Episode 39, a lesson in the fundamentals of Spirit Coin use and the capability of our protagonists. A clear blue sky greets us at the opening which pans down to a magnificent shot of the lands around Mapulehu. Here the vigor of the land hasn’t quite drained away, so we open on a serene scene filled with green plants. The ground shows the withering progress of the ruin that has all but claimed Mapulehu, the yellow sand-like dirt standing out against the green that surrounds it. It is a visage of what is now, what was once, and perhaps, what is to come. The vigor of the past is lost to the death that the future promises – symbolic perhaps of the Journey Jinsei and co are on and what is at stake? That remains to be seen, but it is certainly and expertly designed panel.
A lesson in Spirit and Artificial Coins
Since the very first episode, we have seen different characters utilise both Artificial and Spirit coins with varying effects and capability. But the rules of how they work, while being touched upon, hasn’t truly been explored. We know this is a Hard Magic system, one that utilises rules and has limitations. We know that Jinsei was once said to be able to wield four coins at once and that this was not a common occurrence. But we don’t know whether the capability to wield multiple coins is limited by the person themselves, what they know or the equipment at hand. This episode lifts the lid on the use of Artificial coins – though does not elaborate whether such limitations also apply to the Spirit Coins themselves.
Sometimes I forget that these two are actually really close. Small moments like this remind me. Their reactions are carbon copies of each other, a trait that people who are extremely close often exhibit. Which makes me wonder what caused Flayvus, Kanae and Katsurou to have such a strong bond? Especially given that at one point Flayvus was paid by Jinsei to spy on Kanae and Katsurou.
I really like how this image brings out and highlights Kanae and Flayvus’ combat style. Looking at Flayvus, he is much more hands-on and utilises a gauntlet with to coins. He is a stealthy and fast combatant and his stance he really highlights this. Kanae, on the other hand, is more of a ranged expert. Season one gave us some insight into their abilities, but I think more focus at this point is a good thing. I do wonder why Kanae is aiming at her foot though. This reminds me of one of the major misconceptions around archery. Often bows are seen as the tools of more slender and less physically robust people to wield. The reality is actually the opposite – Bows are incredibly hard to draw back and sustain. That Kanae does here without much effort, shows just how physically strong she is.
Using Artificial coins with Gloves
I think this is a good summary of the rules around gloves. Interestingly, the gloves (at least in these images) appear to be limited to one coin. I wonder if there is an explanation in here to why the Katsurou Coin failed when Jinsei tried to use it? The is an odd Juxposition between the words and the images. If we take the coin breaking. At face value, one could assume the coin itself shatters, yet the image shows the shattering of the coins effects The coin in Kanae’s glove appears undamaged despite the barrier or effect shattering around it. This could suggest that when it says the coins break, it really means the effect generated by the coin. The final consequence, Drain the user’s own Energy, is positioned with the effect shattering- this could be seen as the ramifications of a user reaching their limit. When their energy runs out the coin effect ends. Which could be an explanation for the shattering of Katsurou’s blade in the season one finale.
Using Artificial Coins with a Gauntlet
I love the energy of this panel. Flayvus’ excitement matched with Jinsei’s attitude is a marvel.
I like how much this showcases Kanae and Flayvus’ knowledge and skills. They may not be from the Empires military or royal family but they know about the functions of the Artificial coins. It is a refreshing change from the usual trope of the Protagonists need to be taught everything and given the world is a plausible expectation.
I really like this idea. The gauntlet limits the overall power of the coin, the gauntlet allows the user to utilise multiple coins, at I assume, a more sustained rate. The downside is that the coins cannot be utilised for their complete power.
Jinsei’s approach is arrogant, and yet at the same time, I understand why he would have this view. Essentially it comes down to who Jinsei is. We already know that he was gifted in coin use. In the early episode of season one, it was confirmed that Jinsei could use four coins at once with a glove. Though it is too early to say as we have limited knowledge of other users capabilities, this ould suggest that Jinsei is potentially a protege’ who is able to bring out the full capabilities of coins without a gauntlet and with little aid. Essentially he is a powerhouse. A user who requires a gauntlet is never going to be as gifted or as powerful. To Jinsei who can control coins with ease at their full potential, using a gauntlet to limit a coins capabilities would seem pointless.
This makes a lot of sense and really sets up the strengths and weaknesses of users. I like that even protege’s like Jinsei could be beaten by a clever but weaker foe. It’s a nice detail and from a world-building perspective brings a needed limitation to the gifted users.
Equipping Coins to a Weapon
The final segment of this episode looks at equipping coins to a weapon. This time, I like how Kanae literally has cover Flayvus’ mouth to get a word in. He really seems to like showing off how much he knows.
It’s similiar to equiping them to gauntlets… but can serve specific purposes.Kanae.
For example, if you use the “blast” coin by itself, the accuracy is average at best. But when equipped to a weapon instead… the power decreases, but the handling inproved significantly.
The effects of the coin last much longer…
Kanae is on point in this panel. I really like how the lines draw you into the impact site and to poor cowering Flayvus.
Coins as Materialised Weapons
Materialised Weapons are one of the most common types of coins we have seen since season one, (besides blast) and yet we really do not know a lot about them. We know that Jinsei was proficient at using them, that the Spirit Coins are a stronger form of them with the capability to evolve.
It also used to be your signature coin type…
I was wondering why the coins i’ve seen you use lately weren’t your typical style.Kanae
Finally, the elephant in the room is being tackled. It is one of the questions that has been touched on throughout season one and two, without being directly addressed. We have seen many flashbacks of Jinsei’s past, and usually, if he is fighting he was using a sword and yet in all of the current time events, he has never used one, the only exception being when he wielded Katsurou. I think it is a good point o bing focus on this as his reticence in wielding a sword seems to be tied to the events that ended up killing his father, events that have had a profound impact on him.
This entire sequence is really well done. It sums up who he was before his life fell apart. Before his father died. We see the emotional scars that he is struggling with. I like how much the distaste in written on his face, on his body posture. While Kanae and Flayvus have enjoyed showing their knowledge, Jinsei has been quietly seething, his irritation evident by the turn of his eyes and the fold of his arms. To me, it shows how much Marius’ disappearance has affected him. But it also highlights the anger that bubbles beneath the surface. The shocked looks on Flayvus and Kanae faces show how unaware they were of the emotional wound that Jinsei was carrying around.
Jinsei finally reaching the end of his temper and lashing out is sublime. I really like the anger and aggression in his face and body language of the final panel here. It shows that even though he is a bad place, the strong persona he was before is not entirely gone. It is the strength he will need if he can overcome the anger tied to it.
Marius heeds Jinsei’s command. he gives Kanae and Flayvus some coins and weapons. Before they have even started, Seven goes on the attack with a well-aimed kicked.
Marius empties a bag of coins on the ground and commands Jinsei to spar with Seven. He has to use whatever coins necessary to defeat the android. The final panel is exceptional.
Episode 39 is a mixed bag of exposition, world-building and action. The interspersed action between the segments demonstrating the capabilities of the coins is well balanced. There is a lot of information, a little revelation but ultimately, the episode begins where it ends, with very little movement in time. That is a good thing. It leaves us feeling that we are on the precipice of a thrilling ride. The battles between Jinsei & Seven and Kanae and Flayvus have a feel of an Anime tournament arc. They are prerequisites that show the skill level of our protagonists and allow us to see where they are going and how much they need to grow. It is never about their strengths, always about their inherent flaws. It is certainly hyping me for Episode 40.