World Trigger: Episode 19 – “Rank War, Shun Midorikawa’s Plot”

World Trigger is set in Mikado City, where a “gate” to a different world opens one day and monsters known as Neighbors start appearing from it. Earth’s weapons don’t work against these monsters, but a mysterious group appears and starts fighting against the Neighbors. The group, known as the Border defense agency, creates a defense system against the Neighbors that emerge from the gates. Four-and-a-half years later, a 15-year-old boy named Osamu meets a strange boy named Yuma; Osamu is secretly a member of Border while Yuma turns out to be a Neighbor.

Episode 19 focuses strongly on Yuma. We see that he’s coming in at number one for the various exercises that the trainees do. While he’s starting to gain the 3000 points he needs, it’s pointed out to him that with joint exercises twice a week, it’ll take him 19 weeks to get what he needs. Tokieda from Arashiyama Squad introduces Yuma to C-Rank Wars, which are one-on-one combats in virtual fields where winners can rack up points faster. While Tokieda provides some exposition during this point, it doesn’t bog down the flow of the story. Yuma ends up going against the three cocky guys we met in Episode 17, whom he has dubbed “The Idiot Trio.” Yuma easily beats them.

Shuji has a run-in with Yuma, and Shuji is visibly frustrated because now that Yuma has enlisted into Border, he isn’t allowed to kill Yuma even though he’s a Neighbor. Yuma surprises Shuji by knowing about his sister being killed by a Neighbor. Not only that, Yuma offers to help track down his sister’s killer. Unfortunately, Shuji is still blinded by his hatred of Neighbors and wants nothing to do with Yuma or the help he could potentially provide. Hopefully Yuma will somehow convince Shuji to change his mind, because I think Yuma is Shuji’s best chance to track down his sister’s killer.

Osamu, meanwhile, is approached by Shun Midorikawa after Osamu gains a reputation for tying with Kazama in Episode 18. Shun challenges Osamu to a solo Rank War, and Osamu accepts. Unfortunately for Osamu, he loses all 10 rounds. Right at the end of the episode, Yuma challenge Shun to a solo Rank War, with the following wager: Shun’s win would see Yuma giving Shun all of his points, while Yuma’s win would force Shun to recognize Osamu as “senpai.” Yuma’s challenge to Shun is probably the closest I’ve seen Yuma get angry at this point in World Trigger.

We also get to see a meeting that includes some of the higher-ups at Border, with the topic being the projection that a large-scale Neighbor invasion could happen in the near future. It’s also revealed that by a high probability, this invasion will be a larger scale than the one that happened four years earlier. This is definitely setting the stage for raising the stakes, and showing that there’s more brewing than just training Yuma and Chika and watching them rack up the points they need.

I started reading Weekly Shonen Jump about a year ago, and I believe that at the time I started, the story was in the middle of the large-scale Neighbor invasion that’s mentioned in Episode 19. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the manga prior to that point, so I have no idea how much longer it will actually take the anime to reach the point of the invasion. But I have to give the anime credit for the fact that this episode has a more natural flow to it and that the pacing felt right. Of course, I’ve occasionally said this about other episodes as well, but then the pacing and flow returned to a weaker state, so this doesn’t necessarily mark a change for the anime adaptation. But hopefully the anime can maintain this natural flow and pacing for a little while longer.

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