World Trigger: Episode 20 – “Duel! Yuma vs. Midorikawa”

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.

The first half of Episode 20 focuses on Shun and Yuma’s solo Rank War. Shun easily wins the first two rounds, and it appears that Yuma may have met his match. However, starting with the third round, Yuma turns things around and wins the remaining eight to become the ultimate victor. When I saw this change, I figured that Yuma had spent the first two rounds sizing up Shun’s moves and abilities. My guess was confirmed as correct when Yuma made a comment to Jin and Osamu afterward. The nice thing about Shun’s loss is that it helped to humble him a little. Shun admits to initially trying to humiliate Osamu with his original challenge, and he gives Osamu what I felt was a legitimate apology, so this helped to improve my initial opinion of Shun.

Near the end of the episode, Jin is asked to bring Yuma and Osamu to a meeting with Kido and the other high-ranking officers. They are briefed about the prediction that there will be a huge attack by Neighbors soon, and Yuma is asked his opinion since he’s a Neighbor. Yuma unveils Replica to Kido and the other officers, and Replica says he will only provide information that he has if Kido agrees to guarantee Yuma’s safety.

The tension gets rather high at this point, especially after Osamu realizes that Replica and Yuma are testing Kido with Yuma’s lie detector Side Effect. To emphasize the tension, there’s an extended section that focuses on reaction shots. While this could have also been done to try to stretch things out a little, I believe that the extended reaction shots were done for an effect, in order to build and maintain the tension.

Episode 20 ends with Yuma and Replica being satisfied with Kido’s answer, and Replica agrees to share what knowledge he has of the Neighbors. From the preview for Episode 21, along with the episode’s title, I’m almost afraid that it’s going to primarily focus on exposition and not much on any real action.

But Episode 20 did a good job developing Shun as a character, and I found myself starting to like him a little better than I did at the beginning of the episode. I also appreciated seeing Replica being hesitant and not entirely trusting of Border HQ, since there are some higher up in the chain of command who blindly hate Neighbors. As Yuma’s chaperone, Replica has to look out for him.

I also have to give Episode 20 credit for its pacing, because it felt more natural than many of the episodes of the series have up to this point. While most of the rounds of the solo Rank War went by quickly, that’s the way they had to be. Trying to extend most of them out would have hampered the flow of the story. I’m just hoping that Episode 21 isn’t going to be as dry and boring as I’m afraid it’s going to be.

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