The “Mater” arc comes to its conclusion and it stands as my favorite episode to date. It manages to balance awesome action set pieces and scenes of poignant tragedy and sweetness.
While the doll is initially skeptical of Allen, she eventually warms up and makes one last request, to stay with the old man until he dies. She tells them about how she was left alone when the town was abandoned. For decades, she had only come across five people, none of whom accepted her. Guzol was the first to do so and they had become incredibly close over the years.
It’s a sweet scene, but it also shows that the young girl isn’t as innocent as she lets on. She makes it clear that had Guzol rejected her, she would have killed him as she had the others before him.
While the story leaves a mark on Allen, Yu Kanda is unfazed because he’s just cold like that. Instead, he insists that they kill the doll and take the innocence. He does have a valid point as the Clown is hot on their trail. I just don’t get why they don’t split the difference and take the pair with them. The girl is clearly strong enough to carry the old man, she was tossing around stone pillars like they were nothing. You could relocate and evade the homicidal monster while still allowing the two lovebirds to remain together for their final moments together. She was perfectly willing to let them have the innocence when all was said and done, so it isn’t like she was resisting them in that regard.
I suppose it’s a moot point as the Clown finds them and takes the innocence for himself. Faint heart never won fair…magical stuff.
Allen doesn’t take kindly to this development. Not. One. Bit. His rage and hate (which even takes Yu Kanda aback) is enough to push his anti-Akuma weapon to new heights, giving him the option of wielding either a giant gun or a giant sword.
It does give him the upper hand, but as it drains his body too quickly, Allen is unable to kill the Clown on his own. As I predicted, it is only through a combined effort of Yu Kanda and Allen that the monster is finally brought down once and for all. It was a rather awesome moment, seeing the two of them open fire simultaneously.
In an interesting subversion, the two exorcists don’t really come to terms with one another. Usually with episodes or story arcs like this, the two conflicting allies will earn some level of respect for one another and start to put aside their differences but that doesn’t happen here. Even though Yu Kanda does break his word and come to Allen’s aid, he still makes a point to say that he hates him. Whether it is because of his overly optimistic attitude or the possibility that he wasn’t going to honor his word and kill the creature on his own becomes a moot point that even Allen notes.
This actually works from a writing perspective as not only is it a bit more realistic and less cliched, but it leaves the opportunity open for later conflicts between the two without it feeling like the writers have hit a reset button or are forcing their characters backwards.
This was an incredibly strong episode. Being the first major monster of the series, the Clown goes down in a fitting blaze of glory. We get some solid character development with two of the main characters and, as mentioned before, it does a really good job of tugging on your heartstrings in the process. As was the case with the previous episode, the haunting music only augments the emotions at play here.
While a part of me worries that the bar has been set rather high this early in the series, I have a feeling that the show has found its footing and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.