Shu demonstrates the tragic price of revenge
Engage the kiss is a thrilling action/adventure shonen anime found in the summer 2022 anime season, telling the story of relatable protagonist Ogata Shu and his quest to slay demons so he can pay his rent and utilities public on time. At least, that’s how the first episode of the series set things up, but now Shu has become a truly tragic protagonist with much more on his mind than the electricity bill.
Episode 3 revealed the dark truth of how Shu’s partner Kisara obtains her demonic power for combat, and by Episode 9 it became clear that Shu pays a heavy personal price for the power needed. to complete his quest. At this rate, Shu’s revenge mission might not even be worth it, and several other characters have commented on this. Shu just can’t go on like this, and he shouldn’t try either.
The excessive price of Kisara’s power
It’s clear now that Ogata Shu is paying a heavy price to gain access to Kisara’s awesome demonic power, mostly by giving up his precious memories of his friends and lovers. It was a dark scenario even in previous episodes, when Shu let go of his memories of his girlfriend Ayano to unleash Kisara’s power for another battle. Now it’s become downright tragic, with Shu letting go of the memories of almost everyone he’s ever loved for his revenge.
Shu let go of memories of his nun warrior friend Sharon, for example, and in recent episodes he even let go of fond memories of his adoptive father, Officer Miles Morgan. At this rate, Shu could become an empty shell of a person, seemingly lonely and emotionally numb with all those missing memories. As Shu continues to let go of more memories, his personal life withers, which is sure to cause severe emotional distress for him and his friends.
In-universe, it’s a good idea for Shu to simply abandon his revenge plan and part ways with the memory-hungry Kisara for good. For plot reasons, of course, Shu can’t go that route, otherwise the story of this action/adventure anime comes to an end. However, in the universe, all the signs point in a worrying direction, and Shu would do well to heed them. Several of his allies and friends have expressed concerns about Shu’s methods, such as Ayano urging him to forgo revenge.
Shu’s secret ally, General Manager Mikhail Hachisuka, took drastic measures to discourage Shu from continuing his quest for revenge, only to fail. Akino Yugiri of Demon Hunting Society AAA made sure that Shu could continue his quest anyway, and Mikhail was outraged. It’s impossible for a haughty, pretentious boy like Mikhail to get angry without a good reason – a clear sign that Shu’s memory accords with Kisara are killing him inside. This deal with the devil has finally reached boiling point and Shu is already getting burned.
Void of revenge in anime
Shu’s personal quest for revenge and the price he pays for it plays into the larger theme of how tragically empty revenge can be in the world of anime and manga. Some of the most exciting storylines are born out of a desire for revenge, ranging from Thorfinn seeking revenge on his father’s killer in Vinland Saga to Guts’ mission to destroy Griffith in Berserk. However, it is not a good club. Sooner or later, these protagonists have learned, or will soon learn, that two wrongs never make a right. Revenge is born out of an intense need for emotional release, but otherwise it’s pointless. Even when the quest is complete, the vengeful character may end up feeling empty and lost afterwards, especially if they have been doing this revenge all their life.
These quests for revenge are destructive in nature, and even the bravest antihero will never find lasting happiness this way. Not only is the destruction miserable, but it’s also a dead end, even for the survivor. A person or object can only be destroyed once, and the character seeking revenge cannot go any further. They need something constructive to look forward to, and best of all, the quest to create can take a lifetime and give a person immense satisfaction and a sense of purpose. The destruction is brief; creation is eternal.
In the world of Engage the kiss, Shu must learn this quickly and find a new path in life that doesn’t involve giving up his precious memories to destroy a demon. In order to protect the innocent civilians of Bayron City, Shu has every reason to fight the demons. However, when it comes to personal matters, revenge is a dead end, and one that will cost him everything.