Things in Strike the Blood get intense with the escape from the prison barrier of Yokoyogi Aya, the Witch of Notaria!
This episode begins with Vatler facing off against Nagisa, Kojou’s younger sister, who is possessed again by some unknown force that is apparently able to summon and control Alrescha Glacies, Avrora’s 12th Familiar. There really isn’t any explanation whatsoever about this new development. All we know is that this Familiar beats Vatler soundly, and he apparently realizes why Kojou became the Fourth Progenitor after this beating. Of course, he doesn’t tell us what he figured out, so I guess we still have to wait for that information.
It turns out that neither Natsuki nor Yuuma are dead, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising. Aya Tokoyogi, the Witch of Notaria, Yuuma’s mother, nearly kills her, though, by taking her guardian from her. Also, she takes Natsuki’s magic from her (somehow), along with “the time she had experienced” up to that point. A handful of criminals escape the prison barrier, but the barrier is still in place and will take back any of its inmates whose magic or stamina is too weak, which I guess is a plus for Kojou and friends.
Kojou, Sayaka, and Yukina take Yuuma to Kojou’s mother for help. It turns out Kojou’s mom is the head researcher of the Magna Ataraxia Research (MAR)’s medical department and a certified magic physician, making her one of the only people who can help Yuuma since she’s a witch. His mom is also kind of a lecher, which is just wonderful, right? According to Kojou, she doesn’t know he’s a vampire, but I’m pretty sure she does based on her interaction with possessed Nagisa at the beginning of the episode.
It would seem that the Witch of Notaria took an important grimoire (the Dark Oath Grimoire) from the Library’s vaults ten years ago, and is planning to use it for something sinister. What’s interesting is that even the Library doesn’t seem to want her to accomplish her goal, whatever it is. While we don’t know what she’s planning, we know it has something to do with a contract of some kind. I wonder if it has anything to do with the contract mentioned by whatever was possessing Nagisa in the previous episode?
One of the escaped prisoners, Kiliga Gilika, finds Asagi and young Natsuki with the intent of killing Natsuki. Asagi, though, outwits him and takes him to entrance E of the Keystone Gate, where the Island Guard’s main force is always on standby. Astarte meets them and weakens Kiliga’s magic energy enough that he gets pulled back into the prison barrier.
While Kojou tries to get to Asagi and Natsuki, another prisoner shows up. This one is Gigliola Ghirardi, the diva of Cuartas Theater. We don’t really get any true explanation of this title, though. All we know is that she has a magic whip of some kind that has the power of mind control. Not to worry, though, as Vatler shows up to protect Asagi and Natsuki. I still can’t figure out if Vatler is a good guy or a bad guy, although I’m sure that’s sort of the point of his character. Kojou finally gets there as Gigliola is pulled back to the prison barrier, and Vatler offers to house Natsuki on his boat for the time being to better protect her.
Meanwhile, another of the prisoners tracks down the Witch of Notaria to find out what she’s up to, as he knows tracking down Natsuki is simply a way for her to keep the prisoners busy. This particular prisoner, Meiga, is apparently a failed attack mage from the Lion King Organization. I wonder what sort of part he’s going to play in the unfolding story?
I’m a bit annoyed at the pacing of Strike the Blood at the moment. I feel like a lot of new information is being introduced, a lot of new characters, a lot of very brief backstory, without any real explanation. Are we going to find out more about Kiliga or Gigliola, or were they so unimportant that they only need a few minutes of screen time? If so, why give them any backstory at all? The little bit that we know about them is hardly sufficient, in my opinion. Half the time, I feel a lot like Kojou when it comes to not really knowing what’s going on, although perhaps that’s what they’re going for in this anime so we can better identify with the main character. Who can say for sure?