This is quite the low point episode for our heroes. While losing Fanelia and being manipulated by both Asturia and Zaibach wasn’t enough, they’re on frayed terms with Freid now. It’s quite a low point for them in this arc (the lowest ones will be coming soon), and overall makes for a… modest unassuming episode. The crux of the episode falls upon the encounter between Hitomi and the doppelganger, Zongi, and that part provides a rather intriguing experience.
Just like that, moments after Hitomi finds out of Van’s rather peculiar growth on his back, the show throws us into Van’s past without hesitation. Instead of dragging things out by shrouding his life story with mystery, it allows a continuation of a conversation he and Hitomi had during the last episode. Turns out Van’s mostly dead family is cloaked with its fair share of tragedy, and that certain Judeo-Christian manifestations of divinity have a more negative context on Gaea. A nice twist on convention to be sure, and explains the sad face Van gives to Hitomi at the episode’s beginning.
Predictably, the cliffhanger in the last episode is resolved without much fuss by a very effective Van, and thus allows us to delve into the topic of this week’s episode: Fiery passions. Although we’ve seen Hitomi gazing with longing eyes over Allen, it has been left on the backburner for the rather paltry endeavours of rescuing Van and brave escapes. With the inclusion of Princess Millerna to the cast, now comes the complications, and the show goes shoujo on us once again.
I don’t say this as a bad thing, since the first episode did it so well, and Van is too intense on his warrior-ring like so:
If you’ve been paying attention to the show, the revelation in this episode shouldn’t come as a surprise. After mentions from Episode 1 (Van moments before going off to slay some dragons) and Episode 3 (the conversation before meeting with Emperor Dornkirk), it is finally revealed Van and Folken are brothers. The former’s pretty pissed off that the brother he thought died during the very ritual he went through episodes ago is on the other side, and the latter just likes to be enigmatic as all get out because of some big Gaea-saving Plan the dear Emperor has. It cements all those floating bits of info into one of the major conflicts of the show in a natural way that unveils quite a bit but not TOO much.