Anime Best in Show

Review: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 12 – Best In Show

Quick Summary

In To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 12, "Those Who Seek," Hank Henriette leads that attack against Centaurus and Cain Madhouse's fortress. Hank's coordination with sergeant Gerald Corlani was absolutely perfect -- until Martin Wall, the North's commanding officer, issues a command that changes everything. When Cain makes the full extent of his plan clear, Claude Withers and Nancy Schaal Bancroft are aghast. But what can they, as mere humans, do against the might of someone like Cain? Can even Hank prevail against him?

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

Best Moment in the Show

Hank was done for; Schaal literally picked him up and, through the strength of her conviction, helped him to stay in the fight. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Argh! There are two moments that I just adored in this episode! Do I go with irony or primitive instincts that underpin the human race? Well, since the instincts mean I get to talk about Schaal, let's go with that...

In keeping with the solemn shōnen tradition of the hero has to be beaten down before he or she can win anything, Cain just beats the daylights out of Hank. All night, Cain kept creating clones of himself; all night, Hank tried to slash them, only to open himself to attack from other Cains. By morning, he was bleeding and exhausted. The sun rises, and his werewolf form fades. Bloody, he falls to the ground.

Cain tried to reason with Hank. The vampire said (16:39), "If possible, I truly want you to survive. As my friend."

I think he was earnest. Deranged, possibly; but I've give Cain this: he's been as unwavering in his dedication to his vision of the world as Hank has been. 

Schaal is well over her fear of Cain. Or pretty much anything, based on her expression. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream

Hank doesn't want to abandon his mission. He tries to rise, but his body won't respond, and he begins to slump to the ground.

Schaal catches him (17:41). Petite Schaal, the young woman who couldn't even fire a gun at the beginning of the series, dared to incur Cain's wrath as she ran to Hank's side and helped him stand. Her touch and the memory of her words inspired Hank to invoke another mode (what I've seen people on Reddit call Ultra Instinct Hank), but that's not what I thought was amazing. What I thought was amazing was Schaal's courage and strength, a mere human defying the undefeatable werewolf.

She and Hank have become quite the team. I'd like to see a second season just to see what's next for their relationship!

What did you think of the final episode? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Review: To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts Episode 12 – Best In Show

  1. I finished this series on the weekend and loved it. I think the way it portrayed the abandoned veterans was incredible, unfortunately for them, these vets are strong enough to go full Rambo on them.

    I liked how all of the villains were believable and had motives that you could understand. The best one for me was Miles because he had been broken before becoming an Incarnate and the idea that he could save more people by killing the enemy was not a crazy leap of logic. It made sense, especially from what he had witnessed.

    Also, Schaal’s development through this series was incredible. I loved how she grew as a person and how she changed Hank too. There are a lot of series that could learn a lot from this sort of natural progression. She was a great central character for the show, which something I was a little surprised at when she took over in episode two.

    1. “I think the way it portrayed the abandoned veterans was incredible,”

      I had a lot of respect for the show because of that. That sort of thing goes a long way with me. I’ve never served, but I’ve worked for and with a lot of people who have. This show captured what a of of them have gone through.

      “I liked how all of the villains were believable and had motives that you could understand.”

      That’s a good point. Even Cain, who was as over the top as they come, had a motive and a grievance I could understand.

      “It made sense, especially from what he had witnessed.”

      He was tragic. Like you said, his progression made sense, which made it something I could empathize with.

      “Also, Schaal’s development through this series was incredible. I loved how she grew as a person and how she changed Hank too. ”

      From a capable but (literally) gun-shy girl to Hank’s honest to God defender… Just wow. I also enjoyed the impact she had on Hank.

      I haven’t heard anything about a second season, but we can hope!

  2. Remember how I had a problem with Fairy Gone, how the big picture was interesting but the episode writing didn’t measure up and sacrificed plausibility to coolness too often? I have the opposite problem here: the episode writing tends to be strong and the emotional pay-off good, but the moment I think about it even a little, it all falls apart. The big picture makes no sense at all to me.

    I’ve frequently complained about how the first incident (Hydra) is different from any that follow. Well, they kept that up to the end. And the fun thing is this:

    Hydra was a human mind in a body taken over by instinct. That’s a humanist model of man vs. beast I don’t like but can accept for the sake of story. It’s an appropriate way to use the “beast” metaphor. However, every consecutive incarnate acted more obsessed about a single point, a trait that in anime is more associated with ghosts. And all that is washed over with vampires and (apparently) necromancers. There’s the hybrid in the form of the centaur, and so on. I don’t get a coherent picture here at all: I feel they just choose what’s cool and leave it at that. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t cool. The fights were usually engaging, and the creature designs were the best part of the show.

    One big problem though is that characterisation is extremely flat, and the plot doesn’t really go into what makes it necessary to kill an incarnate. The only ambiguous case is Siren, and then the problem was cut short by the conveniently included Claude, who’s basically a bigot. Because of his actions, any question of how we should judge when an incarnate becomes dangerous enough to be killed is cut short. It doesn’t help that Claude’s behaviour (i.e. obsession with defeating his brother and all incarnates) is exactly the kind of behaviour that would have gotten him killed were he an incarnate. And like with many little things I see no hint that the story even realises this.

    Shaal’s characterisation feels equally inconsistent: We learn she has trouble shooting a deer, but then she just picks up a rifle to shoot Hank in an act of revenge? It’s not that this is inconsistent in itself; it’s just that she then just goes on to be this gentle yet forceful side-kick, without much of a conflict at all. There’s a lot to be said about what it takes out of a person to kill, but again the show either dramatises or downplays it, with little to no off-stage impact, and it’s most noticable with Shaal: I don’t get that aspect of hers at all, and the writing doesn’t inspire confidence in me that this isn’t just a flaw in the concept. A string of clichés, now played for this, now for that, depending on how you need your audience’s emotions to go. And as long I don’t think it’s fine. The episodes are strong and work. I enjoyed watching the show, but I don’t enjoy remembering the show, as what makes it work is immediate, and what makes it not work is conceptual, and that stands out clearer in retrospect. I enjoyed watching this a lot more than Fairy Gone, but I remember both these shows with equal indifference.

    So when we got Hank’s controlled god-form, I suppose I was meant to cheer, but I more or less shrugged. Shaal’s courage? Another shrug. The characters mean little to me. When they talked to each other how they changed, I had to concede their points to some degree, but I didn’t really feel it, because the show didn’t come together on that level for me.

    Basically, I find the story banal and shallow, because the show sidesteps anything that could make it interesting in favour of unearned interior conflict and cool fight scenes, but it’s really good at the coolness factor, so as long as I don’t think the show is fun. That’s not so good for blog-post replies, though, because writing a post like this requires thought.

    Right now I’m wondering whether I should bother with the second half of Fairy Gone. I probably will.

    1. Seriously, you should be writing reviews. You made some solid points.

      “The big picture makes no sense at all to me.”

      This is a series that made me glad I picked it for my Best in Show series instead of a full review. You’re right; the reasons you cite demonstrate that the world is not self-consistent, nor is it deep. I thought it was easy to pick at least one moment in each show (and some had several), but if I had to reflect on it, it’d be like seeing the man behind the curtain.

      “One big problem though is that characterisation is extremely flat”

      And it’s too bad, because someone like Cain could have been amazing. As it was, he was at least consistent (thought that could be considered one-dimensional!). He made a plausible case for keeping the Incarnates alive, and for the basic injustice of the North’s position. I had to respect that.

      “So when we got Hank’s controlled god-form, I suppose I was meant to cheer, but I more or less shrugged.”

      That wasn’t foreshadowed at all, and I had to chuckle when the Reddit post called it Ultra Instinct Hank (harkening back to Dragon Ball Z, I think). It just came out of nowhere.

      “Shaal’s courage? Another shrug. ”

      I just liked Schaal, so I really liked her show of courage.

      “Right now I’m wondering whether I should bother with the second half of Fairy Gone. I probably will.”

      I was listening to my anime play list the other day, and the OP for Fairy Gone came on. I was shocked: I felt excited about seeing the next season!

      Who knew?

      Did I mention you should write reviews?

  3. This had been a dramatic finale. Definitely filled with so much passion and action. Story wise, I think it could give more so I felt it wasn’t at its peak or best form of writing when it ended. Nonetheless, it’s a good show and pretty entertaining from the start until the end. I can’t stop myself too from sympathizing with the Incarnates especially with the Siren, and almost everyone else except for those whom we didn’t know the backstory yet. And yes, it really aspire for the game of philosophy which I think isn’t quite effective but definitely able to have its message reached the viewers. I am looking forward for it to have a sequel soon.

    1. “I can’t stop myself too from sympathizing with the Incarnates especially with the Siren”

      That’s one of the things I liked about the show — the “villains” were sympathetic. The issue of who was in the right, especially with humans launching chemical attacks with their own soldiers as accepted casualties, made the story much more interesting.

      “I am looking forward for it to have a sequel soon.”

      Me, too! I haven’t heard news about a second season, but I’m hopeful!

Please let me know what you think!

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