This is a episode commentary. It is intended for someone who has seen this episode, and will contain episode spoilers.

Winning Against All Odds

Band of the Hand

Considering it’s been a long while since I watched episode three, the summary of plot at the opening of the episode came as rather useful. When watching a series on DVD, watching one or two episodes a day, day after day, this is the kind of thing to skip, but after such a long time since I watched the first three episodes, it came as more than welcome.

The more lines Ahmey speaks, the better she’s revealed to be as a character. She’s the experienced one, even if she’s otherwise a person of few words.

Between the ruthless mage with the scar, Pazuz, and Neeba’s ghostly acquaintance, I’m finding myself having trouble keeping up with who’s who and what’s going on. Maybe part of that is due to waiting so long between watching episodes.

The ghostly one talks about Neeba possibly not caring if his current party lives or dies on the way up the tower, and questions what he’ll do after he defeats Druaga. This highlights the unknown nature of Neeba’s quest. While Jil is happy-go-lucky, and excited at the thought of doing something as good for the people trapped by the tower, Neeba’s reasons are unknown. Certainly he has strong motives, but what are they? Something personal? Something selfish? Selfless doesn’t seem to fit, based on his reactions in that conversation. At any rate, his reason is one which the viewer must not know yet.

For Jil’s party on the other hand, revealing reasons is more of a necessity, as they are the ones focused on. Kaaya’s intention of saying her kid brother shows she’ll do her best, no matter how laid back she and the rest of the group (with obvious exception of Ahmey at times) is (assuming her reason is the truth, something she doesn’t make easy to determine).

Thus far, this series feels like one that I should be enjoying, but there’s something keeping it from being exciting. It’s slow-moving, and has a scripted feel, as if things were set up to go a certain way. Bad guy Pazuz sends the monsters to the beginner team. The advanced team can’t get there in time to save the beginner team. The beginner team manages to wipe out the monsters.

And yet, I look at my recent battles in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2. The last three battles had my characters against unimaginable odds. Everything went wrong at the start of each battle, and I couldn’t have survived a single one of them. I wasn’t prepared for any of them. And yet, somehow, things worked out in the end.

That’s how The Tower of Druaga seems to be. A weak group goes against strong enemies, and ends up surviving, somehow. Really, it’s all in the strategy used. Did the strategy of Jil, Kaaya, and the rest of the group really warrant a win from them?

The main reason I decided to check out another episode of this series was to see what happens after the cliffhanger at the end of episode two. When I headed over to Bost to buy the next episode, I realized I had already seen the third episode, and had forgotten about it completely. Watching the fourth episode, I had to remember about the groups current situation, and about the sword. I blame the span of time between my watching episodes, but it also goes to show the lack of impression the series if having on me.

When Kally’s party met up with him to see the aftermath of the battle, and Kally spoke a line while he was off-camera, I became strongly aware of his voice actor being Akira Ishida (Yuichi from Seven of Seven). I wonder if this voice actor often plays soft-voiced characters.

I think the reason I continue to watch is because of the opening and ending theme portions. They show the characters in a casual setting. He’s shown where Fatina not only has no interest in Jil, while having a crush on Neeba. (At yet, she’ll take the toast right out of his mouth, for her own breakfast.) Jil may feel shot down, but Kaaya’s the one for him. She’s the one spending time with him, the one travelling with him, the one blowing at his ear to catch his attention when she could have said something,or put a hand on his shoulder, to let him know it was time for the next shift. She’s the one who’ll joke with him about a serious situation.

I still can’t get used to Coopa’s voice, and her manner of speaking.

And I still think this series is perfect for an English dub due to the non-Japanese nature. Sure, there’s Coopa’s line about how Jil can drop the suffix when addressing her, but that can translate easily along the lines of: “Thanks, Miss Coopa.” “Please Master Jil, call me Coopa. No need to be formal. Around here, we’re all like family.”

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