I confess: I completely forgot about To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts. What can I say? This season is proving to be a good one, packed with a lot of promising shows. Something was going to fall to the wayside. I considered just ditching Beasts entirely but for the sake of fairness, I decided to watch Episode 2.
Rather than proceed with Hank’s vendetta first, the story actually takes a slight step back in the timeline and shifts the spotlight over to Schaal (Ai Kakuma), the daughter of one of the Incarnates, William (Daisuke Hirakawa). Remember William? I personally didn’t. I actually had to check if he was in Episode 1. Sure enough, he was present and he even mentioned his daughter as well as the orphanage he manages in some throwaway scene. Call that negligence but in my defense, what the hell was I supposed to focus on in that premiere?
Confused though I was at first, I did enjoy this episode more than the first one. It at least felt more like a single chapter and not a whole story arc worth of material crammed into 30 minutes. Even more appreciative than that is that the episode takes the time to explore one of the soldiers, how being an Incarnate would affects their very being, and how their family deals with the fact their loved one is essentially now a monster. The pacing is still a little brisk but you’re able to believe and relate with what Schaal is going through. She loves her father dearly and the more she sees his condition deteriorate, the more she struggles to admit that something is wrong. That’s easily an improvement from the premiere where stuff just happens because they have to.
The part where Hank finally reappears and kills William is surprisingly a really smart piece of writing. Did William put a fight at all? The scene is very vague as to whether or not he did. I like to think he didn’t and that deep down, he wanted someone like Hank to kill him. By this point, he technically hasn’t degraded into a berserk killer like the other Incarnates but chances are, he was going to get to that phase at some point. Maybe Hank was really doing him a favor, putting him out of his misery because he truly loses himself and, worse, endanger his daughter. Killing William before he truly does anything awful also muddles Schaal’s perception of the murder. To her, Hank comes across as a heartless killer. It’s only when she tries to advocate for another Incarnate’s innocence and see him go a rampage that she realizes that Hank must have a reason for his quest.
Which brings me to what exactly Schaal is here to do in this story. She wants to avenge her father’s death but she also wants answers and Hank is currently the only one who can provide them. I do question why Hank doesn’t just tell her the truth. Considering what she just saw, she may very well believe anything. Maybe seeing is just believing for her. Not that I’m opposed to Schaal accompanying Hank. I like the concept — a man traveling to kill his former comrades, joined by someone who wants to kill him. Besides, the truth is that this anime did pick up once she showed up. Having her around doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me.
OP: “Sacrifice” by Mafumafu
ED: “HHOOWWLL” by Gero x ARAKI
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