Shinra is finally able to confront Princess Hibana in order to rescue Sister Iris, but will he be able to do it? The story of Iris and Hibana, of their childhood and parting, is finally revealed.
Character of the Episode:
What do you do when the thing you love turns on you? What actions do you take when the thing that has been there for you your whole life, and has brought you both peace and comfort, reveals itself to actually be an agent of destruction? These questions are integral to understanding my character of the episode: Princess Hibana.
We find out that Princess Dominatrix wasn’t always the way she is now. In her youth, she was a sister at the same convent as Iris, beloved by her younger sisters for being beautiful, smart, and having control over the flames (which she used regularly to create flowers for the aforementioned younger sisters). The flames were the only thing she had to lean on whilst everyone else leaned on her. They were her peace and her way of living through everyday in a convent where she wasn’t as serious about the faith as everyone else.
But then, one day, everything was engulfed in flames. Every sister at the convent, with the exception of Iris and Hibana, were burned alive. From this moment, the flames were no longer a beautiful thing to Hibana. They became destruction in her flower blossom eyes. And, because she was able to control the flames, her way of thinking changed. If the flames destroy, and I can control them, then I must be a devil, right?
I found this trip through her history as a beautiful thing. Fire takes on many forms and meanings in this anime, and the use of Princess Hibana’s history to display how different people see the flames due to their experiences is amazing.
Deluded-Lady-Wakeup-Call Man is not the name I would ever choose for a hero, but Shinra does wear it well in this episode. What some may call an “ass-pull” by Shinra, I see as a representation of a stronger ideology triumphing over a weaker one. In the face of tragedy, Hibana became the devil that destroys everything around it, but Shinra, who faced a similar situation, chose the path of a hero who guides others through the darkness with his own flames.
I’m also a fan of how, after laying her ass out, Shinra proceeds to promise to always be there for her as her hero. He tugs on her heartstrings so hard that her eyes turn from flowers to hearts. Is this the beginning of the Shinra Harem?
What I liked:
The attack that Hibana uses (Sakura Blizzard) immediately reminded me of Byakuya Kuchiki from Bleach and his Zanpakuto’s Shikai ability (Scatter). Where Hibana’s Sakura Blizzard summons a cherry blossom tree and the soft pink petals surround her opponent to burn them with each petal that falls on their skin, Byakuya’s Shikai summons a similar whirlwind of sakura petals that are all small blades that cut into his opponents. I love Bleach, so whether or not the similarity was intentional, I’m loving it.
What I didn’t like:
I feel like Sister Iris doesn’t get enough characterization in this episode. We learn about her past, but all we can glean from what is shown is that she was a shy child who adored Hibana. It sort of feels like Iris is just a supporting character in Hibana’s story.
Despite what I said about Iris, I really do feel like this show has a good way of showcasing its main points through its characters. Also, this is the first episode where we actually see an example of someone who was in a similar situation as Shinra and chose a separate path from him. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of this type of antagonist.
I enjoyed this episode and I look forward to the next.