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This episode is, I believe, the bloodiest we’ve seen from Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts. It makes sense because Fenrir is so caught up in his past loss against Leonhart that he’s gone way beyond being able to talk things out, and by kidnapping (in Leon’s mind) Sariphi, he’s ensured that the king won’t want to have a friendly chat, either. My issues with this brutal battle are probably mine alone – my dog Max was very likely a bait dog before I adopted him, based on his head and facial scarring, lack of teeth, and missing half-ear. That means that watching two animals rip into each other felt particularly difficult. On the plus side, the fighting is very well done – it has Fenrir and Leonhart ripping into each other much like animals would fight with teeth and claws, and the episode doesn’t hold back on showing it. There’s not necessarily ripping and tearing, but we see teeth sinking in and claws targeting vulnerable areas. It’s a lot, especially considering that most of this series has been more about political battles of wit rather than gruesome physical warfare.
Along with being bloody, this is also a sad episode, not for Leonhart and Sari, because true love always shines through for them. But Fenrir and Nir’s ending is much more tragic than anything else about them led us to expect. We knew that Fenrir had a sizeable chip on his shoulder and that Nir’s devotion to him was total. But Nir carrying out Fenrir’s request to kill him before Leonhart could and then flying off with his corpse? And then sitting out on a rock and talking to it? That’s heartbreaking right there. Fenrir may have done terrible things, but this is a world without psychiatric care, and after what was done to him, he had no way to deal with it healthily. From the moment of his childhood loss, Fenrir was told that he wasn’t worth anything, not his royal rank and certainly not his father’s love. His entire value was laid in defeating Leon, and if he failed a second time, he honestly thought he had nothing left to live for. And if we’re being frank, Nir may have done him a mercy because even in anime, no one with that much blood pouring out of their mouth is long for this world.
Could Fenrir have been saved if he’d had someone like Sariphi? I don’t know. Nir certainly cared about him a lot, which doesn’t seem to have helped. And Sari was able to heal Leonhart’s heart because what he was after was acceptance, and he was already acting out the sort of kindness he was looking for. Fenrir may have been too far gone, poisoned by his father’s toxicity. And really, we shouldn’t look for someone else to save us – Sari is a good example of this. She knows that she’ll likely be saved, but she doesn’t sit around on her thumbs waiting for it. Fenrir doesn’t seem to have had that sort of emotional resilience. It’s tragic all around, mainly because we can see Lante learning from what Sari has told him and what he’s observed on his own. Yes, Jor could have told him that his job is to live, not die, but it meant more in his situation, where he could see the flip side in Nir and hear it from Sari’s own mouth. There’s a kind of saving that requires your consent, which Fenrir, and possibly Nir, never understood.
We’re getting close to the series’ end game now, and even without the recently released promotional material, you can guess who the next trial will involve. It’s good that Sariphi has such good friends and allies to rely upon because she may need more than just a hug from Amit to get through.
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