The Kingdoms of Ruin hit a stalled-out point last week when Adonis’ focus on rage and revenge continued to be his defining factor, with little to no story development outside of violence shown. Now, in The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 7, “Stand by him. Stand by her,” the series takes a turn by directly confronting who Adonis has become. Instead of packing in as many action moments as they can, in this episode, the focus is confronting the circumstances that Adonis and Doroka find themselves in and allowing them the time to slow down.
In The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 7, Adonis and Doroka find themselves on the planet’s surface once again, only instead of being dropped into Redia where soldiers wait, they’re in the Wastelands. Still reeling from the carnage on the moon, they encounter some wasteland vagrants who take them in, and the situation goes differently than they could have imagined.
While the episode does use common tropes in anime, like the lecherous old guy or the female lead being threatened by assault, it also subverts them. It is the glimpse in the series that shows that humanity is not all that the Redia Empire would make them see it to be. This sharp change in how humans are represented works hand in hand with Doroka’s stance against and not with Adonis.
Initially excited to meet Adonis, the human who learned magic from the Ice Witch Chloe, she envisioned him as a man who could bring peace. She saw Adonis as someone to inspire hope. Instead, he is all rage, all hate. But instead of being a quiet character standing next to him, she is speaking her mind and calling into question who he is. Doroka captures what has been my issue with the series thus far: there has to be something more than anger. She questions him how far he will go as he ruins everyone around him. And how does Adonis respond? Well, he’s a yandere.
Chloe, to him, is more important than all of humanity. He will ruin everyone and everything in his quest for revenge and in doing so, he has pushed out every semblance of any other emotion from his heart. His obsessive love has turned him from everything and this conflict is navigated here. In her question and in their confrontation, The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 7 creates a duality of grief.
Doroka, while with the Wastelanders is laughing, smiling, and having fun. But Adonis sees himself as incapable of those positive emotions while grieving someone he loved. And that elicits even more anger when he sees Doroka. In his words, it almost seems like he is forcing his rage. For her part, Doroka pushes back in an excellent way, capturing that you can smile even when you’re in pain, and for some, it’s the only way to move forward. At this point, the series isn’t deeply exploring this concept, but it does set up recognition by both characters. In his most empathetic moment, Adonis tells Doroka not to turn into him.
This is the moment I’ve been waiting for for Adonis. He is selfish, but with Doroka and even his choice to not kill a single person, this episode shows growth in a character who has remained stagnant for all six episodes throughout the season.
In addition to the characters, The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 7 builds out the world further by showcasing the Wasteland and those left behind by science and the super-industrial revolution. While not hunted down by the Empire in the same way as Witches, they have been thrown aside. Still, they have dinosaurs and that’s at least one cool thing they have going for them.
The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 7 is the emotional push that the series needed in order to not feel one note. The twists were thrilling, the cliffhangers kept me coming back, and the action was well-animated, but it all felt the same. In this episode, we start to see Adonis changing slowly, and it makes the series endearing instead of just shocking, and that’s a success.
The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 7 — "Stand by him. Stand by her."
In this episode, we start to see Adonis changing slowly, and it makes the series endearing instead of just shocking, and that’s a success.