Boy, that was some amount of plot! It’s an episode crammed with incident, but all in service of resetting the table. Everyone shows up to Promise Park for a swordfight, Master Logos wins, but then Touma wins, but then Master Logos still maybe wins, but then it’s all probably setting up Storious doing his own version of this scheme, but then Luna’s gone anyway. There’s a massive reestablishment of the status quo here (everyone gets their swords and books back), and it made me feel justified in not really caring about the arc-plot stuff in this episode.

But this is an episode where Touma’s hope becomes a literal bridge to reunite him with Luna, and that’s basically all I care about.

(Well, that and how pained Touma must’ve been to wake up in the recuperation room in a hoodie. Couldn’t they have found him a nice billowy nightgown? Or at least a nightcap? Touma almost died, people!)

This whole episode is about how much power Touma derives from his hope, and how seeing that hope rewarded, even briefly, allows him to weather more/the same hardship. He’s just dead set on rescuing Luna, no matter how absurdly stacked against him the odds are. (And yet he chides the de-sworded swordsmen for going to the park! A little hypocritical, Touma!) There’s no real plan, no real strategy. Even when Master Logos’s maneuvering drops a new/old book out of the sky, and it should be viewed at least a little skeptically, Touma slaps that thing into his belt and swings for the fences. There’s nothing but hope, and he makes it work.

It’s an episode that doesn’t exactly rely on exceptional plotting (folks just show up and get their swords ganked) or on memorable speeches (it’s a real TOUMA! and LUNA! episode of dialogue), but weirdly nails the little moments. Those shots of Touma and Luna existing in the same space. The way Touma keeps putting himself below Luna’s sightline. Kento’s nostalgic reframing of the trio as children again, the last time it all made sense. Even Touma sitting cross-legged in front of Luna and joking/admitting that getting her back has kind of been a giant pain in the ass. All those little beats sell Touma’s struggle and achievement in a way that’ll probably stick with me long after I’ve forgotten how inconsequential the rest of this episode felt.

Like, that shot up there. It’s worth an entire episode of weird arc-plot crap, easy. Real winner of a shot.


Calibur, or Espada?

Touma had won, impossibly, yet again. Luna was saved. The apocalypse was averted. Master Logos was thwarted. Kento could put down his burden, at last. He could go back home with his friends. They’d forgive him, in time. Their swords were back, good as new. He could atone, surely. If he picked up that golden sword, if he returned to service as Espada, he could make it right again. He could be happy.


Except, what if this was yet another lull in the storm? What if this was where it all went wrong again, when he let down his guard? He’d lived any number of futures where he thought the worst was avoided, only to have it strike when his guard was down. He’d felt the pull of Touma’s optimism the last few days, let the power of that hope steer him towards teamwork. And it had been nice, to see his friends smile a little bit in his presence. But Kento knew where that path led, and he wouldn’t let himself be swayed. If he hesitated now, if he hoped for the best, he might be dooming the world.

He had to brush that hope aside. He had to cling to the certainty of fear. He knew what would happen if he let himself be swayed by Touma’s ideals, and he needed to be strong enough to overcome them.

He grasped the hilt of the Sword of Darkness, pulled it from the ground, and left all hope behind.