Anime Best in Show

Review: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 08 – Best In Show

Quick Summary

In To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 08, "Songstress of Sleep," Nancy Schaal Bancroft follows ClaudeLiza Renecastle, and a company of soldiers to a port town. The citizens are wary of soldiers, but Claude has intelligence that an Incarnate is nearby. While taking a walk on the beach, Schaal accidentally finds Charles, the owner of the local saloon, and an Incarnate named Beatrice. Sensing the Incarnate is gentle, Schaal finds herself forming a friendship in spite of Claude telling her that he was impressed she had been able to gun down her own father. But the skittish locals become suspicious and demand to search Charles' saloon. Can Charles thrown them off the trail? If he can't, how will Beatrice react? Where will Schaal's sympathies lie?

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

Best Moment in the Show

Claude's view of this world is very different from Schaal's. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

I'm a little surprised at my Best in Show moment in this episode. There were plenty of emotional high-points, and two or three of them could easily have been my favorites. Practically anything to do with Thrice (Beatrice) qualified, especially how she died in Schaal's arms.

This week, though, I've chosen to highlight a different kind of character authenticity. This episode did a great job of setting up my Best in Show moment when Claude found Schaal humming after she came back from one of her chats with Thrice. She asked him why he was doing what he's doing, and he explains, to Schaal's shock, that he's Cain's younger brother. He feels like he has to redress the wrong Cain had done to his family. In an almost bright tone, he said, ""You did well, shooting your father. I'll do what I must, as well" (11:56).

That's pretty harsh, right? But it was a perfect indication of who Claude was. I didn't find out until my Best in Show moment just how perfect it was.

Schaal was looking out to the sea after Thrice died in her arms. She had stood between the soldiers and the dying Beatrice to give the Incarnate a final chance to sing. Claude was angry with her.

Schaal may have pulled the trigger on her father, but the act nearly broke her heart. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

"Let me make one thing clear," he said (20:30). "The next time you get in the way, we'll shoot through you."

As he said that, I remember thinking, "Dude, you don't know Schaal very well."

Then he said, "I thought you were going to shoot her."

The moment's fidelity to Claude's character and perspective was fantastic. It completely changed how I saw Claude; and I think it had a profound effect on Schaal, too. I'm not sure where she goes from here, but she's definitely caught between two worlds!

What did you think of Thrice's last song? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

8 thoughts on “Review: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 08 – Best In Show

  1. I’ve never been entirely sure what this show was doing with the “losing ones soul”. Remember how I kept saying that the first incident we saw was very different from nearly all others we saw? I do think Beatrice lost it, and there’s a sense of when you lose it as a sacred beast, it throws much bigger wavers. And it might become irreversible at some point. But how do you decide when you need to kill them? The theme lies in exactly that sweet-spot, but the show isn’t subtle enough to do that justice; either that, or I just don’t get it.

    I don’t like Claude; I mean as a character, not as a person. He’s such a flat bigot, and they’re trying to stoop to the same tragic-background-explains-it-all point of view. He has no arguements, just a stubborn insistance. I feel the same about most characters, actually. It seems all geared towards what-you-get-is-what-you-see emotions. Compare this to, say, how Shin Sekai Yori treats telekinetic powers to see what I mean.

    That said, the show is still awesomely entertaining. The show’s biggest strength is creature design. They all just look so awesome and stylish. It’s good pulp fiction, but I can’t pretend I see any depth in it. That Claude moment? I rolled my eyes. He’s such a type. (But then so is everyone.)

    1. ‘Remember how I kept saying that the first incident we saw was very different from nearly all others we saw? ”

      I do. And I’ve been wondering if that was intentional on the part of the writers (i.e., it’s presented as something different) or if it was an early concept of how an Incarnate’s condition would progress, but it’s been replaced. The latter strikes me as unlikely, given how well the rest of work has meshed.

      “But how do you decide when you need to kill them? The theme lies in exactly that sweet-spot, but the show isn’t subtle enough to do that justice; either that, or I just don’t get it.”

      I’ve seen signs the writers could pull it off. Elaine’s throwing it off for me. She was _so sure_ that the Incarnates would turn that she gunned down Hank first. But I don’t know why she was so sure.

      “Compare this to, say, how Shin Sekai Yori treats telekinetic powers to see what I mean.”

      I need to get off my lazy butt and watch that! I keep hearing so much good about it…

      “That Claude moment? I rolled my eyes. He’s such a type.”

      Maybe. But I’ve rarely seen two perspectives played off each other so subtly. I like that kind of thing!

  2. This show really keeps going from one highlight to another. As I said over on twitter last week this was a very sad, yet very beautiful episode. It’s hard to pick a favorite moment, but I honestly completely understood where Beatrice’s anger came from, and honestly I felt it was very justified. The moment where she started singing again for one final moment, was truly heartbreaking. This show for me at least, is still the best anime of this season. I can’t wait to see what happens next…especially seeing that Hank seems to be returning! 😊

    1. “but I honestly completely understood where Beatrice’s anger came from, and honestly I felt it was very justified.”

      I think so, too. She had done nothing wrong; her only aspiration was to sing again.

      We have Elaine’s word that all Incarnates will eventually lose their souls, but I don’t know if I’m 100% convinced. Though it seems some lose their souls faster than others.

      “I can’t wait to see what happens next…especially seeing that Hank seems to be returning!”

      Like I said in my response to Karandi’s comment, seeing Hank again will be really interesting given what he’s been through. Schaal, too — I think she’s in a much better position to understand where Hank’s coming from.

      1. Yeah, I’m not convinced about that myself either. In fact with Beatrice, there was no real indication that it was her losing her soul…it was more anger that caused her to act the way she did.
        As for Hank…yeah, I think it’s going to be one heck of a reunion with Schaal. Looking forward to seeing how they will respond to one another 😊

  3. This episode was fantastic and I’m loving seeing how Schaal continues to change as she learns more and sees more about the incarnates. Claude had the potential to be a very one note character and yet he’s coming across as quite an interesting and nuanced individual at this point. I’m wondering what is going to happen next week if they catch up with Hank again.

    1. “and I’m loving seeing how Schaal continues to change as she learns more and sees more about the incarnates.”

      Isn’t it great to see character development? Same thing, as you mentioned, with Claude. It just elevates the show.

      “I’m wondering what is going to happen next week if they catch up with Hank again.”

      Me, too! From what we saw after the ED, he’s not in a great way. I guess turning into a god of destruction would shake anyone’s confidence! If that’s what the Fenris mode thing was after his last encounter with Cain.

      1. Hank definitely doesn’t seem to be in good shape so I’m a little worried about Claude meeting him. Normally I don’t think Claude would be a real threat, but given the state Hank seems to be in, I think Claude and the army have a fighting chance of actually taking him down if he doesn’t snap out of it real fast.

Please let me know what you think!

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