The Kingdoms of Ruin (Hametsu no Oukoku) is leading the way on a fantastic Fall anime season for fantasy stories. A mixture of high fantasy and sci-fi, the series got off to a brutal start. Based on the manga created and illustrated by yoruhashi, The Kingdoms of Ruin keeps its pacing in Episode 2, “Heavenly Fire.”
Directed by Keitaro Motonaga and animated by Yokohama Animation Lab, The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2 picks up where the last left off—with a broken and formerly imprisoned Adonis (Kaito Ishikawa) ready to take revenge on Redia Empire, Emporer Goethe, and its “Gear Expansion” that has led to the eradication and subjugation of witches.
The last episode started by setting the scene, telling the audience of the lore, and crafting a fast and loving relationship between Adonis and his mentor, the Ice Witch Chloe Morgan. But, it ended with Chloe (Ryoko Sshirrashi) being executed on a dias with people cheering and Adonis restrained and forced to watch in the background. It was a fantastically pulled-off change in tone that paid off and continued in a small time skip where we met Doroka (Azumi Waki), who escaped certain assaults to free the witches kept in cells in the Mayhem Internment Camp for dissidents and witches.
Now, in The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2, the tone is kept with bloody action, and the pace accelerates as Adonis hurdles down his revenge. Free from his prison, he saves Doroka and leaves the complex. As Adonis makes his way through the internment camp, he showcases his power, taking on the officials who are dispatching them. While we don’t get to see Eekhout and Adonis meet face to face in The Kingdoms of Ruin just yet, the ruthlessness on both sides is built up to great heights in the episode’s final moment.
Sent by the National Security Bureau’s Yamato (Satoshi Hino) and Yuki (Hikaru Tohno), Eekhout is the first step in fighting back against the Redia Empire for Adonis. While the audience has understood the use of technology by Redia up until now, Eekhout is an example of how it has bridged the gap with the human body. With Eekhout, much like with Goethe in Episode 1, he shows the audience how little humanity the humans who use endless dehumanizing language for witches has as he dispatched innocent prisoners to clean up the mess.
The bulk of this episode serves to show the gap and conflict between magic and science as Adonis regains his power through his quill and sets out. Known as the Witch’s Apprentice Adonis, he is an SS-ranked level threat, and the damage we see him deal showcases as much. Using a written-style of magic, he is able to alter technology with devastating effect – turning a singular bullet into a projectile as large as a building. Set on eliminating every single civilian in an act of revenge, his grief and hatred that have been stored for ten years is devastating when he begins using it.
In this episode, Yokohama Animation Lab showcases a skill that balances when to use still images with layers of movement on top (like when soldiers are mobilizing or people are being mowed down) and when to really focus on the details. Those details in the action moments come together in highlighting specific elements of the character design, like with Eekhout’s body and in the large fight between one of Adonis’s summons and missiles, with some 3D composited elements used to show a dynamic movement in the scene.
Despite its heavy focus on action, The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2 is extremely dense. In one episode, we see Adonis try to satiate his need for revenge and see him rebound from wanting to wipe out the nation into questioning whether it’s all worth it or not when he doesn’t feel any better after…only to be thrown into it again. We also get a look into the structure of technology in Redia, and we also get to know more about Doroka and the role she will play, taking on some of the qualities that Chloe had in the first episode of the series. More importantly, though, we hear Goeth’s petty reasons for attempting to eradicate witches: because humans needed to grow in the world alone.
The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2 is another stunning surprise for the season. While I expected to fall out of love with it after the stark shift in Episode 1, the series manages to not only keep its pacing but capitalize on it. Plus, I’m a sucker for a traumatized and revenge-driven leading man that we get in Adonis. With a shocking ending, I’m definitely locked in for the season.
The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2
The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2 is another stunning surprise for the season. While I expected to fall out of love with it after the stark shift in Episode 1, the series manages to not only keep its pacing but capitalize on it.