Would you look at that? I almost fell behind with again!
So last week in ēlDLIVE a lot of stuff happened! We had Misuzu getting imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit, we had Chuta embark on a mission to find Dr. Love, a man who can prove her innocence and we met some new characters in the form of Veronica and Nina, along with a new villain who I will still be referring to as green-haired guy. Oh, and we also had the most irritating of cliffhangers where Dr. Love has been found in the form of a corpse with a gaping hold in his chest and a suspicious individual covered in blood standing right there. What’s going on?!
Well, it turns out that this blood soaked dude is actually Dr. Love himself and that he’s merely transferred his consciousness to a new, younger body, not unlike a snake shedding its skin. I will admit that, even as a Manga fan, I did find this a little disappointing. I originally expected Dr. Love to have been killed by this then unknown character and have him be an incredibly dangerous threat of some kind, only to have it turn out that it was actually just Dr. Love himself transferring to a new body and the timing was just unfortunate for our heroes. I can’t help but feel like we were led on a little here.
That being said, as a character, Dr. Love is awesome. He is extremely eccentric and a generally weird guy, perfectly fitting of the “mad doctor” archetype that you would expect him to fall under. As a fan of such characters, I really can’t complain about him in the slightest, and that more or less makes up for the disappointment surrounding his introduction.
So Dr. Love instantly takes action and uses his SPH to apprehend green-haired guy. But in a shocking turn of events, it turns out there’s actually a lot more green-haired guy than we were led to believe as he’s not a villain at all, rather he’s an innocent bystander who’s body has been taken over by some form of mind control SPH. And unfortunately for Chuta and friends in the confusion it takes control of its next host: Nina!
So now Chuta is in a predicament where he needs to fight one of his own comrades who has been turned against him, and to make matters worse this new villain, who I will now refer to as “Fake Nina”, has access to all of Nina’s SPH powers, which from what we’ve seen before, are absolutely devastating.
This is a pretty interesting situation overall. Like the previous story arc, with this new villain taking control of Nina, we once again have some really serious and dramatic stakes going on here. This is a serious predicament and lives are actually at risk, with the ēlDLIVE team really outclassed. Fake Nina makes short work of Veronica, before aiming her sights on Chuta and Dolugh, and what is arguably the best fight scene we’ve had in the series so far ensues.
Visually, the fight scene was fantastic. Pierrot once again really went out of their way to make this as animated as possible with their no doubt small budget and it was a real stand out of visual impressiveness. We also finally get to see Nina’s powers full force, which may or may not be fan-service. I’m not sure, but it’s pretty cool regardless and incredibly awesome.
The fight itself is also very interesting. Due to being outclassed in power and due to not wishing to hurt the real Nina, Chuta has finally met his match. He’s not match for Fake Nina at all and is scared for his life. None of SPH abilities seem to be having any effect, and he slowly begins to lose confidence in himself. And from what we’ve learned previously, that’s never a good thing, since Dolugh will cease to manifest should Chuta cease to have confidence in himself due to their synthetic nature, and he begins to fade. However, his determination is brought back when he realises there are friends he must protect, but soon after he is overwhelmed by Fake Nina’s SPH and receives a fatal injury in the form of a gigantic burn covering half his face. And to top it off, Dolugh’s body has been completely destroyed.
Remember when this was a kids show?
Seriously though, this moment was extremely heartbreaking. Cute little Dolugh, a character who we’ve seen in a completely positive and carefree light has his entire body shredded to pieces and it’s so incredibly depressing. And Chuta is helpless to do anything, because with the destruction of Dolugh’s body the damage has transferred straight to him as well, as they share all injuries due to being connected.
But just when we think all is lost, Chuta hears Dolugh’s voice, who gives a heartfelt speech about how he now understands Chuta and why he desires to prove Misuzu’s innocence so much. He then decides that Chuta is worth staying with and that he wants to remain living on with him.
While it’s a fairly Shounen typical moment that many would refer to as “cheesy”, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly moved by this whole scene. The atmosphere, the dialogue between the two of them and general quietness and emotional tone of the scene was really sincere. We finally got to see a more serious and emotional side to the usually curious and carefree Dolugh and it’s now been made evident that they are more than simply host and Monitalien. They’re friends.
So what happens? Well, in yet another typical Shounen fashion Dolugh’s body lights and declares the activation of a survival program, springing to back to life with more power than ever before. Dr. Love then claims that when a Monitaliens host is on the verge of death, it will attempt to seek a new host, and Dolugh proceeds to do just that by going on an uncontrollable rampage of mass destruction.
This was incredibly awesome. Fake Nina’s attacks are now powerless against Dolugh and noticing her powerful SPH potential, he now aims to take control of her body. But Chuta is having none of that, and grabs Dolugh, begging him to stop his rampage, and in an extremely satisfying and emotional moment, the usual “sympathy” connection occurs between the two of them and Dolugh returns to normal with Chuta’s injuries completely healed. And of course, to no surprise, Dolugh emerges from this chaos with a new upgraded form.
So not only did Chuta and Dolugh strengthen their symbiotic bond, but they got a power up out of the whole thing. As for what this power up means and whether or not it will be of any use, we’re yet to know, as the episode ends immediately afterwards. Dammit ēlDLIVE! Another cliffhanger in the most exciting of moments!
This episode was, once again, fantastic. While the initial reveal of Dr. Love was fairly disappointing, his actual character along with the incredible fight scene and moments of genuine emotion more than made up for it. There were a lot of moments that I guarantee people are going to label as tropey and typical of Shounen, because they are, but I really don’t see it as a problem at all. ēlDLIVE is a Shounen after all, and it’s a very good one.
ēlDLIVE’s strength has never been its uniqueness, but its ability to take previously established storytelling techniques from its genre and execute them in the best way possible. And with the emotional scene between Dolugh resulting in a power up, we were given just that: a brilliantly executed and directed scene that genuinely pulled at our heartstrings and made us feel something.
The series never ceases to entertain me, and this episode was spectacular. However, I grow concerned that the series won’t quite make it to the best parts of the Manga, as it apparently may only have 5 more episodes left, which would be a real shame. Here’s hoping it manages to get to at least the fifth story arc. That’d be nice!
I can’t wait for the next episode. Here’s to next week!