Of all things, this penultimate episode made me think of CLONE WARS. Not the new CG toon; the 2D one Genndy Tartakovsky directed. The first season was comprised of three-minute “micro-episodes” whose running times initially seemed inconceivable to work within. However, as an exercise, Tartakovsky went back over his old SAMURAI JACK episodes and cut them down from 22 minutes to three to see if he could still preserve the story. To his surprise, he found that the episodes actually worked quite well that way, and he used what he learned to give CLONE WARS some of the tightest and most frenetic action storytelling I’ve seen in any animated program on either side of the Pacific.
I think the same principle would’ve applied just as well here. Maybe this arc could benefit from a DBZ KAI treatment sometime in the future.
Look, there are conceits in any genre that you just have to go with after a while. Excessive dialogue is one of the conceits in this case - - characters stating things outright that are readily apparent from the images and the context. However, I think CLAYMORE was a lot better about this in the earlier arcs. I specifically remember being impressed how the show didn’t state obvious things outright and actually let you fill in some of the blanks yourself.
So here’s another sickly symptom of an anime that’s had to “decompress” the plot because it’s production schedule out-paced that of the manga it's based on. The dialog isn’t necessarily bad, but most of it’s unnecessary, and I don’t think anything would be lost if 50-75% of it were cut - - hell, I think the episode would improve. I can’t even think of why any viewer would complain about it, either. It’s not like how you feel gipped when a comic’s sparse on text and they’re still charging you the same price for a shorter reading experience.
I’ll save my discussion of that actual plot for next episode. However, I do have to comment that Raki’s uselessness has got to be a joke that crew’s in on. I mean, c'mon, He’s such a waste, a critically-wounded warrior has to carry him.
Watch this episode "For Whose Sake" below, decide for yourself and then read my comments on the previous episode here.