As flashbacks go that was better than most. But I’m definitely glad it’s over. One of the best things about Helck was the way it deftly veered between darkness and silly comedy, and that was pretty much absent during the past several eps. Because there basically was no comedy. That’s not all that was absent of course. Pretty much every character from the first cour was, too. I recognize that Helck’s backstory was plot and character-essential, and it had some genuinely powerful moments. But I think it lasted about two episodes too long.
In the last vestiges of the flashback, it’s confirmed (though we kinda knew) that some humans retain something of themselves after awakening. Zeru answers that question with his presence, but poses others. This Zeruzeon is not the man Helck knew – her is, as Vermilio says, “drunk on power”. Is it really nothing more than memories that these compatible humans retain – nothing of their values or morals? I don’t think we’ve seen enough to confirm that’s how it is for everybody, though Helck certainly seems to think so.
We can also confirm that Mikaros is a right bastard (again, duh). And that Cless isn’t dead but actually a whole lot worse. And lastly, how Helck got to the demon realm – basically teleported there to get him out of the way using Cless’ power. I do get that Helck remained a danger to Rafeed and Mikaros’ (and the king’s, of course) grand scheme. But delivering him into the hands of the enemy (Kenros to be specific) – either intentionally or through an innate randomness in the teleportation magic – strikes me as a pretty foolhardy move.
And, then, at long last, back to Piwi World the present. Having heard Helck’s sad tale, Anne has nothing but sympathy for him. So much so that she can’t deny his request to take Hero Killer. She does, however, try and convince him not to battle any more of his old friends for the sake of the demon realm. That’s a non-starter – when Helck says he’s the only one that can defeat the awakened humans (or the King) I’m not sure he’s wrong. And that’s exactly what Azudora has in mind, as it happens, though Helck and Vermilio don’t know that yet.
At that point the segue into pre-flashback mode is so complete that it’s jarring only for its suddenness. We’re back to comedy as the main trio catch a train (who knew there were trains in the demon realm), as Piwi bonds with the train engineer. There’s ice cream and pasta, and then an arrival at the terminal, from which point the trio head off into the badlands in search of the next town. Meanwhile Harpey, the last survivor (or last functioning member anyway) of the party Azudora sent to look for Vermilio is on the hunt. Vermilio kills a monster that’s been terrorizing a small town for generations, much to the amazement of its drama queen chief, and the three are welcomed as heroes (which is where Harpey finds them).
I’m actually sort of curious to see if my receptiveness for “original” Helck will have shifted at all after this long detour. That version of Helck tended to drift a bit when Vermilio, Helck, and Piwi were out of the spotlight. Given that Azudora’s Plan A rides on Helck and Vermilio taking out the human king (which Helck believes would actually make things worse, so that will have to be sorted) while the main army acts as a distraction, I’m sure the main trio will get a lot of screen time. But the series may play a little differently now than it did before.