When a plan comes together, its not uncommon for the victor to explain their winning strategy to those they outwitted and outsmarted. Androssi has regularly proven herself to be full of self-confidence, so it should come as no surprise that the Princess of Zahard would start this week’s episode explaining the plan that was oh-so-perfectly executed at the end of last week’s episode.
Though most Princesses of Zahard are chosen outright from the family they belong to, Androssi explains that, to produce a candidate worthy of becoming a Princess, her family adopted ‘talented young girls’ and forced them to compete and fight against each other for dominance.
Each day, the girls’ meals would be determined by how well they ranked among their sisters, with the lowest tier receiving nothing but stale bread. One girl, who would continually place at the bottom due to her lack of ruthlessness, eventually discovered the taste of the higher tier meals by slaughtering every single one of her sisters.
Androssi reveals that not only was she the young girl in question, but that her plan to pass the test drew heavily from her bloody past: having gathered every Fisherman on the team in one spot, Androssi plans to eliminate all those who stand in her way in order to vie for a guaranteed pass.
In a lightning fast flurry of kicks Androssi defeats her fellow Fisherman and even acquires a new ‘ignition’ weapon, a sword capable of generating an aura of fire-shaped Shinsu, from one of her fallen opponents. To her frustration, a disheartened Bam refuses to accept her selfish goals and continues to challenge her on her view that people are expendable.
Meanwhile, Team B’s Tag Test continues and finds Hatsu in a one-on-one fight with the Test Administrator, Quant. When finally pinned against a wall by Quant, Hatsu calls for the Spear Bearer Revolutionaries who accosted him last week to attack, only to discover that his fellow teammates have abandoned him. This abandonment angers Quant and results in a lightning fast elimination at the hands of the red-haired Ranker for the deserters.
While the others are distracted by their respective fights, the reason for Hoh’s eerie demeanor last episode returns as the horn-headed young man takes Rachel hostage at knife point.
Hoh explains that he received a letter promising that if he were to kill Rachel, Bam would subsequently abandon his quest up the Tower, and Hoh would be allowed to continue up the Tower. His plans go awry as he finds himself suddenly caught between an angered Quant and a worried Bam, who left Androssi to search for Rachel.
As Bam begins to manifest his Shinsu to defend Rachel, Quant dashes past his body, paralyzing Bam’s movements almost instantaneously. Whispering to Bam that he had ‘injected’ him (though portrayed as more of an ‘encasing’) with Shinsu, thus removing the ability for him to perform any motor functions.
Quant leaves the hostage situation and encourages the young hero to follow his lead and emulate the injection technique if he wishes to protect Rachel. However, seconds before Bam successfully employs this technique, a tense Hoh drives his knife into Rachel’s back and leaves her wounded body to hit the floor.
A tearful Hoh explains that he was driven to climb the tower after seeing everyone he cared about massacred before his eyes, leaving him as the sole survivor of his people. Alone and scared, Hoh sought to climb the Tower in order to find the strength to protect those close to him.
Realizing that he had lost his way and compromised his own beliefs, Hoh takes the knife from Rachels’s back and drives it through his own chest and proceeds to bleed to death on the floor of the test arena.
Arriving to the scene of the brutal attack, Androssi reminds Quant and her fellow teammates that the test is still in progress and challenges Quant for ownership of the other’s respective badge. In one swift dash Quant snatches Androssi’s vest, which hid her badge, seemingly before she can act.
Solemnly walking up to Quant and hiding her head in his shoulders in what appears to be an admission of defeat, Androssi reveals that not only had she successfully stolen Quant’s badge, but that the red item the Test Administrator believed he captured off her person was actually a pair of her underwear.
Thanks to Androssi’s deception, Team B is declared victorious, and the Tag Test finally comes to an end. In the aftermath, Hoh and Rachel are both retrieved by medical teams and transferred to a hospital within the Tower.
At the conclusion of the episode, Bam finds himself standing above the bed of an unconscious Rachel, unable to communicate or help in any way.
Just as Khun’s strategy was the highlight of last week’s episode, Androssi’s plan similarly provides an exciting focal point for The One-Horned Ogre. Her plan, while not as convoluted as Khun’s, provides another excellent display of the series’ meticulous strategy writing. Her tragic backstory only serves to further highlight the careful planning undertaken by Androssi, as its clear her past has become a point of painful obsession for the Princess.
Quant spent most of last week avoiding the limelight during combat, his speed and elite Ranker skills hidden off-screen or in the shadows. While this detracted heavily from Team A’s run through the test, Team B attempts to make up for this by providing viewers with a fluid and excellently coordinated hand-to-hand fight between Hatsu and Quant. While it lasts for only a few minutes, the animation is clean and every action is deliberate, emulating the sense that Hatsu must fight calm and thoughtfully if he is to have a chance of surviving against Quant.
Sadly the emotional centerpiece of the episode, Rachel’s stabbing and Hoh’s death, has less of an impact than both SIU and Crunchyroll had hoped for. Hoh has been given the least amount of development, interaction, and screen time of all the Regulars encountered by Bam thus far, and as such, his traitorous turn and suicidal death lack any real weight. As it stands, the conclusion to Hoh’s story is more “surprising” than “shocking”.
Overall, The One-Eyed Ogre provides both an excellent companion and an explicit improvement on production to the preceding episode. The lore of the Tower continues to build, with each new revelation about it’s true nature appearing to spark uncertainty and doubt among the Regulars, and the fight scenes have returned to the center of the frame rather than bizarrely out of sight. With the tag test finally at an end, viewers are sure to be drawn back next week by the peril of Rachel’s injury and the endless forms the next challenge our heroes face could take
- Androssi's backstory and her panty-based victory strategy
- Hatsu vs Quant match is beautifully animated
- The Ignition Sword looks gorgeous in action
- Hoh's death lacks impact due to his lack of screen time and development