Taking a step back from last week’s web of international political conspiracies, this episode focuses on something much closer to home: Ariane’s hatred of humans. It’s no surprise that she feels the way she does. Her job is literally to deal only with the worst humanity has to offer: slave traders, slave owners, and the underbelly of society that works with them. Day in and day out she sees horrible atrocities committed upon her people by the humans who, at least on paper, are supposed to be their allies. It would be more of a shock if she didn’t hate humans.
This of course brings us to the hulking, full-plate giant in the room (as the case may be): Arc is the antithesis of everything she believes humans to be. He is kind, noble, and innocent—tolerant of all races but intolerant of injustice. And while she has come to trust him implicitly, that hasn’t changed her feelings towards humanity in general. Rather, he is the exception that proves the rule—which is why meeting Carcy is such a punch in the gut to her.
What she sees isn’t Arc, a hero seemingly out of myth and legend, treating elves as equals. Instead, it’s a town of normal, everyday people accepting an elf as one of their own. They’re eager to work with Carcy and drink with him—and even help him in his risky, monster-studying experiments. No one treats him any less than any of the other villagers.
She’s forced to acknowledge the simple fact that most humans never really think about elves at all—be that positively or negatively. Things like the slave trade and international politics are just that removed from a commoner’s normal life. But Carcy shows that with day-to-day familiarity, elves can be fully accepted by humans—even in a border town next to a nation that allows elf slavery.
What’s doubly interesting about this whole situation is Arc’s reaction to it. After all, despite his skeletal nature, he was born a human in our world. He sees himself as one of the humans Ariane so hates. Despite this, he’s never set out to actively change her mind. Even in this situation, where she’s being confronted with proof that her hatred is not nearly as justified as she believed it to be, he never tries to force his beliefs on her. When asked directly, he doesn’t say she is wrong to think humans and elves are incompatible—only that he has hope that man and elf could live side-by-side in peace. The way he sees it, if enough people are accepting of each other on a personal level, things will become that way all on their own. It’s a nice thought—and one that shows, deep down, Arc truly believes that people are genuinely good. And while I may not personally agree, it’s always good to have a hero that believes that way.
• I’m not going to lie: from the moment we saw Carcy spying on a lightning-singed Ariane and Ponta, I was sure he was the villainous overlord behind the monster controlling rings. Even as we got to know the townspeople, I was expecting them to have been brainwashed. Seems like the usual darkness of this fantasy world has me seeing the worst in everything—just like Ariane.
• Hmmm, so there’s no friendly fire protection on magic spells. That’s good to know.
• Ariane is both a clingy and violent drunk.
• Why wasn’t the sandworm weak to fire? Do the collars also block elemental weaknesses?
• Seems the murderous bandit was right: prostitutes aren’t really a security risk as long as you feed them to monsters when you’re done.
Skeleton Knight in Another World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.