Yeah, we’re doing the Thursday thing again. No good reason this time, though. I just didn’t get this done until last night because I was busy with a bunch of other stuff. Basically, I’m not managing my time super well.
As I expected, this week was all about facing the Goblin party that caused the death of Manato. Out heroes, who are truly deserving of being called that now, have trained hard for this moment, and believe themselves to be ready. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but Mary at least is worried about it all.
Which creates an interesting situation, when you think about it. She’s seen this sort of thing before, this belief that a party was ready, when they weren’t. Considering how rough this bunch was when she joined, it’s easy to understand how she might have misgivings.
Yet, this isn’t arrogance, or even confidence driving them. This is calm rational. They know what they can do, how to use their skills, and trust in their gear. Everything up to this point has been training, not just in their individual ability, but as a team. Which gives them a sureness not born of confidence or arrogance, but of practice and trust.
The difference is monumental, really.
So, how did they fair? Let’s see.
Where the show usually opens with some opening shots of Ortana, typically at dawn, this week we start with the abandoned city. The same lingering and beautiful camera work, but there’s that subtle difference, taking us out of our comfort zone, just as the party is stepping out of theirs.
Tucked away in a side street, between two buildings, they are preparing mentally for the biggest fight of their lives. Ranta encourages Haru to say something, but as usual, he fumbles it. Everyone expect Ranta is happy to roll with it, though.
At least, until Mary speaks up, asking Haru if he is calm. He admits that if he were alone, and thought he could win, he’d probably rush in without a thought. But, he isn’t alone. He has his party. They all have one another. Today, they aren’t just looking to avenge Manato, but themselves. They let him die, or so they feel, and this is where they make that right, not just by killing the Goblins who took Manato’s life, but by every one of them coming home, alive.
Mary understands this, and has her own demons to deal with, to prove to herself she can do this. She can make sure everyone in her party lives, and goes home. For all of them, this is about proving to themselves they can survive this world.
We saw previously that they had already located the Goblin party’s base of operations, and spent some time scouting it to get an idea of numbers, patrol patterns, and security. They know where and how to come at them, leaving the Goblin sitting up high as a spotter completely unprepared.
Of course, if he’d spent more time doing his job, and less imagining shooting a fellow Goblin in the back, he might have noticed their approach. I guess being over confident isn’t limited to just humans. Emphasizing this is that inside the base, an old cathedral from the look of it, three Goblins are playing cards while the giant one sleeps. Upstairs from them, two others, including the one who recovered Haru’s lost dagger, are playing chess.
This is an interesting scene to me, because while we’ve had a lot of hints that these Goblins are far from stupid, clumsy creatures, to see two of them actually playing chess really drives home just how intelligent they really are. It adds a layer to the show in doing so, as well, because the party isn’t going out slaying stupid monsters, but attacking intelligent beings who are also trying to survive, and possibly, have been pressed into service just as the party has. It gives the whole show an extra aura of the tragic, and makes me wonder if there are future revelations coming about the nature of Grimgar.
All that aside, it’s time for the action, which this episode is big on.
The party positions themselves at key points, and on Haru’s signal, make their move, beginning with Yume taking out the Goblin sitting up high. Like I said, he probably should have been paying attention. Now he’s dead, though at least he never saw it coming, and had no idea what hit him.
Damn, but Yume’s gotten good with that bow.
When he hits the ground, it catches the attention of a patrolling guard, who Haru nearly takes out with a single blow. After a brief struggle, Ranta finishes the Goblin off, but he managed to get out a warning cry, and inside, the Goblin party is mobilizing, as Moguzo comes crashing in.
Yume slips ahead of him, clearing the way for he, Shihoru and Mary. Across the main hall, Ranta gives an all clear from he and Haru’s side, and the party advances up the stairs. Two Goblins come down as they head up, but are no match for the party and quickly dispatched, leaving Moguzo to take the lead up on side as Haru heads up the other.
Then, the big Goblin and Moguzo meet, setting up an epic clash.
Well, mostly. The other Goblins accidentally shoot the big one in the back. He isn’t fazed by it much, but doesn’t seem to like it, either. They quickly realize their mistake, and move in to flank Moguzo, but Ranta arrives and holds them back, leaving the two heavy hitters to slug it out.
The Goblin who seems to lead the party, one of the ones playing chess earlier, is watching when he gets an arrow to the side from Yume. He isn’t impressed, though, and charges she and Haru. Thanks to the tight quarters, his spear is less effective than their daggers, and they quickly dominate the battle.
While they might be holding their own, Moguzo is struggling to keep up with the giant Goblin, and Ranta is barely managing to defend himself against two Goblins that have ganged up on him. He manages to get some space, hoping to lure them into better terms, but they don’t fall for it.
Haru realizes that these guys know how humans fight, a suspicion that is backed up when Shihoru casts sleep on the giant, but Moguzo is unable to take advantage because the two that were fighting Ranta move to cover him. One keeps Moguzo busy while the other wakes the giant up from the spell. These guys don’t just know how humans fight, they know how magic works, and how to defend against it.
All of which puts this fight on totally different terms than the party was expecting. Still, it’s too late to back down and regroup, so all they can do is press ahead.
While Haru was processing all this, he took his eyes of the Goblin he was fighting, however, leading to Yume getting stabbed in the shoulder.
Haru dives back in, trying to distract the Goblin from Yume, but as a Thief, he isn’t as skilled at straight forward, one on one combat. Mary arrives, however, and distracts the Goblin, giving Haru a chance to get behind him and get a blow in that takes the Goblin down. He manages to drag Haru with him, however, and the two struggle with each other briefly before Haru gets several more blows in. As he tries to finish the Goblin, it catches him in the side with its spear, knocking him away. The Goblin slips away as Haru recovers and Mary tends to Yume’s injury.
Haru starts to go after the Goblin, but Ranta is still in a two on one, and Moguzo has taken too many blows, making him punch drunk and clumsy. Shihoru goes for another sleep spell, but the giant dodges it, and Moguzo starts to go down.
Mary heals him form a distance, revitalizing him just in time. Yume distracts one of the Goblins off Ranta as he ties up the other. Shihoru starts casting again, this time as she runs, leaving Haru to tackle a Goblin that came after her exposed flank. As she finishes the spell, she’s right on top of the giant Goblin, giving it no room to dodge. Moguzo pulls himself up as the giant falls asleep, and with a heavy blow, he finishes it, knocking it completely through the floor.
Seeing the situation turn against them, the three remaining Goblins try to run for it, but don’t get far, one taken out by Ranta as Mary runs to Shihoru’s side. From across the room, Ranta calls her gambit reckless, but well done, getting an honest smile from her. The party regroups and heads up after the leader, all that’s left.
Or so they think.
They find him sitting at the table he was playing chess at earlier, bleeding heavily, near death. As the party surrounds him, they find it was a trap, when the one he was playing chess with gets the drop on Mary, shooting her in the back.
Mary staggers and falls. With the party distracted, the leader makes his move.
It almost works. Clearly, this Goblin wasn’t just smart, he was clever. He lured them in, disabled their healer, and got the drop on them all. It was a brilliant play, and it almost worked.
The sniper goes for a second shot to finish Mary, but Haru blocks the shot, taking the arrow through his hand. He won’t let another Priest die, not to this bunch, and not the same way. That simply isn’t an option, not today, not any day, ever.
As the leader charges, Yume gets a blow in across his leg that sends him to the floor. Ranta nearly takes his head, but hits armor and gets thrown. As the Goblin leader turns to try and get up, Moguzo lands a blow that finishes him, leaving only the sniper, who decides to high tail it out of there.
Haru crouches by Mary, who catches her breath and apologizes for making him worry. The hit just hurt a lot more than she expected, but is not fatal. If he can remove the arrow, she can heal herself. Haru leaves that to the others, yanking the arrow out of his hand, and heading after the last Goblin, who has escaped onto the roof.
There, as they prepare to fight, Haru sees it draw his old dagger. After a brief skirmish, he disarms the Goblin, sending his old dagger clattering down the roof. Before he can finish the little bastard, it rolls them both over the edge, sending them sliding down as well. It ends up atop him, choking him, and his dagger is blocked where he can’t use it. Yume calls out, drawing Haru’s eye, and he sees his old dagger laying within reach. Grabbing it, he ends the battle with a single blow.
It is a moment of great triumph for this bunch. From the first episode, where they struggled to take out a single Goblin, to now, when they have defeated a powerful party of Goblins, and thanks to teamwork, and everyone knowing their role in the party, they have emerged, not just alive, but victorious.
The next day, the party gathers in the cemetery, before Manato’s headstone. They have come so far, and none of them would be there now had it not been for him. Both in his guidance, and in his sacrifice, he prepared them for this world, and to become the people they have. So, now, they wish to honor that.
It is in how they choose to do this that shows how much they have truly grown. They have come to show him not just their official badges, marking them as no longer being trainees, but to give him his as well. Haru knows Manato likely wouldn’t have approved of spending their money on something he has no need of, but it was something they needed to do, not just for themselves, but for Manato, so that he will always be one of them.
So that he will always be with them.
As Shihoru weeps for his loss, held by Yume, Ranta is the first to leave. Moguzo joins him, and after a moment, Haru and Mary depart as well, leaving the others to mourn at this true and final goodbye. They have moved on, grown, and avenged his loss. There is nothing left now, but to live on.
Snow falls as Haru and Mary walk side by side back to town, saying nothing to one another. At last, Haru asks after her injuries, and she tells him they are fine, though she needs to mend her clothes, since they now have a hole in them.
This leads, in a very roundabout way, to Haru saying that like clothes, there are some injuries magic can’t heal, before admitting that he knew about Mary’s history, and the three friends she lost. He apologizes for bringing it up, and for having gone behind her back to learn of it, knowing it isn’t something she really wants to talk about.
Mary admits that it does still hurt, but hearing him talk about it, she finds that it doesn’t hurt as much as she thought, and then, in one of the most beautiful, quiet little moments that this show so excels at, she smiles at him and says she’ll see him tomorrow.
Haru knows. He knows how special it is, that she said what she did, and that she could smile even with that memory being the talked about. Like her new friends, she has begun to walk the road to healing, moving on, and living again.
Finally, Mary has come back from the mine.
Next week: “How To Rest”