A long time ago, I used to do reviews for movies and shows on another website. I haven’t done one in a long time, but lately I’ve been watching a show that I’m really enjoying and I wanted to talk about it. So I’m taking today’s blog post to discuss the Japanese animated show “Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers-“.
Now, because of the nature of this show, it will be impossible to discuss it in a spoiler-free manner. So, I am warning you now: if you do not want this show spoiled for you up through episode 7 (the most recent at the time of this writing), do not read any further.
Again, this is your warning. If you don’t want spoilers, please do not continue reading, and skip this post instead.
OK, let’s start with a summary of the show. Taking the description from Crunchyroll.com (the website where I legally watch this show online), Rokka is about:
Legend says, when the Evil God awakens from the deepest of darkness, the god of fate will summon Six Braves and grant them with the power to save the world. Adlet, who claims to be the strongest on the face of this earth, is chosen as one of the “Brave Six Flowers,” and sets out on a battle to prevent the resurrection of the Evil God. However, it turns out that there are Seven Braves who gathered at the promised land…
The promised land the description spoke of is a place near the peninsula where the Evil God (or Demon God) sleeps. At this location, several powerful warriors called “Saints” created a temple with a barrier that, once triggered, will trap anyone and everyone inside it – human or demon (lesser demons are known as “fiends”). The idea behind this is to bottle the fiends in at this location so they can neither invade and attack nearby kingdoms nor interfere while the Braves fight the Demon God.
When a small group of Braves arrive near the temple, they find it under attack by fiends. Adlet arrives at the temple first, breaks the sealed doors, and is attacked by the guardians. He defends himself, but before he can enter the temple, the barrier triggers. Rushing inside, he finds the temple empty. As the other Braves arrive, they realize that there is one Brave too many, and suspect that one of them is a false Brave who activated the barrier to trap them all. Thus, the stage is set.
Now let’s meet our players:
Adlet: the self-proclaimed “Strongest man in the world”. A user of explosives, poisons, and other unusual weaponry. The protagonist whom acts as the viewer’s point of view of events.
Nashetania: a princess, and the current Saint of Blades, who can use magic to create and control weapons.
Fremy: a half-fiend, and the first Saint of Gunpowder. She was raised by fiends and tasked by them to kill potential Braves, but rebelled shortly before the awakening of the Demon God.
Goldof: a knight of Nashetania’s kingdom, who had been investigating the “Brave Killer”. Devoted to Nashetania, and distrustful of Fremy (whom he identified as the Brave Killer).
Chamo: a fourteen-year-old girl, and the current Saint of Swamps. Considered to be the strongest Saint of this generation, she has a violent and bloodthirsty personality.
Mora: a woman who is the current Saint of Mountains, and the leader of all 78 known Saints (excluding the newly-created Saint of Gunpowder).
Hans: an assassin with an unusual fighting style. His patterns of speech mimic cats.
This story is what we, and one of the characters, would call a “Locked room scenario”. The Seven are trapped together until the barrier is dispelled, and that will only happen if A) the person who activated it releases it or B) the person who activated it dies. The barrier can also only be activated by a human, as the fiends cannot enter the temple due to protection spells around it. The Seven know that one of them is a fake Brave, since there cannot be any more or less than Six Braves of the Six Flowers. The temple has only one way in, and there is no evidence of tampering with the temple’s seal. The temple appears to be untouched prior to Adlet entering.
So who is the fake Brave? Who activated the barrier?
First, how do each of them prove that they are a Brave? Each Brave has a crest somewhere on their body that marks them as one of the Braves of the Six Flowers. If a Brave dies, their petal disappears from the crest on the other Braves. The only other power the crest displays is that the Braves who carry it can survive the poisonous miasma of the Demon God’s territory (the Braves are near it, but not currently there).
Adlet is the only Brave we see receiving their crest – a red light shines out of the west, the territory of the Demon God. The light descends like a mist into the cell where Adlet is being held prisoner, and glowing tendrils reach out from it towards him. He awakens suddenly as though he were dreaming, falls out of bed, and grabs his right hand in pain as the crest appears on the back of his palm. Nashitania arrives minutes later to break Adlet out of jail, and they escape together on two horses she had prepared.
We are not shown how any of the other Braves receive their crest, but all of them do indeed have a crest. Fremy’s is on the back of her left palm, Goldof’s is on his right shoulder, Nashitania’s is at the center of her collarbone, Chamo’s is on her right thigh, Hans is over his heart, and Mora’s is on her back between her shoulder blades.
Next, let’s look at their order of arrival at the temple.
Adlet arrives first, to find the temple sealed. After he breaks the seal, he’s delayed by the guardians, the barrier activates, and he enters the temple to find it empty. We the viewers know that he did not activate the barrier, but none of the other characters are present to confirm Adlet’s innocence.
Next, Nashetania, Goldof, and Fremy arrive together. They had been traveling with Adlet, and stopped to fight fiends while he headed off to the temple. While the four of them are there, Goldof, Adlet, and Nashetania each try to use the two that triggered the barrier to dispel it, in that order.
Following that, Chamo arrives, then Mora. Hans arrives last.
Next, have any of the Braves exhibited suspicious behavior?
Adlet is currently considered the primary suspect, mostly because he was the first reach the temple and entered it alone. We the viewers know that he is innocent, but the other Braves suspect him. When confronted, he kidnaps Fremy and escapes wounded. Fremy treats his wounds, and after a discussion, she leaves him to return to the other Braves. Despite the absence of proof, Adlet believes there is an Eighth player on the stage who is responsible for activating the barrier.
Fremy’s identity as the Brave Killer makes her a suspect for a large part of the story, but she is clear of suspicions because of Adlet. While they were traveling together, she had multiple opportunities to take his life, but did not. However, she lies to the other Braves upon returning to them – saying that she escaped from Adlet, and would have captured him but was unable to do so.
Nashetania’s actions in episode 1 make her suspicious to me. Not only does she arrive to release Adlet mere minutes after he receives his crest, she also seeks him out when he is first imprisoned and the two have a lengthy conversation. I find her arrival after he obtains his crest suspicious, as well as their earlier conversation – which almost seems like her attempting to “case” him for some role.
Goldof is mostly a stoic straight-man, but he seems…nervous a few times. Whether this is guilt, some ulterior motive, or due to an infatuation with Nashetania, I cannot say. I doubt he is the traitor.
Chamo, Mora, and Hans all arrive late and alone to the temple. Their actions prior to the barrier activating cannot be confirmed by anyone – neither by the viewer nor by another Brave. Chamo seems downright bloodthirsty at times, even going so far as to claim that she (a fourteen-year-old) is looking forward to torturing someone for information. Hans often provokes the other Braves, whether for his own amusement or to a sinister end I cannot say. Mora has the one and only key to the temple, though it cannot be resealed once opened – not even with the key.
So, who did it? And why?
I’ll address the why first: the Demon God and its fiends have historically tried to kill Braves before they grouped up and entered its territory. Having all the Braves trapped like this removes them from the battle until they figure out who is responsible. It buys time, and the longer they’re in there, the worse the situation outside the barrier becomes. And if they play their cards wrong, they could end up killing one of their allies in an attempt to break the barrier and reduce the number of enemies the Demon God eventually has to fight.
And now the big question: Who is the Seventh Brave? Who is the traitor? Who activated the barrier?
Why does the answer to these three questions have to be just one person?
I like Adlet’s logic that there is not only a Seventh Brave, but also an Eighth player who activated the barrier. But there’s nothing to indicate that the traitor has to be the Seventh Brave. Could the traitor not be one of the Six actual Braves? By wooing an enemy, the Demon God increases its allies and reduces the number of opponents. Furthermore, the Demon God has fought the Braves twice in the past and learned from its encounters with them. That being the case, would it not make sense for the Demon God to mark an additional person with the Crest in order to cause confusion and disarray? A traitor could be ferreted out, but the confusion surrounding seven Braves could reduce the number of enemies even further as well as buy the Demon God time to gather its strength.
And given the scene immediately prior to Adlet obtaining his Crest, I believe that he is the Seventh – an artificial Brave who was marked as a decoy. There is also the possibility that there is no traitor as all, because a decoy alone would be sufficient to cause confusion and unrest amongst the Braves.
So who is the traitor if there was one? And who activated the barrier?
The barrier and its temple were created by three Saints: the Saint of Salt, the Saint of Seals, and the Saint of Fog. The Saint of Salt created the structure, the Saint of Seals locked the barrier room and placed guardians, and the Saint of Fog created the barrier.
No fiend could have activated the barrier, since the power of the Saint of Salt repelled them. However, they knew about the temple, which should have only been known to people in the kingdom where the temple was located and to the Saints who created it. And while there are fiends who can transform into a human appearance – and one of them tricked Adlet into breaking the seal on the temple – none of them could have entered. The temple still repelled them. Even Fremy, a half-fiend, said she felt pain while passing through the barrier because of her fiend blood.
And when the temple was sealed, the only thing that should have been inside were the guardians. But since the barrier would dispel if the activator died, we know that the Saint of Seal’s guardians did not activate the barrier because Adlet destroyed them. It had to be someone human. But someone who knew about the temple, which was constructed by the Saints of the previous generation, had to have given information to the fiends. The means that either one of the high ranking members of the kingdom informed the fiends, or a Saint told them.
There were only four Saints who would have been aware of the temple: the three who created it, and the previous leader of all the Saints (whom I assume was told where these three Saints were going and what they were doing). Mora that leader’s direct successor. To me, that points the finger straight at her. Mora is my bet for a traitor, if there is one at all.
So who activated the barrier?
Damned if I know; the show’s still not over. But the mystery of the Eighth intrigues me, and that’s my current theory. As for how and why, I’ll just have to keep watching. I’m intrigued, and I hope you are too.