Soya defeats the remaining members of Paladin, but Takashi and the Generalissimo/Shiraishi are still locked in battle. Eventually pulled into the fight, he and Ginko desperately hold off Takashi and try to prevent him from destroying the city. The conflict escalates as Takashi summons the full power of the dragon that destroyed Soya’s homeworld, and culminates in a devastating brawl.
After the blistering pace the show has kept up so far, episode six continues to speed things along. It’s a satisfying conclusion to the first half of the show, but leaves some pretty big questions as to what’s going to happen next. On its own merits though, it’s a great episode overall.
One element of Planet With I’ve been enjoying is its portrayal of the various factions vying for power over the Earth. Shiraishi pontificates on how The Sealing Faction wants to keep humanity from gaining power, which Takashi slaps down as nothing but arrogant imperialism. Takashi himself wants to control that power and rule over Earth as a benevolent dictator for justice. The Pacifist Faction wants to remove the dragon’s power, but otherwise let humanity carry on its path. The first two get explicitly called out as arrogant and harmful, and Soya has already expressed his doubts about the Pacifists. Moreover, he doesn’t want to put up with the moralizing of those trying to pass their own failures off on other people.
When it’s not poking holes in common anime pablum, this episode focuses almost entirely on a set of brutal fights. Despite all the energy blasts flying around, there’s a great sense of impact and physicality to the punch-ups. There’s also a major emphasis placed on avoiding and redirecting attacks, which you don’t see nearly enough in anime. Most of the time, a hero or villain’s power is demonstrated by having them block or shrug off huge energy beams and the like. It always seemed to me that it would make more sense to try and send that energy somewhere else, and more than one character uses this tactic throughout the episode.
Jumping back a moment to the impact of the fights, I’m also happy to see heroes and villains willing to seize the initiative and fight a bit dirty. We see both Takashi and Soya strike their enemies when they’re unprepared, and Soya in particular is no stranger to the well-placed sucker punch. I appreciate the show’s willingness to stand up to both pompous dialog and fighting clichés, even if its stance isn’t always firm.
The only part of the episode that bugged me was when the Generalissimo took an almost three-minute break in the action to explain the origin, motives and fate of dragon that killed Takashi’s brother, and the Sealing Faction’s own actions against earth. I appreciate having some of this laid out for us after the show has been so tight-lipped about its backstory, but this got out of hand. I think it would’ve been better to reveal some of that in the last couple episodes, or at least shorten things up so it didn’t feel like the fight was screeching to a halt so we could get an exposition dump.
Brendan wasn’t wrong when he said that he felt like he watched the penultimate episode of the show. Episode six feels very much like a finale, though with six more episodes in the pipe, I have no idea what they’re going to do next. Perhaps some greater threat will emerge, or perhaps we’ll get to spend some downtime with our cast. Whichever way it goes, I’m intrigued to see where this speed-run of a show goes next.