There’s a new Vassal Hero!
Episode 10 gives us some of the best moments in this season so far. It focuses on Raphtalia, which finally receives another development and a great boost in her power.
Continuing from where the previous episode left off, Raphtalia finds herself imprisoned in the Prison of Exhaustion, where powers are suppressed. But as fate would have it, she isn’t alone, and we finally learn just where Glass and her party had been all this time.
Their capture was a real surprise given the trouble they had caused Naofumi, but it also emphasized just how dangerous and cunning Kyo could be. Thankfully, Raphtalia is a smart one who doesn’t let grudges get in the way of returning to her master, and neither are L’Arc and the others really hate her, especially with her present adorable appearance, so the two sides renewed their temporary truce in order for them to escape.
Among Former Enemies
Raphtalia’s brief adventure with Glass’s party gives us a different perspective of the group. While they are certainly not evil, considering the help they gave during the Spirit Tortoise arc, this episode fleshes out their characters and motivations. Therese is a selfless individual who is more than willing to sell her gems to feed the group, and L’Arc is still the older brother figure he has long since shown. But the surprising one is Glass, who has a softer side that we haven’t really seen much, if at all.
Their treatment of Raphtalia is really endearing, and it is quite unbelievable that they are the same group who nearly destroyed, and still actively seeks to, Raphtalia’s world. Though in hindsight, they are simply just trying to protect theirs. Moreover, it is obvious that Glass is really fond of Kizuna, showing a wide range of emotions when she learned of her escape.
The New Katana Hero
Unfortunately, Raphtalia is not really safe, even if she is with Glass’s party. The Katana Vassal weapon has, on a strange twist of fate, chosen her to be its wielder rather than Kazuki, leading to a wild goose chase that ultimately led her to acquiring a new outfit and regaining her older form.
Raphtalia as the Katana Hero is perfection at its finest. She’s so skilled with the blade that her every movement is flawless, like she had been born to be a Vassal Hero. Not even Kazuki’s experiments, which are copies of that world’s guardian beasts, could fully stop her. Nor could Kazuki do anything against her overwhelming strength and newfound power.
Interestingly enough, Raphtalia refuses to kill Kazuki, partly because he is not really actively trying to hurt her, at least before she got the Katana, and partly because Raphtalia is inherently good-natured and merciful, even against enemies.
Except for Kyo, of course.
For Her Beloved Master
All throughout this season, and even in the previous one, Raphtalia has relied on Naofumi, and vice-versa. But after all this time, she has often treated herself as a tool, something who should be helping her master in exchange for his benevolence.
Their separation changed that; Raphtalia realizes that she just didn’t want to be a “sword” for Naofumi. She wants to remain standing beside him, with her own strength, and being a Katana Hero will finally let her do just that. In fact, the removal of her slave crest is like a symbolism of her growth—she is now really free, as Naofumi would say when they are reunited at last just in time before Raphtalia dies from a monster after spending too much of her power. Now, she could finally stand next to him as an equal.
The episode may be a bit fast-paced, and perhaps it could have spent more time expanding Raphtalia’s interactions with Glass’s party. Nevertheless, it is a heartwarming and epic episode all the same, especially now that Raphtalia is the Katana Hero. And with Katana and Shield fighting side by side, Kyo should find himself in a lot of trouble.
Episode score: 8/10.