My first impression of Sacred Seven episode 8: “With Devotion” was that it was a decent drama episode that didn’t fit into the series. It felt like a dumb filler.
I did see a ticker saying they were making “Sacred Seven Kamakura Tie-up goods”, but I later found out this entire episode had the “full cooperation” from the City of Kamakura when I was looking for the “anime holy lands” because I recognized some scenes from the anime.
Upon a second look, I realized that this was in fact an extremely well-directed episode that serves multiple purposes, and I wanted to look into it in greater detail.
Kamakura is a city near Tokyo with very long history and rich cultural heritage. I will not bore you with the details as you can find out more about it in Wikipedia. What you should know though, is that it’s a well-known tourist attraction, and that it’s a popular “date spot” near Tokyo, where you can enjoy a classy, traditional Japanese atmosphere.
A seishun drama episode within an action series.
This episode is a typical seishun (coming of age) drama stuff. Really, something you would expect in a prime time seishun live-action dorama rather than late-night action anime. We’ve got everything from bittersweet date, awkward moments of silence/contact, peeking at the guy/girl and wondering what they’re thinking, running towards the sunset (variation: running along the train was used), kira-kira moments of youth, and yeah, carry the princess in the sunset!
Clichéd as it was, the direction was decent, and if you allow yourself to connect with the characters, it can be a very enjoyable episode as a whole.
This episode is mostly about Arma and Ruri’s character development. The misunderstanding of Arma’s (almost) catchphrase “whatever” was resolved in this episode, and he decides to continue fighting “With Devotion”.
Ruri in the first half of this episode had been looking up to Arma, always from behind or beside him. She feels very distant, and he appears very cold. After the ramen scene though, she was finally able to look directly into him, and Arma shares his past with her.
Pretty good subtlety here, but most other scenes (like ones in previous section) were anything but subtle…
Pretty much self-explanatory. Shows why the protagonist turned into a loner, and why the heroine was obsessed with him. Arma: Just ask their damn names! Why don’t you know their names?!
On the other hand, we find out that Kenmi Group really was up to something. This is pretty much expected by ep7, but it further builds up towards the second half of series.
This is probably the most important thing about this episode. Shameless (but I would say, effective) Kamakura marketing.
First screenshot: Enoshima train shown to draw in train otakus. OMFG AWESOME TRAIN FIGURE! MUST GO THERE TO BUY THEM BEFORE THEY SOLD OUT!
Second screenshot: For more general audience. There are quite a few well-known traditional Japanese sweets shops in Kamakura. The one they went appears to be Chikaramochi-ya (the name itself is a pretty bad pun).
Of course, the ramen shop really exists too. I am willing to bet anything that the these stores featured will be packed for weeks after this episode was aired.
Hellbrick goes “You can make most guys go head-over-heels with just a hug”, and its head literally got split from Ruri’s hug.
March into hell / Sent to hell works pretty well here too 🙂
I’m sorry, but you guys are the worst couple ever. But it looks like a nice date… GJ marketing team.
Arma makes a critical translation error. That means “we’re lovers”, dumbass!
Sacred Seven episode 8: “With Devotion” may look like a character development filler at the first glance, but it ties a lot of loose ends. Hellbrick was fixed this episode, so they don’t have to waste money drawing glue marks or tapes anymore. There’s a little flashback sequence with A+ insert song for Arma that shows his past, why he became who he is now. Finally more scheming by Kenmi Group, which will undoubtedly be the main theme in the second half of this series.
Then, there’s the Kamakura promotion. The stores featured will definitely be swarmed by a huge load of otaku and other casual viewers. The improved image of the city will help the region attract more tourists (new target group), and pump more money into the local economy.
In exchange, Bandai Visual and Sunrise are almost certainly getting another sponsor for this sho,w and receive royalties from “Sacred Seven Kamakura Tie-up Goods”. Short-term injection of capital that can be used to finance upcoming episodes, and they get long-term profit.
It’s pretty sad when my favorite episode in an action series is the one episode that didn’t have action, but that’s the case here. Hopefully this episode will be enough of a boost to improve this entire series, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. This will most likely my only episode review for this series.
Episode rating: 8.5 / 10