The mysterious Thirteen of the first episode finally shows up in Grimoire of Zero this week, though it isn’t the kind of reunion one would have expected.
The villagers weren’t only burned to death, they were killed in many different ways with magic, and Zero could point out every magic spell used. The hideout was also ransacked, everyone killed, and the Grimoire was missing.
The situation here is that a bunch of witches came and attacked the village full of magic users like them. While the witches are fighting humans on one front and beastfallen on another, they’re also fighting amongst themselves because the power of magic goes to some people’s heads.
But in the midst of all that fighting, there was a third person in the village too who killed people from both parties. And that person was Thirteen. Why was he here? He was searching for the Grimoire of Zero as he had originally intended to when he set off.
Thirteen had been working for the Church all this time, which explains why Zero located him in the capital in the first episode. But the reveal doesn’t work that well and feels a bit out of nowhere since there was no mention of the guy at all after the first episode. Albus had known about Thirteen for quite some time and was aware of how dangerous he was and his links with the Church, but nothing of the sort ever came up.
They try to make up for things by showing a flashback retelling one scene where Thirteen unleashes a giant boar on some Sorcerers of Zero under the King’s orders. But we needed more information than just this one scene.
One weird thing here is that we see Zero somewhat shocked at how her magic was used for a massacre. It makes sense since she probably hasn’t used her magic in actual combat to kill someone due to her lack of exposure to anything other than her cave. But then a few moments later we see her using some fire spell to kill Thirteen.
Her relationship with Thirteen is also a bit weird. We never saw any hint that she hated him at any point. But suddenly we see her angry and giving death the guy death threats. She may have been angered because of how he disintegrated other witches and how her Mercenary was put in danger at his hands, or maybe because of how he ditched her in that cave, but even then her rage feels slightly off here. Her anger feels like it’s more than just that and has something to do with Thirteen’s character, how he treated her, and the overall time she spent with him in the cave.
But since they’re only halfway through with the show and because Thirteen has a big face in the most recent promo visual, we can excuse them for some of the issues seen here, though we would still need some more information on Zero’s life in the cave with Thirteen and her magic master.
Zero is also quite overprotective of her Mercenary and it angered her that Thirteen’s actions were putting him in danger. He’s her first and only friend so she doesn’t want to lose him. They’ve developed enough of a relationship to want to protect each other as the Mercenary is also seen attempting to protect Zero even though it’s basically futile for him to even try doing so against a magical lightning bolt. Zero’s probably not sure what her feelings for the Mercenary are called and the Mercenary likely wouldn’t want to admit that he has any feelings for the witch at this point.
The relationship between Zero and Thirteen needed some more mentioning before this episode–it feels off and sudden. But since that’s not possible anymore, they should give it some focus in later episodes.
The main villain of the show who probably has his hands on the Grimoire has appeared. But there is still every chance that Sorena’s granddaughter took off with it to protect it. If that is the case, then it will be a race between Zero and Thirteen to see who gets to it first. For the time being at least, Zero will have the support of the Sorcerers of Zero if Albus makes himself useful here. Thirteen has the help of the King himself since he’s helping in the extermination of magic users all over. And there are the rogue witches who only have plundering on their minds, and probably also want the Grimoire, making them a common enemy.
By the looks of the next episode, the fighting will have subsided and they’ll be sitting down to discuss things like civilized people. It’s a positive turn of events, but that’s mainly because White Fox and co are disappointing with their fighting and effects animation.
After building its world for the past four episodes and establishing a relationship between the Mercenary and Zero, Grimoire of Zero has jumped into its plot, though it isn’t as fantastic as its other aspects. Such a jump was inevitable given everything we’ve seen so far, and that’s not really the problem here. What irks us is the way they made some revelations here. The show is strong when it’s dealing with character interactions and world building, but this episode’s big jump into the story about the Grimoire hasn’t left us completely satisfied.
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