Originally published on The Fandom Post
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Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Now that we’ve learned at least part of Lin’s past, it’s starting to catch up to him, and is set to drag Hakata into a full on gang war. Having somehow survived his injuries, Fei-Lan has come to Hakata on behalf of the Kakyu Association, all the while searching for Lin. I’m still not a huge fan of Fei-Lan turning out to be a villain-he was more interesting as the one nice guy in a hellhole-but Ramens is using it reasonably well to shed light on Lin’s trust issues.
In a somewhat clichéd move, Lin ends up deciding to leave Banba out of fear that he’d turn out exactly like Fei-Lan. This sort of plotline has been done to death (we all know Lin and Banba will reconcile in the end and become closer than ever), but there’s enough meat behind Lin’s emotions that it’s still somewhat effective. I’m still curious about the six years between Lin’s duel with Fei-Lan and his arrival in Hakata, but what we’ve been given so far does a better job of fleshing him out than the previous eight episodes all put together.
As Lin is going through all of this, Banba is continuing with his attacks on the Kakyu Association. With help from his ex, Banba and Lin now have the names of all the executives, and are in a semi-race with Sarucchi (who’s now working for a rival syndicate) to wipe out the Association executives. Sarucchi’s terrible aim with his shuriken is as amusing as ever, while Banba and Lin’s assassination is a good reminder that these two goofballs are also experienced hitmen who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Now that Fei-Lan has entered the picture, Hakata has yet another loose canon wandering around. Unlike Lin and Banba, Fei-Lan doesn’t seem to care about doing his assassinations in public. His very first mission in Hakata ends with him killing an informant right in the middle of a convenience store that happens to be staffed by Saito (who I’m thoroughly convinced is a reincarnation of Bad Luck Brian). His second ends with him slaughtering a warehouse full of rival syndicate members, only to be interrupted by Sarucchi.
Fei-Lan himself has a surprisingly intimidating presence. His bright red hair and the scar over his left eye give him a striking appearance, and his callous attitude towards everything screams that something inside him is just broken. Ramens even went as far as giving him his own musical theme, a minimalistic whistle that imparts a vague sense of dread.
While it’s not quite as good as last week’s episode, Ramens’ is clearly setting up to go out with a bang. In the span of two episodes, Lin has already become a far more interesting character than he was before, and the stage is set for an explosive climax. Here’s hoping that Ramens delivers on this potential.