Last episode saw Naofumi tracking Ren and Motoyasu to recruit them in fighting the Phoenix, with mixed success. But for the first time, this episode focuses on an unexpected character.
The Sword Hero himself, Ren.
Memories of the Past
It’s no secret that, with the exception of Naofumi who was brought to Melromarc while he’s still alive, the rest of the Cardinal Heroes already died in their past lives before they were summoned.
Ren’s past is almost typical, to the point that he could be the protagonist himself. He’s an introvert, a gamer, and he died after getting stabbed to protect his classmates—a cliché origin for an isekai MC.
And like most isekai protagonist, Ren initially treated his new world like a game. He was confident, cool, and level-headed since he “knew” the ins and outs of the world. And it didn’t help that it was exactly like the game he played in his world’s Japan, Brave Star Online.
Thus, it was no surprise that he would grow so sure of himself that got his party killed while fighting the Spirit Tortoise. His guilt and trauma, combined with his own arrogance, only blinded him to his own faults, leading to Malty’s manipulation.
What’s sadder, however, is that Malty’s betrayal should have been expected. Instead, Ren sank so low that he finally experienced what Naofumi had went through, being shunned by the same people who once admired him. But unlike Naofumi, Ren succumbed to his own self-loathing and became a vicious bandit with a new and dangerous power.
Greed and Gluttony
In previous seasons, we were introduced to the Curse series for Naofumi’s shield. And while its power proved useful against many of his difficult battles, it always comes with a price: his sanity. Indeed, it’s aptly named Wrath.
Ren’s own curse series is much the same, but quite different. For the first time, we see a nearly berserker Sword Hero who fights so wildly that Naofumi barely has time to recover from each attack. And it seems that the Sword’s curse shares a similarity with the Shield’s.
Their curses are tied to the seven deadly sins.
Indeed, Ren’s desire and obsession to be the strongest, stemming from his recent traumas, gave him the power of Greed and Gluttony. But it’s still at its weakest stage, evident when Naofumi just keep shattering and surviving Ren’s attacks.
Ren’s sanity is slipping, that’s for certain. And faster than Naofumi when he was using the power of Wrath. Still, it’s not Ren’s fault entirely; Naofumi had Raphtalia, Filo, and even Melty to restrain his fury. Ost helped too, purifying the Wrath’s influence. Meanwhile, Ren is all alone. And we’ve seen what being alone did to Motoyasu, even if their situation is different.
Fortunately, Ren doesn’t have to be alone anymore.
Éclair’s character barely has screen time over the course of the series. Granted, this is Naofumi’s story, but the plot also focuses on other characters, like this episode.
Thus, it is quite odd that she’ll be the one to finally stop Ren’s rampage. Even so, she does manage to break through the Sword Hero’s distress by pointing out his flaws—something that Naofumi did earlier but quite differently. Of course, Éclair is a beautiful girl, so it definitely helps.
And perhaps everything she said strikes Ren in a way that Naofumi’s words. After all, Ren’s desire to grow stronger merely stems from his drive to fulfill his role as the Sword Hero, which is just thrusted upon him—he has no purpose of his own, which Éclair bluntly tells him.
In the end, this is exactly what Ren needs to hear. And now he’s ready to become a better person.
While Ren is now on the path to improvement, the same couldn’t be said of Motoyasu. Even though he’s now an ally, he’s quite… not right in the head.
The scene is comical, but the way he massacres the two otherworld bandits, who also attacked Ren earlier, is every bit as creepy as his infatuation with Filo. Still, it does show his newfound strength, and it does end two potential threats.
Or does it? While Raphtalia destroys their souls—apparently, at least—it’s never confirmed if they are indeed dead. But the most important question is, are there more of them?
The episode is action-packed and fast-paced, which is a nice change from the previous slice of life episode 5. It’s also nice to see other characters other than Naofumi getting the spotlight, especially a Cardinal Hero like Ren, and see their improvement. However, perhaps another episode solely dedicated on Ren’s character development would have made things even better.
Episode score: 7.5/10