Episode 48: The Wounded Falcon
Note: Potential for MAJOR spoilers in this review.
As we gear up into the last two episodes of this season, looking back, I couldn’t help but feel that it’s been such an amazing time all along ever since the opening scene of Episode 1. Think about it: we’ve been introduced to a plethora of varied and likable characters who are well-fleshed out with original and interesting personalities, we’ve experienced epic moments such as Episode 24, 34 or even Yuugo’s duel last episode, and remember, we’re still only in Season One of the show.
Can there be a more well-written opening story arc than that of this show, I wonder?
Episode 48 is just further proof of what we as Yu-Gi-Oh fans truly deserve after the ending of Zexal. As the penultimate episode of this season, it knows what it needs to do and sets out to it correctly. The direction, script and even the voice acting exceed far beyond my expectations, and I guess there is no other way to describe my love for this episode other than this is probably one of the few of my favorite episodes in the series ever.
Starting off with one of the biggest highlights of this episode is the writing. The main function of a penultimate episode to a story arc is to provide closure to some of the side characters while also managing to build up to the grand finale which would be next week. Episode 48 is a very tear-jerking one, as two of the more important side roles Michio and Teppei eventually get carded away as a conclusion to their character building during this whole Battle Royale arc. Perhaps, Teppei’s ending in particular is more sympathetic due to his change from a jerk at the beginning into a great teammate who understands the importance of aiding a friend in need. The two of them are in fact the best written characters of the whole episode in my opinion, even collaborating to perform such a great combo play before their eventual demises.
On the other side we have Yuya who witnesses Sora carding away his opponent. Of course, as we all would have predicted, Yuya does turn angry upon seeing his former friend walking the path of evil, but remarkably, he shows character development with him recalling Yuuto’s last words and snapping out of Berserk Mode eventually. More impressively, his immediate response is to challenge Sora to a rematch to remind him of the true purpose of duels, ending this episode on a high note and building up for the finale next week which hopefully would be just as awe-inspiring as this episode is.
Delving deeper, this episode impresses me further with its direction and animation. The presentation of the two duels in this episode is definitely heart-pounding, utilizing a series of well-executed cuts to transition back-and-forth quickly between the duels. Combined with some really consistent, smooth animation that is a further step-up from last episode’s. Despite the large number of monster appearances, the animators of this episode sure do not disappoint with slouchy work, instead providing the audience with some truly eye-popping sequences.
The sound of this episode once again is beyond words. Voice acting is amazing as always, but the musical score is even more impressive than that. Episode 48 reuses some of the older tracks, but it uses them well, one right note to one right moment. Aside from that, it does have one or two new themes that paint the mood well, adding yet another reason to why this episode is such a good one.
With next episode being the final one of this season (Season Two comes the week after that, so do not worry), it honestly amazes me that this is the first ever Yu-Gi-Oh anime series that has the guts to end a story arc on such a tragic note. And, as it has done for almost all of these 48 episodes, I have full confidence that next week will serve what the audience deserves.
Animation – 9/10
Sound – 10/10
Duel Choreography – 9/10
Script – 10/10 (with a bonus mark)
Overall – 10/10
Episode 49: Make Everyone Smile with Your Duels! Until then!