The second episode of the series introduces a new character, Schaal. She is the daughter of a “Incarnate” soldier, John William Bancroft, who we saw a short glimpse of him in the camp talking to other Incarnate soldiers, opening a locket containing a picture of her and the other children at the orphanage he and Schaal run. You realize that this is a prequel to the events of the first episode before John becomes an Incarnate.
The episode starts out kinda slow, pace wise, but shows the travesties of tearing families apart due to the war. John is called upon to join the war due to something unique abut him, which we can assume that it has something to do with becoming and Incarnate. Before he leaves, Schaal gives him a locket containing a picture of himself, Schaal, and the children, the same locket that John shows his comrades at the camp in episode one.
About a quarter of the way in the episode, it jumps to the present after the war is seemingly over. This is where the tone of the episode shifts from good to bad. The consensus was that things would possibly get better for Schaal and the children, but bad things just keep happening.
Schaal’s character certainly has a traumatic shift that propels her to her seeking revenge. Around three quarters of the way into the episode is where the anime and manga start to have a parallel comparison in story plot.
The ending to the episode demonstrates the oath that they all took when their comrades first started to go berserk in episode one, and what it means to live up to that oath. It shows the horrors and sacrifices each Incarnate soldier made to become an Incarnate and what they were willing to do for the ones they wanted to protect and ones they loved. Now the captain of the Incarnates, Hank, must kill his comrades to save what humanity they have left.
Visually, this episode seems more vibrant compared to the first episode but still maintains the old dark style of animation commonly known for more darker and grittier anime’s. The action or excitement in this particular episode was little to none until the end, but it was an introduction to a main character type episode. Hopefully going further, it keeps a continuous pace of excitement and not drag out parts for any length of time.
I did like the introduction of the episode showing that Schaal was a normal happy go lucky girl, who cared deeply for her father wishing for him not to go to war and potentially get killed. With the subsequent return of her father, albeit in a dragon form, then the children being taken away from her for their own safety, and then the death of her father by a mysterious white hooded man, her backstory was quick to the point but not lacking sustenance.
Once Hank is reintroduced, we find out that he was in this town looking for a comrade to free him from his monstrous side before his soul is no more. Definitely a dark but sad turn of events that Hank, and now Schaal, must confront. And also Schall is realizing that Hank might not be just be murdering his comrades but freeing them from becoming monsters forever.