Anime Anime Reviews Review

Hikari no Ou – Episode 03

Episode Synopsys:

In the capital, Koushi settles in to the Okibi household and meets his patron’s daughter Kira, and the lady of the house, Hibana. While the family physician tends to his sister, Youschichi explains his desire for Koushi to create bottled lightning – a far more rare and volatile form of fiendfire extracted from sky fiends. He believes that the ruling Divine Clans have left humanity to suffer needlessly, despite their elemental powers and advanced technology, and he sees a revolution on the horizon.

Aboard the cargo train, Benio convinces the crew to let Touko stay aboard while another bride, Hotaru, is delivered to her new village. When the caravan next stops for fuel, a new danger appears that threatens the safety of the entire train.

Episode Review:

Episode 3 gives us a broader view of the politics at play within the nation and the capital, as well as a peek into the internal lives of the well-to-do Okibi family. It doesn’t neglect Touko’s travels either, offering a densely packed story that sets up both immediate and future conflicts.

I greatly enjoyed the little details than emerge as Koushi interacts with different members of Youschichi’s family. He first meets Kira, an outgoing and charming girl close to his age who has already taken a keen interest in him. Soon, he also meets her mother, Hibana – a more distant woman who clearly has more at play than she lets on. We also meet Koushi’s sister, Hinako, as she’s tended to by the Okibi family doctor. Her ailment is described as “fetal contamination”, which I believe refers to in-utero exposure to the industrial toxins that eventually killed her mother.

There’s one scene that stands out to me as a great microcosm of the family dynamics at play. At dinner, we see Hinako struggling to eat, and when one of the maids moves to help, a glance from Kira stops her. Is that kindness or malice? All of the servants move around with downcast eyes and dour expressions – is this just the way their expected to behave around a noble family, or is there something darker going on? Youschichi dines on steak and potatoes, while the only thing we see his wife take in is wine.

There’s not a word of dialogue in this brief scene, but it’s rich with meaning and character exploration. It’s fantastically done, and I hope we keep getting these revealing snippets of day-to-day life.

Throughout this episode and the last, I’ve been side-eying Youschichi and his extreme generosity towards the siblings. Important rule: never trust a rich person in a world where poverty and suffering is the norm. It was obvious from the outset that he wanted something out of Koushi, but I wasn’t expecting it to be aiding a potential revolution. Youschichi’s antagonism towards the ruling caste seems well-founded, and the conditions Koushi grew up in bear out the theory that the Divine Clans exist mainly to exploit humanity’s labor. Still, this will likely prove more complicated than overthrowing one despotic ruler when those plotting revolution are a wealthy business owner and a breakaway member of the Clans.

While this talk of revolution is going on, we cut back to Touko’s journey aboard the armored caravan. Despite her leaving the train last episode, the crew decides to let her stay, but what’s most interesting is the original rationale for kicking her off. Her leaving the train was foolish, but it’s her life to gamble. The real issue was her not closing the hatch behind her, which could’ve endangered the entire train. As one of the engineers points out, a fiend sneaking into those close quarters would be a massacre. Luckily for Touko, nothing of the sort happened, and her hard work has bought her a second chance.

We also get to see the first of the curse-brides being dropped off for their wedding. Hotaru departs the train, ready for whatever awaits her in her new village. Her fate, as well as the nature of her marriage, is left ambiguous. If her own village believes that her presence cursed them, would she really be welcome elsewhere? Are villages so desperate to rebuild families that they’ll overlook an apparent curse? There are questions still to be answered and two more brides-to-be who’s stories may reveal more.


This episode takes its time to continue the world-building that drew us to the show in the first place, and it’s time well-spent. The intrapersonal connections between the characters, their place within the world, and the physical elements of that world are all given a spotlight, making them feel tangible. Considering the show’s pedigree, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so much care is being taken, but it’s still awesome to see it play out.

3 comments on “Hikari no Ou – Episode 03

  1. Pingback: Hikari no Ou – Episode 02 – The Con Artists

  2. Pingback: 5 Favorite Anime Blog Posts from 2023 Week 06 - Crow's World of Anime

  3. Pingback: Hikari no Ou – Episode 04 – The Con Artists

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