Curated From www.animenewsnetwork.com Check Them Out For More Content.
This is an episode of parallels. Sariphi may see herself in Fenrir (which, frankly, makes her more compassionate than almost anyone I know), but what feels like the more immediately important lines are drawn between Nir and Lante. Lante was never enslaved, at least not as far as we know, but despite that, he comes from the same sort of desperation that Nir does. Both were blamed for stealing and were eventually rescued by someone in power and given a purpose. The only significant difference lies in who did the saving – Lante’s position at Sari’s side may be nominally the same as Nir’s at Fenrir’s, but their bosses see them in very different lights. Although it isn’t said directly, Fenrir expects Nir to sacrifice everything for him, which probably doesn’t have much to do with him being (having been?) an enslaved person. On the other hand, Sari tells Lante this week that his job isn’t to die for her; it’s to live protecting her.
On the surface, that looks like semantics. After all, dying for the person you guard is typically a form of protection, albeit the last one. But the difference is in the details here – Sariphi expects Lante to live to continue fulfilling his role, while Fenrir seems perfectly content to have Nir die in the fulfillment. Both equate to loyalty in their minds, and both are subservient roles. But one values the other person, while the other regards him as disposable, a pretty drastic difference. I know which one I’d prefer.
When Sari remarks that she sees her own story in Fenrir’s, she’s offering that same compassion to him that she shows Lante when she won’t let him sacrifice himself for her – twice now, in this story arc. She’s telling Fenrir that he matters and should never have been put in the position he was as a little pup, and I think we can all agree that that’s true. Any parent who would chop off one of their children’s ears is nothing short of a monster, wolf or no, and with that mutilation, they as good as told Fenrir that he was worthless because he lost a somewhat arbitrary duel. Fenrir wants to be king because he thinks that’s how he’ll reclaim his self-worth. When he realizes that Leonhart loves Sariphi, he finally sees another way to that goal, but he’s so stuck in his head that he can’t figure out that there might be more to love than just throwing things at her. Love must be earned, and that’s something he can’t fathom because of his experiences as a child.
What’s interesting here is that Leonhart had the same struggle – his full-moon transformations left him feeling less-than, and his father’s coldness towards him certainly didn’t help. The difference between him and Fenrir is that Leonhart opted to remain kind, which is really the other side of the coin from where Fenrir is. It may have helped that he had Anubis because, unlike Nir, Anubis wasn’t bought or looked at as a lesser being. Sure, he’s a pill, but Anubis has always been unfailingly devoted to Leonhart, even when it gets in the way of the romance plot of the series. We may disagree with him, but it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have Leonhart’s best interests at heart. And even he’s capable of realizing his hypocrisy, as he does this week when Nir remarks that Anubis ought to serve a wolf king because they’re both canids. Anubis snaps back that species doesn’t matter before thinking of Leonhart and Sari, so at least he’s getting a bit of a clue. And anyone Jormungand likes can’t be all bad. I guess.