Forget everything you expected from watching The Kingdoms of Ruin so far. It should be easy, given only one episode came out before this one. But the story moves forward and it goes wild in The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2, and thanks to a screener generously provided by Crunchyroll, I’m eager to provide my review, so let’s jump in.
Adonis’ Rage is Incredible and Terrifying to Behold
Imagine an Eren Yeager-type character, but swap out Titan abilities and a fiery sense of purpose with a tortured apprentice to somebody continuously recognized as the world’s most wonderful witch. This is Adonis, hear him roar. The episode quickly conveys how much of a crisis it is that he was let loose by Doroka, and how much of a disaster it is when he gets his signature weapon, allowing him to scribble into existence some deadly summoning. Adonis’ rage is incredible and terrifying to behold.
A More Tonally Consistent Episode
One of the most jarring aspects of the first episode is how quickly things turn incredibly sour for Chloe and Adonis. The viewers were always aware of the prejudice against witches, but the severity and deadliness of it could come as a shock to some viewers. This especially shocks those unfamiliar with the Salem witch trials, or any witch hunts, which is surprising given their namesake is a common phrase now.
But the nice thing about Episode 2 is that it’ll help Episode 1 age better. This is a more tonally consistent episode leaning into the over-the-top aspects, but becoming something far more imaginative. Instead of the most dramatic execution since the creation of hanging, drawing, and quartering, we get Adonis firing a bullet and turning it into a blimp-sized Banzai Bill of a projectile that rips into buildings. It’s awesome seeing him set loose in Redia, even if he goes directly after civilians and combatants alike.
Poor Adonis Can’t Rest a Moment
Since Chloe’s execution, Adonis has had a long streak of horrible fortune. His friend and mentor were brutally killed, and he was kept in extreme security lockdown to keep his rage in check. When Doroka finds him and he escapes, he’s pursued along with other escapees after he gets his weapon out of the Mayhem Internment Camp. A powerful imperial pursuer, Eekhout, is after him, capable of posing a threat even as Adonis brings a giant to the city.
While pursuing a sickly Emperor Goethe to collect on his obvious grudge, poor Adonis can’t rest a moment, but he’s not wholly sympathetic. His attack on the city spares no quarter, and if not for Doroka’s intervention, even more civilian lives would be lost. What Adonis lacked with Chloe, and finds with Doroka, is a better angel keeping his dark impulses in check. He learns that she is also a witch at this moment, sparking hope for him, but it’s cruelly torn away from him in the final moments of the episode, as she’s brutally sniped just as she tries to assure him he’s not alone.
The Kingdoms of Ruin is as edgy as ever, but it feels more deserved in this second episode. It’s brilliant and feels more original in how Adonis manifests his abilities while providing a mature protagonist who is not always sympathetic. Adonis’ quest for vengeance will likely have him abandoning his humanity, but seeing whether anything can pull him back from this abyss now will be interesting.
This review of The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2 was made using a screener provided by Crunchyroll. The Kingdoms of Ruin Episode 2 premiered on Friday, October 13, 2023, at 10:30 AM PT, and is available to stream on Crunchyroll.