Episode 7 – Revenger – Anime News Network:IN

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Revenger ?

Community score: 3.9


This is perhaps the most uncomfortable episode of Revenger to sit through yet, but despite the potential pitfalls it manages to up the stakes of the story considerably.

The opium trade in Nagasaki is brought front and center this week. Behind the trade is an illicit ring of nuns bringing opium and sex workers to priests who otherwise could not go to the red-light districts to participate. Beyond that, the sex workers are themselves former priests or others who have been forcibly addicted then made to become part of the sex trade against their will. All the priests are pressured into participating one way or another, creating an endless cycle of use and abuse where people profit from the suffering of others.

The human faces in this tragedy are the young priest Saika and the sex worker Ichinojo. Both of them are caught up in this situation against their will, and they are trying to help each other survive. It’s difficult to watch, to put it mildly, and while I wouldn’t call any of the prior stories light-hearted this was one of the heaviest thus far.

I think it’s ultimately the back half of the episode where the audience has to wrestle with the implications and realizations of all that is going on. It’s easy to root for our heroes when they take out the villains and it feels cathartic to see awful people get their comeuppance. But whether it’s poor folks like Saika and Ichinoji getting caught up in tangled webs beyond their control, or the powerful magistrates casually discussing how to abuse the bitten-gold system in the end, we are forced to wonder why such violence and inhumanity are allowed to exist at all. Is it enough to treat only the symptoms of evil, rather than the root? Is it even possible to defeat evil of such a magnitude –on that crosses national boundaries, generations, religions, and professions?

As Nio remarks, “If there is a hell, we’re already in it.”

And yet despite the damage caused, Saika and Ichinojo do find a way back to one another by the end. If nothing else, those small acts of kindness are not meaningless, and even saving one person is an act worth doing.


Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.

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