Episode 12: The Fearsome Illusionist Caldina
Review by Peter Laliberte
June 19, 2013
Caldina makes her way through a forest looking for the Knights with Ascot following after her. She assures him that she'll defeat the Knights and allow him to go back to the castle. The Knights rest by a water fall until Mokona points them in a new direction. It indicates that they have to head to the same flying mountain Zagato kept them from before. They wonder how they'll get there since their flying ship is broken and Mokona points to a nearby mountain it wants them to climb. Caldina and Ascot see them climbing up the mountain. She tells Ascot to wait there while she handles things. The Knights look over Cephiro and are reminded of its beauty. They wonder what Cephiro used to be like when they notice a sweet scent. They all start to feel dizzy and the ground begins moving under them. Rocks fall from above causing them to jump off the cliff. The rocks vanish before they hit and the girls end up at the base of the mountain. The ground starts moving again and Hikaru realizes it's an illusion. Trees fall but cause no damage. They escape into a cave, which is exactly what Caldina wanted. The girls realize the cause must be one of Zagato's minions so they keep their guards up. They hear Clef's voice and head deeper into the cave where they find Clef himself. Clef says he's saved the princess and that she wants to see the Knights. Hikaru and Umi are happy to hear it but Fuu is suspicious. Clef opens a hole and says Emeraude waits inside.
They are met by Emeraude and Fuu thinks it's all too easy. Fuu asks if there's another way of beating Zagato other than reviving the Rune-Gods. Emeraude doesn't answer and attacks them instead. The princess and her two escorts turn into monsters. The girls realize it was a trap and draw their swords. They try to attack the monsters, but they keep disappearing. The monsters are able to hit them and they wonder if the wounds are illusions too. They close their eyes and the illusions lose their effectiveness. Umi opens her eyes and flees, only to run off a cliff. The other two follow and they all land unconscious on the ground. Caldina drops a real rock on them but Mokona manages to wake Umi up in time for her to destroy it. The boulder fragments fly back at Caldina and knock her off the mountain. Ascot goes to her but she tells him to finish off the Magic Knights instead. Ascot attacks but Umi fends off the summoned monsters with her magic. A few get past and take Hikaru and Fuu hostage. Ascot says he'll have his friends play with them for revenge. Umi snaps at him and holds her sword to his throat, making him let go of Hikaru and Fuu. After making sure the others recovered, Umi asks why Ascot is attacking them. Ascot explains that Zagato told him he could stay in the castle with all his friends if he defeated the Magic Knights. He yells at them for killing his friends but Umi slaps him. She asks why he'd send his friends after them when they might get killed and he says they aren't accepted anywhere. Ascot says his friends don't cause trouble unless he tells them to so Umi says he should trust them since they have good hearts despite their looks. By helping Zagato Ascot is making his friends into bad guys. Ascot apologizes and Umi apologizes for attacking his friends too. Umi asks him to be their friend. Ascot meets up with Caldina, who asks him if he finished off the Knights. He says it doesn't matter anymore and leaves.
Now this is much better. The Knights find themselves in a predicament and get themselves out of it using their own wits and skills rather than relying on some convenient power up to save them. There are a few things that felt forced in for the sake of making it a predicament, though. The girls knew they were dealing with illusions so why didn't they realize immediately that Clef was fake? Why did Umi open her eyes and then run away? Leaving her friends behind like that is extremely out of character. Her encounter with Ascot is much better and it finally sets Ascot on the right path. Despite its flaws this episode has been one of the more engaging thus far.
4 out of 5 stars
Buy the collection (eps 1-49) on Blu-ray from Amazon