This week’s episode centers around Arc and his time in the village of the elves—namely his time with Ariane’s family. This situation fleshes out Ariane as a character. By seeing the people who raised her, we are able to get a handle on the environment which forged her into the warrior we have seen in the series so far.
Ariane’s father is the chief of a medium-sized town—a politician who genuinely cares for both his people and his family. This explains Ariane’s focus on duty and her drive to save as many enslaved elves as she possibly can—even if that means starting a war in the process.
Ariane’s sister, on the other hand, is a legendary warrior who has an unhealthy attachment to her. Ariane clearly lives in her sister’s shadow and believes that she will never be able to escape it no matter how powerful she becomes or what deeds she accomplishes. However, by learning about her sister getting married, Ariane is forced to see her in a new light. After all, if the elves’ greatest warrior can find love, then Ariane can as well.
But the real standout new character of the episode isn’t Ariane’s sister but rather her mother, Glenys. At first, she appears to be nothing more than an airheaded housewife with no interest in her husband’s political life. However, when you consider that her daughters are both unable warriors, it’s not too much of a surprise to discover that she is one herself.
From her first meeting with Arc, Glenys is subtly testing him. She is interested in not only how he treats her daughter in public but also in private. She serves him food to see if he trusts Ariane enough to remove his helmet based on her word alone. She takes him through the elven village to see how he responds to the prejudice and fear that her people have for humans. It’s only once he passes all these tests—and after she sees how he interacts with the elven children he previously saved—that she reveals her true nature to him. And what we get is possibly the most important scene of the series so far.
In their prolonged sparring session, Glenys absolutely destroys Arc. It’s not even a fight. He can barely dodge a single strike before he is flat on his ass. This teaches us two things. The first is that there are people in this world far stronger than Arc—even with all his cheat skills and amazing armor. This adds a layer of tension to the story that wasn’t there before. If a random elven housewife can curbstomp him so easily, then who’s to say the next villain he encounters won’t be able to do the same.
The second thing the sparring session scene teaches us is that there is a massive difference between power and skill. Arc basically has the body of a world-class fighter. He knows all the advanced techniques and has the raw physical prowess to manhandle most people without issue. The problem is that he has practically no actual fighting experience. Facing someone with real combat experience and skill leaves him scrambling. After all, every fight he has been in so far has ended in a single strike. Even when he teleports behind Glenys—catching her totally by surprise—she is still able to turn the tables on him instantly and take him down. Experience is just that important.
This is a good lesson for Arc—showing that he can’t get arrogant just because things have been easy for him so far. It’s also heartening to see that he never complains about getting beaten down—he just gets back up and tries again. He has discovered his weakness and wants to overcome it—no matter how painful it may be. Moreover, in the meta sense of the story, Arc now has a clear path towards growing stronger. He will need to train and practice to turn his innate talent into true skill. Only then will he be able to stand toe toe with the strongest this world has to offer.
All in all, with this episode, our overpowered protagonist doesn’t seem quite so overpowered after all—and that is absolutely a great thing for the series going forward.
• It’s interesting how differently the elves and humans view the breaking of the intermediary. The last major war is still fresh in their minds of the centuries-old elves. The much shorter-lived humans are simply concerned with politics and immediate supply and demand issues—the original reason for the military doesn’t even cross their minds.
• You gotta love how happy Arc is at finally getting to see a place wholly different from anything in our world.
• I love how Arc’s skeletal nature makes no sense. He can eat and the food disappears but Ponta can also sleep inside is rib cage.
• Well, it was only a matter of time till they accidently saw each other nude. You can only stave off anime clichés for so long.
• Something tells me un-cursing himself can’t be that easy.
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.