassin using his cat-like tactics. Fights with Fiends aren’t too shabby either although they are mostly in the initial episodes. Be prepared for some bloody scenes when the Fiends are hacked and slashed.

Art and drawing feels rather okay although I do notice that in some scenes there is a drop in quality but it isn’t that all that bad. Since this series is done by a Passione, a relatively new anime production studio and only recently founded in 2013 whose only other works are Rail Wars and Haitai Nanafa, I guess there is much room for improvement. Character designs are rather okay for a fantasy themed genre but I can’t help question certain flora or fauna themes for certain characters like Nachetanya the bunny girl, Hans the cat guy, Chamot the frog (I don’t know, she’s so green, right?), Flamie the flower girl and the latest addition Rolonia the cow girl. I wished Rolonia could have been better designed. Personally I thought she really looked unpretty (ugly feels like an insult word too strong to use these days) and with all the bishonen, bishoujo and kawaii looking characters (even Atro wasn’t that bad as an old hobo geezer), this one somewhat ruins it in the end. The Fiends are all CGI effects and personally they do look scary to me because they look like one of those scary creatures that come out from Asian folklores or legends. Thank goodness they don’t make that many appearances.

Aoi Yuuki is in one of her very rare roles where she voices an emotionless character. Hearing her as Flamie instantly brings back memories of similar characters like Tooru in A Channel and Shizuno from Seken Tsukai No World Break. I couldn’t recognize Rina Satou as Maura since she’s putting on a slightly lower voice instead. Maybe all that paranoia of suspecting everyone also had me unable to pinpoint Youko Hikasa behind Nachetanya’s voice. So much so I thought it was Kana Hanazawa making a cameo as Rolonia but was actually Hisako Kanemoto. Other casts include Souma Saitou as Adlet (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill), Kouki Uchiyama as Goldov (Kanie in Amagi Brilliant Park), Kenichi Suzumura as Hans (Sougou in Gintama), Ai Kakuma as Chamot (Rossweisse in High School DxD BorN) and Tamio Ohki as Atro (Kikunojou in Black Bullet). Miyuki Sawashiro also had a cameo as the narrator and the young version of Adlet.

Cry For The Truth is the first opening theme sung by Michi (I thought it sounded a little bit flat, this rock tune) while Black Swallowtail by Uroboros does the second and this one sounds a bit better with its faster rock theme. Although Secret Sky by Michi is the main ending theme (which has that medieval and Celtic feel to it), there are a couple of character themed songs, namely the suspiciously K-ON!-like rock based Dance In The Fake by Nachetanya (I hope this wasn’t a dead giveaway) and Nameless Heart by Flamie, a slow lovely rock ballad.

Overall, this anime is a pleasant surprise. It does well to make us think that this would be another run of the mill action fantasy but as it turns out it wasn’t. It becomes a detective game and mystery genus that gets you hooked and addicted quickly. Deception from the start, no? A big hint that teaches us not to trust in what we see and hear anymore, a theme that has been playing a vital part for a big portion of this series. Despite its drawn out drama, it doesn’t feel boring as the engaging feel makes viewers try to think and guess who the seventh is. I hope there is another season that continues with this awesome mystery. Can I trust the producers for that? After all, it could be that all of them are fakes and none of them are the real Braves. Because the real ones are all dead! These Braves are all puppets of the Fiends to revive the Demon God! Haha! That’s what happened when paranoia has gotten to you. And the best part is… I’m smiling for both reasons :-).