Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 5: We Always Knew Tanmoku’s Past Was Bleak

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Keika spends this episode floating around in Tanmoku Ki’s memories and he has growing suspicions about Shinryu and what he is up to. Still, the body guard worming his way into a young and isolated boys heart is somewhat less of a problem than the way the family themselves treat Tanmoku and you have to wonder what they were trying to accomplish by isolating him in such a way in the first place.

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Ultimately that is neither here nor there as it is clear that present day Tanmoku isn’t really interested in having Keika see his past as his nightmares are seem to be actively repelling him from getting any closer to him.

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I’m kind of having an issue with everyone around Tanmoku being seen as greedy or insane. While in a large, wealthy family you would expect there would be a few bad apples but the entire clan are really just repellent at times. That said, I am enjoying getting more of a back story on Tanmoku and I’m looking forward to how this particular part of the story resolves.

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Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 4: What Does It Mean To Protect?

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You Keika is a pretty frivolous character most of the time, however in this second season of Spiritpact he seems to finally realise that he actually has a purpose and someone to protect, even if he’s sometimes very frustrated with that person. The anime, to its credit, is playing this struggle out very well making Tanmoku Ki cold when he needs to be but never so harsh that he becomes unforgivable to the audience.

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And ultimately it is their mutual desire to protect one another that keeps this show moving forward even through some of its stickier moments. Admittedly, they could resolve a lot of the tension if these two actually worked together instead of independently trying to protect the other one, but a lot of the fun and drama would disappear from the show if they did that.

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This episode went a long way in filling in some of Tanmoku’s back story and personal demons as well as introducing the character who has been appearing fairly prominently in the opening. It will be interesting to see how this development goes next week but I do know I can’t wait for the next episode of this anime.

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Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 3: Not Holding Back

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Spiritpact may be the one Haoliners anime that genuinely doesn’t make me cringe at the thought of it. Admittedly, it had a really rough start with season one, but here we are at episode 3 of season 2 and I’m sitting on the edge of my seat and genuinely feeling for these characters. The story has become compelling and in honesty I’d love to be able to watch the next episode right now.

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At the centre of the enjoyment is Tanmoku and Keika’s ever shifting relationship and the final third of episode 3 really put that bond front and centre, leaving us on a nasty cliff-hanger which if handled poorly could be a problem but I’m fairly confident of enjoying seeing the resolution next week.

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However, I’m not just heaping empty praise upon the show just because the BL aspects seem to be getting put front and centre this season. There are still some genuine world building issues with this show and while I’m hoping season 2 will smooth some of these out and so far it has with a more focused approach to its narrative, there are still a lot of things the audience don’t know about how the world in this story works. If the show can overcome this, then it could be something I would genuinely recommend people watch and not just for the central characters.

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Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 2: Keika is Incredibly Gullible But That’s What Makes Him Endearing

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Review:

Keika remains incredibly stupid at times and I love how he instantly believes what one person tells him but flat out denies most of the things Tanmoku tells him (though, again, Tanmoku should probably work on his communication skills as he probably could have explained the issue with the talismans). In a lot of characters, this level of dumb could be really irritating, and yet in this show Keika’s found a way to make it work and it has become almost charming (there’s still some moments where it pushes my tolerance levels for this kind of humour).

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This episode does however throw in what is probably a super important reveal about how Tanmoku has linked himself to Keika and it does it in an almost by-the-way kind of manner not really drawing enough attention to itself amongst the other aspects of the story. Looking forward to seeing where that is going. Also I’d like to see more of Tanmoku and Keika together in general, because even when they are deliberately misleading us about where a scene is going, it is still fun to watch.

Did I mention how glad I was that this show came back for a second season?

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Spiritpact – Bond of the Underworld Episode 1: Continuing From Where We Left Off

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Review:

Okay, given I haven’t gone back for season 2 of The Silver Guardian and a few other shows, you would have to wonder why midway through the season I would pick up season 2 of this, particularly given I did not recommend this show in my overall review of it. The simple answer is that by the end of season 1 I really loved Tanmoku and Keika and I wanted to see them get a happily ever after. So Season 2 coming out made my heart did a little leap of joy and despite the early and terrible comedy of this episode (reminiscent of the start of season 1 which was pretty terrible), by the end of the episode I was very much happy with the return to this story.

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Tanmoku is as inscrutable as ever and you have to wonder why he doesn’t communicate with Keika more clearly. A lot of the issues these two encounter would be solved just by a few extra words of explanation but I guess that is true of a lot of shows. Besides, the moment at the end of this episode where Tanmoku invites Keika into his soul is just glorious. Seriously, need more of those moments.

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We also got to see Keika’s magical girl like transformation sequence which is all kinds of hilarious no matter how you look at it.

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And the one thing this episode nailed was that despite being a reintroduction to a series and bringing back characters just so we knew who they were, it had its own story to make it feel like a worthwhile episode. Keika encounters a young yokai in the forest and tries to protect him with suitably devastating results really.

 

So yes, very happy to see this show return and looking forward to more of it. That said, unless you were one of the very few that ended up weirdly enjoying season 1, this isn’t exactly a show that I’m going to recommend. It isn’t exactly quality despite my genuine enjoyment found in watching it.

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Karandi James

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Spiritpact Episode 10

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Review:

I really wish we knew going in how many episodes an anime was going to have. I don’t know if this was the final episode or not, but it really felt like a season finale. Okay, we still have loose ends and plots drifting about giving plenty of sequel fodder, but this episode resolved a few major issues from this season. We now know why Tanmoku made Keika his spirit shadow and why he went to such lengths to keep him alive. Keika finally became useful and even found the sheath to the sword (and hey there was some purpose to earlier actions afterall).

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Tanmoku got his power back and let off some steam (I wonder why everytime someone uses massive amounts of power mountains end up looking like a crescent moon). Surely they’d just collapse. And then Keika and Tanmoku kiss right before Tanmoku passes out pinning Keika to the floor. All and all, this feels like a pretty satisfying conclusion even while I’d wonder if a season 2 was ever on the cards. However, I’ve been unable to find out if this actually is the final episode. I’d actually be disappointed if there were 2 or 3 more episodes. There isn’t enough time to really build up another threat and how do you top mountain destroying power?

Spiritpact is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spiritpact Episode 9

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Review:

There were two or three moments while watching this episode of Spiritpact where I found myself unable to even breathe as I watched the characters in their current struggle. The story hasn’t got any more coherent (I barely understand why they are actually fighting at this point), but somewhere along the way I actually started really caring about these characters. That’s quite an achievement given after episode 1 I really just wanted to see how long it would take before Tanmoku decided just to kill Keika given how irritating he was. I’m not sure when the transition occurred or why but right now, Keika’s fate is something I’m very much invested in and this episode was an incredibly tense watch as a result. I still can’t believe he cut the string. Of all the things I thought he might do in that situation, cutting the string did not feature. Next episode please?

Spiritpact is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spiritpact Episode 8

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Review:

I really enjoyed this episode and it feels like the story is going full speed now and the episode title was pretty cool (Turbulence with a Chance of Dilemma). That isn’t to say the show isn’t without its stumbles. Keika had one of his incredibly stupid moments early in the episode  (I guess these are supposed to be comedic) and that was followed by a mid-episode Sailor Moon style transformation sequence complete with shimmering ribbon effects.

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Actually, my real complaint with the episode comes from the master they go to visit. He delivers this line to Tanmoku:

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Seriously? Combat or equivalent exchange? You’ve never heard of an IOU? It seems like an arbitrary thing to hold to under the circumstances and an unnecessary way to add a little bit of extra tension later now that Tanmoku has reopened the previously magically sealed wound. Still, Spiritpact has proven to be highly entertaining after a fairly rough start.

Spiritpact is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spiritpact Episode 7

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Review:

We pick up directly from last episode with the family collecting Tanmoku from the site of the accident and a lot of blame being thrown at Keika. For various reasons a hospital is out of the question and a complex ritual needs to be performed and then for some reason we’ll just leave Tanmoku all alone in a room.

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Anyway, Keika gets given some new clothes that apparently Tanmoku prepared for him previously, so we go from green to blue and it matches the thing Tanmoku tied in his hair so that kind of visually works. Tanmoku’s fiancée helps Keika escape from a barrier and sends him to Tanmoku just in time to face off with the red youma guy again.

This episode moves quick and is enjoyable but my core issue with the story is that they’ve never once explained exactly what a spirit shadow can and can’t do, or should and should not be able to do. Therefore, when things get really rough, Keika pulling out some new power or move is essentially a get out of jail free card for the writers because the audience can’t deny the possibility, but at the same time it makes for a fairly unsatisfying way to tell a story. No situation has real consequence because you know the two main characters will somehow live through it, and there’s magic. Unexplained and so far reasonably unlimited magic. Yes, at times its extracted a toll and no one will claim it is consequence free but what situation would it not help them in? We don’t know, because they haven’t put any limits on what can be accomplished. So, here’s Keika at the end of the episode after yet another wardrobe change though this time he didn’t physically change outfits. Yep, magic happens.

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That said, this episode continues to improve on the series as a whole and Keika’s almost become a tolerable character.

Spiritpact is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spiritpact Episode 6

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Review:

Keika has apparently now been dead for 7 days so Tanmoku takes him back to his home where he gets to see hone is neighbours mourning him. While there are one or two throw-a-way moments, this episode continues with the character and relationship building we saw really take off last week. Intrigues and mysteries abound and while some information is revealed by the relatives later in the episode, what that information means is still pretty much being kept quiet from the audience.

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With the more serious tone becoming dominant, the relationship between Keika and Tanmoku sitting front and centre, and a mystery that seams worth getting into, Spiritpact is definitely getting better as it goes. And the ending of this episode really doesn’t allow you to walk away though I won’t spoil it.

Spiritpact is available on Crunchyroll.


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