Anime Best in Show

Review: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 04 – Best In Show

Quick Summary

In To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 04, "March of the Behemoth," Hank Henriette and Nancy Schaal Bancroft are riding a train when they come within sight of an enormous bridge that crosses a deep divide. The conductor tells her that it's the pride of peacetime because it straddles the North and South. Peaceful commerce now flows across it. The train is forced to an emergency stop, and Liza Renecastle tells them why: A gigantic Incarnate called Behemoth is lumbering towards the bridge. It falls to Hank to bring an end to the danger. What does it mean that the Behemoth had previously avoiding even injuring people? Why is it so intent on walking through the bridge? And what can Hank, as powerful as he is, possibly to do halt such an enormous creature?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious. 

Best Moment in the Show

We had to wait until the end of the episode to learn why Arthur was so determined to walk through the bridge. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

This series is reminding me more and more of Midnight occult civil servants in that I am thoroughly enjoying the characters and plot, but can't hold the series up as a magnificent example of animation. It's not bad at all -- but it's not Fire Force or even Astra Lost in Space, either.

Kinda like Midnight occult civil servants

I admired the plotting skills that went into this episode. In the very opening moments, almost without words, we saw a hint that explained the mystery of why Behemoth, also known as Arthur Allston. We get a shot of the quiet man sketching something in his notebook. Hank was there and asked him about it, so Hank was well aware of what he was drawing.

We learned that the Behemoth had carefully plotted his course so he avoided hurting anyone. That convinced Schaal that he hadn't lost his human soul, so of course she was outraged that everyone still wanted to kill him. Except that only the railroad owner really wanted to kill him. Hank just knew it had to be done.

The Behemoth was following the ravine that led to the bridge. Hank had to use explosives to even slow the monster down; he had to use the equivalent of shaped charges to injure Arthur enough to even hope of saving the bridge. Even that, though, was not enough. Arthur was absolutely determined to push forward.

Schaal ran into the middle of the bridge and pleaded with him. He paused, and it was clear his eyes were still human. When he paused, Hank ordered that the engineers detonate the last charges he had ordered them to plant.

Hank knew what he was doing when he asked the engineers to plant the explosives beyond the bridge. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

They hadn't understood why, because the charges were well beyond the bridge. There was no way the engineers saw that the blast would save the bridge. But it did. And in a sense, it saved Arthur, too.

The blast blew out part of the ravine, and though the new gap, Arthur could see the sea. The westering sun reflection gleamed. Arthur paused and tears began to flow freely. In that moment, he laid himself down and died.

The sketch he had been making? It was of the sea. More than anything, he had wanted to visit it before he died. Hank couldn't save his life, so he did the best he could: he helped his old comrade achieve his dream. 

I cannot imagine the guilt that Hank carries with him every day. Even still, he has enough humanity remaining that he can make efforts like this. The plot devices were simple, but effective, and they setup the final moments. I thought they were the Best in Show for this episode.

What did you think of Arthur's story? What was your favorite moment? Let me know in the credits!

10 thoughts on “Review: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 04 – Best In Show

  1. The moment Arthur saw the sea was really beautiful. This show really is a masterclass in how to pace an episode, introducing a new Incarnate and getting us to care about them before bringing their story to a suitably satisfying, if incredibly tragic, ending, all in just over twenty minutes. I’ve missed well-paced episodic story-telling like this, there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it anymore.

    1. “I’ve missed well-paced episodic story-telling like this, there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it anymore.”

      I like that description of this show!

      I really enjoyed how each little reveal brought us closer to understanding what Arthur was after, but only at the end did we get all the pieces.

  2. Watching Behemoth plough on while dragging his spilling guts across the dirt was… hard.

    Watching Hank stop the Behemoth with transformed strength was… silly.

    That’s the show for me in a nutshell: awesome when it works, unintentionally funny when it doesn’t.

    1. “Watching Hank stop the Behemoth with transformed strength was… silly.”

      The mass ratio was off a bit, wasn’t it? I actually made up a subplot where Behemoth realized what Hank was trying to do and actually helped him.

      I’ve found that habit smooths out a lot of stories!

      “That’s the show for me in a nutshell: awesome when it works, unintentionally funny when it doesn’t.”

      Right now, it’s still making it easy for me to enjoy the awesome. As long as I get a couple of those moments, I’m good. Like I said in my response to Raistlin0903, I’m anxious about what Madhouse and Miglieglia will do to the plot, but for now, the show’s on the plus side of the ledger!

  3. I have started watching this show yesterday, and it may sounds strange, but for me it’s my favorite show of the four that I am watching this season. I absolutely loved this episode, and the moment that Arthur saw the sea gave me goosebumps. It was beautiful and sad at the same time. I can’t wait to see the next episode and I really hope the show will continue to be as good as it is right now ?

    1. “I absolutely loved this episode, and the moment that Arthur saw the sea gave me goosebumps. ”

      Not gonna lie — you weren’t alone!

      This is one of those shows that didn’t build a lot of hype but just delivers its vision and story every week. It might stumble later (Madhouse and Miglieglia aren’t inspiring confidence!), but so far, I’m really enjoying it, too.

      1. Well, I gave it a go because I read about it over on Karandi’s blog, and I’m really glad that I did. I certainly will keep my fingers crossed that it’s not going to stumble ??

  4. I really liked Arthur’s story and I really like how each story we’ve seen so far has been quietly tragic in its own way. I’m very much looking forward to more of this series.

    1. “and I really like how each story we’ve seen so far has been quietly tragic in its own way.”

      I like how it’s showing how the impact war was different to each of the Incarnates. This one in particular resonated with me (though I have no intention of taking anything away from the previous episodes).

      1. Yes, each of the incarnates is carrying something from the war but just a little bit differently. There’s been a lot of thought put into their characters and it shows.

Please let me know what you think!

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