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Steven J. Mepham

Spoilers for Cape of Spirits Season 2 Episode 34. I highly recommend reading A Cape of Spirits prior to continuing. Check it out.

Episode 34 starts pretty much where 33 left off, bar a small summary of the final act, A shocked Flayvus and our Mysterious Assailant (my pet name for them) are the focal points that spring us right back into the centre of the action. Our first new panel shows the Mysterious Assailant withdraw their wires from the female assistant post electrocution. If you thought this Android would be passive you would be dead wrong. The way they yank their wires back leaves little room for confusion. As the panel moves on we see the Mysterious Assailant approach Nina and press one of the blue circle points on her head. I’m almost convinced that these are Artificial coins but that is speculation for another time. Though Nina opens her eyes, there is a dead quality to them as though while the lights have been turned on, the essence that makes Nina, Nina has not truly woken up. True to his feeling, Flayvus cries Nina’s name a worried look on his face while our Mysterious Assailant does something, Their eyes closed.

The blue electric currents in this panel mixed with Nina’s glowing but seeming dead eyes make me think some sort of data exchange is going on. When the blue lines stop, Nina closes her eyes again and the glowing blue slots on the side of her head dims to an ominous grey. It makes me wonder if Nina has been decommissioned. I surely hope not. The next pannels show our Mysterious Assailant make for the door. Coldly ignoring a still bound Flayvus. They hesitate at Flayvus’ protests and ask “Who are you?” What sort of attitude does this android have? They seem ruthless. Utterly different from the pragmatic but caring nature Nina had. As Flayvus gives his name, the Mysterious Assailant plays back some of what can only be Nina’s Memories.

This has to be one of my favourite Flayvus panels. Depicting Nina’s memory of the moment that Flayvus showed his loyalty to Jinsei at the end of season one. What I love about it is that the sequence being juxtaposed shows his grim determination and the shock Jinsei had. It was clear Jinsei did not expect this sort of action from Flayvus, had the empire not defeated them, I am certain this would have ended with Flayvus’ death. The Axe crashing into his spine, and the blood from the corner of his mouth all make it abundantly clear this would have been painful. Yet Flayvus is almost smiling, grim determination radiating from his eyes. It is a depiction of complex loyalty that is very hard to deny, let alone pull off. I think Kristina should be very proud.

The next panel shows our Mysterial assailant hesitate at the door and then step back into the room.

It seems you’re useful. Come i’ll use you as my human shield.

mysterious assailant.

Now this line made me laugh and I can’t help but be impressed by this nonchalant character. I have no reservations in thinking they are being dead serious. This pragmatic android is going to be amusing to watch

Though I wouldn’t usually include two back to back panels, this exchange was so amusing I just had to. The attitude of this non-binary Android is simply sublime. I love their inclusion also, far too often authors avoid representation like this, so to see it displayed in such an unapologetic, blatant fashion is not only great but commendable. I also love the overflowing confidence of this Android. Not only are they Non-binary but they are a strong character, holding the qualities usually reserved for the older grizzled “badass” warriors such as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. Flayvus’ reaction to our Mysterious non-binary assailant is simply beautiful. This is an example of what true representation should look like.

Oky, sure. What did… you do to nine??

Flayvus to Mysterious assailant.

There is no fanfare, no confusion, no awkwardness just simple acceptance. It is similar to how Wendy Lian Martin handles same-sex relationships in Castle Swimmer. Too often any representation is given the “other” treatment, but in both of these worlds, it is treated with the same emphasis as one would eye or hair colour. In other words, it doesn’t matter it just is.

As the panels move on we learn that the Mysterious Assailant has downloaded all of nine’s memory, info and assets. As “She’s not fully repaired” Nine is unable to continue her mission. However that has not stopped the mysterous assailant from leaving something that will be usefu later. I just hope it isn’t instruction for nine to self detonate – though at the momet there is nothing to indicate that they would – that said the Mysterious Assailant does seem pretty ruthless. With Flayvus freed, the mysterious Assailant then makes to leave. When questioned by Flyvus as to whether they can Nina they respond with.

You can stay with her if you want, and continue whatever they were doing to you.

Mysterious Assailant to Flayvus.

The shocked look on Flayvus’ face is juxtaposed with an emotionless almost regretful look on the Mysterious Assailants. I can almost believe that they too find the notion detestable. But that does not sway them their course. They leave with a “I have to go. I detect guards coming.”

Flayvus is clearly hesitant. On the one hand he will be caught if he stays and he cannot carry Nina with him as that would hinder his own escape. He also has to bust Kanae and Jinsei out. It is clear that his gaze is pinned on the sleeping form of Nina and that hesistance holds him back. when he looks up and notices the Mysterious Assaiant gone, Flayvus snaps out of his hesitance and runs after them. The next pannel shows us the dank underground passage of the prision and then finally Kanae who is alone in a cell. She glances up as some guards hurry by. There is an explosion in the passage outside her cell as one of the guards scream “It’s a monster.” The next pannel shows a figure obscured in a dust cloud, blue glowing eyes permeate the gloom and then hands grab the bars. Kanae seems to flinch only to be greeted by a grinning Flayvus who declares “We’re getting out of here!!” It is a nice reunion because you can see the strength and spirit Kanae possess and the bond between her and Flayvus.

There is a small timeskip to the trio running down a passage questioning Jinsei’s location. I particuly like how this is a back shot of the trio. The Mysterious assailant is at the front leading Flayvus and Kanae. They confirm that they are getting close due to the tracker, given to Jinsei in episode 32. In one of the few moments where the Mysterious Assailant seems to actually care, they pull Flayvus and Kanae down as soliers march past and then activate a coin. A camoflage begins to cover the trio in what is one of the coolest looking panels in the episode. I especially like that the part of Kanae and the Mysterious Assailant that is visible tells us exactly how this coin works. The coin covers them in an energy field that slowly turns them transparent. The coin that the Msterious Assailant used has a coundown that ticks down which is a simple but great way to ensure the powers evoked are also limited. It makes sense why this coin was not used earlier – and indicates just how much thought has been given to world building.

The Mysterious Assailant begins to stalk one of the guards. However as they near, something happens to their foot and they are instead slammed into the dirt.

True to the Mysterious Assailaint’s sytle, this slight blip does not hold them back, and they angle a kick at the guards face before slamming them into a wall. When they claimed they were a badass earlier they weren’t kidding. The mistake is vital to this episode as it shows that this new android, while powerful and skilled is very much not a Mary Sue. While being excepionally strong and capable, they have limitations and vulnerabilities. Whether this was a mistake they made or a side affect from using the coins too much, remains to be seen. But it is refreshing to see them having the capacity to fail. The scene ends with a simple question. “Where are the prisoner’s possessions.”

The next panel brings us back to Jinsei, who is sat in his cell, eyes fixed forward, on the door. The coin in his hand flickers and then our Android friend appears and instructs Jinsei to stand out of the way before they blow the door from its hinges. One would think such a talented Android would be able to pick a lock or at the very least relieve the key from one the guards. Then again that doesn’t seem to be their style.

I absolutely love the range of expression in this piece. From the Mysterious Assailant’s detirmination, Kanae’ shock and Flayvus’s beaming grin. I think it sums up our protagonists and at the core, who they are. I am reminded at just how far Kanae and Flayvus have come in their development since we met them at the start of Season one. It is clear They actually care. As the scene unfurls, our android friend rightly protests that they did all the work which Jinsei comments on how reckless it is.

This coat toss scene is great for two reasons, first it calls us right back to the season one where Jinsei made a great deal of fuss in order to get his coat back. I think that was more to do with Katsurou’s coin though. Second it highlights the friendship and trust between these two. The look on Flayvus’ face in this panel is one of trust and satisfaction. These two have had their relations tested in season one. But it was Flayvus who ultimately proved his loyalty and trust to Jinsei with his sacrifice. In this pannel we see the culmination of that trust and friendship and it is a joy to behold.

Here it is, the moment I’ve been waiting for since the season premiere – our protagonist’s reunited. Now we just need Nina, Katsurou, Punavarsu and… Saz (I hope) for the team to be complete. The energy between this trio is palpable and it forms the perfect end to a great episode.

Episode 34 has a lot going for it. It is action packed, introduces us properly to a badass character (though we still don’t know their name) and has some unique moments that flesh out our character relations and show case the relationhips that have been building since season one. As a more functional Episode, there is a bit less to speculate on, its focus being more on the imediate plot developments. But I have a feeling that we will start to get some answers soon. The empire, though a force of strength seems to be a tad incompetent in this episode but then what can we expect when they are facing our Mysterious Assailant. I don’t think many could handle that badass. Either way its another excellent episode and brings to mind the balance that Kristina evokes. The pacing between previous episodes and this is near on perfect, with the fast action bringing respite to the more introspective episodes that formed the start of this season. I like that Kanae has taken more of a backseat so far in this season and given the development and focus she had at the end of season one I think thats a good thing. It gies us some breathing room to delve further into Flayvus and our new Android friend. The question on my mind right now though is how much of a ruckus is this quartet going to make? They may be reunited, but they certainly are not free. Yet.

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