Literary Analysis — VIRGIN SOUL #18: Invictus

Summary: Nina arrives at the lair at night, and Rita asks her if, perhaps, she has transformed into a dragon while outside. However, she denies it and goes to her room. 

On her way, she meets Favaro, who has followed her and has seen that she has met Charioce and asks her if she's in love with him. 

Nina denies it, and Favaro plays along, implying that there's no way someone like her could seduce a king, so they both end-up laughing out loud. 

Their conversation is interrupted by Azazel, who comes in and files off his neck shackle to free himself from it. 

Nina hasn't seen him in a while, so the first thing she does is apologize for not having been able to transform into a dragon when he needed her. However, Azazel tells her it doesn't matter because he never expected anything from her. Mugaro sees Azazel, whom he has missed all this time, but Azazel doesn't greet him and passes by. 

Once again reunited to find out how everyone fared with gathering information about Dromos, Hamsa reports he couldn't get close to it because it's heavily guarded. 

Bacchus adds that there're too many guards in the city due to Kaisar and Favaro's escape. 

Unable to get information from the weapon, Kaisar notes that their only clue lies in the bracelet Charioce is wearing. Hamsa asks if he's even wearing it all the time, and Nina affirms that he is. 

Rita wants to know how she knows that, to which Nina replies that she reckons seeing him wearing the bracelet when she bumped into him in prison. Favaro says that, even if so, how's it that they'll be able to get close to the king. 

Rita comments that thanks to a nobleman she sees at her clinic, she knows that a ball will be held at the palace in four days. 

Kaisar asks if they'll have to infiltrate the palace to get close to Charioce, and Rita says yes, but they'll need help. 

Kaisar asks to let him handle it, as he knows a nobleman from a family invited to the event. Rita leaves it in his hands and then asks who among them will be the one to infiltrate the palace. 

Nina volunteers, but they all agree that it isn't suitable for her. Regardless, Nina insists and tells them there's nothing to worry about since she has learned how to transform into a dragon. 

And, to the disbelief of those present, she gives a demonstration that stuns everyone. 

Azazel, upset, asks her why it's now that she can become and not when he needed her, to which Nina replies that it's because she now knows what it feels like to be loved, something that ends up frustrating him so much that he leaves the place. 

Seeing that his friend is in emotional distress, Mugaro runs after him. 

At the castle, the supervisors of Dromos development inform Charioce that there's only thirty percent left to complete it. 

Charioce orders them to hurry up and finish it as soon as possible because even though the workers are tired, they're being well paid. 

As the advisors leave, the leader of the Onyx Soldiers reports to him that people spotted the Red Dragon flying in the skies of Anatae last night. 

Charioce, who knows he was spied on, orders him to speak up. 

The soldier removes part of his armor and shows him his charred right arm, consumed by the power of the green stone, and tells him that the Onyx Soldiers offer their lives for him and that he needs him to give them the order —to break the seal and contain Bahamut— before their lives are consumed. 

Charioce tells him that he'll do it.

As the leader retreats from the royal hall, one of his subordinates tells him there are still no new clues about the Red Dragon. However, a certain man they contacted will arrive in the night. 

The leader orders them to hurry and have the money ready for him. 

As his subordinate withdraws, the leader continues his way and meets Alessand. 

Mugaro wanders the streets, trying to find Azazel's whereabouts. 

All around him, soldiers are trying to catch rebels to the crown who dislike Charioce for his arrogance, but in the middle of their search, they notice a boy who looks like the Holy Child. 

Mugaro runs away from them but soon finds himself trapped in a dead-end street. 

Azazel rescues him and flies him to a distant zone. 

Safe, Azazel passes him his hat to disguise his friend so he won't be recognized and then leaves for the area where Belphegor and Dante died. Mugaro follows him and apologizes for not being able to help him that time, but Azazel tells him that he has nothing to apologize for. 

At night, Dias and Alessand visit the usual host club, and although Alessand is happy to be there, Dias says that, while it's true that they frequent the place, it would be an embarrassment for them if Kaisar saw them there. 

Alessand gets upset and tells him there's no way Kaisar would know they're there since he's a fugitive. 

Cerby comes to cheer him up. While drunk, Alessand recalls his conversation with the leader of the Onyx Task Force. 

Alessand asked to be part of his squad, but the leader told him he wasn't worthy enough to join them, which depressed him.

A new host at the club attends to Alessand, but he gets annoyed because her face reminds him of Kaisar's, so he ends up punching her. In doing so, he notices that the host is actually Kaisar in disguise, much to his and Dias' surprise.

In a host club's private room, Kaisar talks to them as he removes the makeup from his face. Kaisar knew his men were visiting the place, and he went to meet them that night because he needed to ask them for a favor. 

Dias is willing to help, but Alessand isn't. 

Kaisar tells them about Charioce's weapon and that he needs to stop the king from using it for future conflicts. For that, he needs to infiltrate the palace on the day of the ball, which will take place in three days, and he needs Alessand's help to achieve the goal, as only select noble families are invited, among them, the Visponti family. 

Alessand refuses, arguing that he has no reason to help him since he's a traitor, a fugitive, and one of the most wanted in the kingdom. 

Dias tries to calm him, but Alessand insists that Kaisar is the one who ruined their lives and that the Orleans Knights can never again be what they once were and that they're useless. 

Kaisar tells him that isn't true, that they're his trusted subordinates, and that he's to blame for what has happened to the knights, but still, he needs his help because he must find out what Charioce intends to do with his weapon, even if it costs him his life. 

Seeing him so desperate, Alessand agrees to help as long as he doesn't have to risk his life. 

In the lair, Nina thinks of Chris and admires the pendant he gave her. After making sure no one is around, Nina shouts: 'I love you' at the top of her lungs. 

Favaro, who was lurking around, hears her and asks what she's doing. Nina replies that it's nothing and that he can leave, but when Favaro sees the pendant Nina is holding in her hand, he asks her who gave it to her, but she again dodges the question. 

Favaro tells Nina he doesn't care what she's hiding, but she should think carefully about her decisions, as when one thing is chosen, another is lost. For that reason, he gave up being a knight and became a bounty hunter, but even so, he couldn't escape having to make important decisions. And, to this day, he wonders if the biggest he ever had to make was the right one or not. So, finally, Favaro advises his disciple to choose what she'll never have to regret later.

Nina doesn't understand what he means. Then, Favaro asks her if she's in love with Charioce.

Given the situation, Nina lies and tells him she cannot tell him. Favaro knows the answer even though she hides it from him, so he teases Nina by shouting 'I love you', just like she did recently. 

Nina blushes and tries to throw Favaro into the water to shut him up.

That same night, outside the castle, the Onyx Task Force meets the hitman they had hired, who's waiting for the money they had agreed to pay him. Seeing that it's half of what he asked for, the leader of the Onyx Soldiers tells him that they'll pay him the rest when they've confirmed the death of the Red Dragon.

Style: The idea is delivered through Azazel and Favaro.
Azazel regrets the decisions he made that cost his comrades their lives.
Favaro regrets his decision in the past, and he doesn't know if it was the right one.

Point of view: Azazel's the one with the most focus across the episode. However, Favaro's and Alessand's are strong too, as they regret their decisions as well.

Tone: Regretful

Fixed literary devices:

  • Transversal themes:
    • Love
    • Identity and Secrecy
    • Decisions and Consequences
  • Transversal symbols (motifs):
    • Crows
    • Cornicello
    • Right arm
    • Cross
    • Flames
    • Water

Mutable literary devices:

  • Episode Themes:
    • Decisions and Consequences
    • Reconciliation

Conflicts: Decisions vs. Consequences

Thematic elements:

  • Decisions vs. Consequences:
    • Azazel made a regrettable decision making his plan of attack on the Anatean parade dependent on the Red Dragon, costing him losing his precious comrades. He also regrets having dragged her and Mugaro into a conflict.
    • The Onyx Task Force Soldiers give their lives for Charioce, and as they don't want to feel that they were wrong, the leader asks Charioce to order them to fulfill their mission without the love he feels for the Red Dragon distracting him from his goal.
    • Charioce has inner turmoil because he gave the order to kill the Red Dragon, as he never really wanted to.
    • Alessand feels he made the wrong decision in joining the Orleans Knights, as their name is now tarnished, which results in him asking the leader of the Onyx Task Force if he can join his squad.
    • Favaro tells Nina to think carefully before acting since when choosing one thing, another is lost, and it's important choosing something not to regret in the future, as happened to him with a decision he made in the past.
  • Reconciliation:
    • Kaisar reconciles with Alessand by taking his for having sullied the name of the Orleans Knights and then begs for his help.
    • Azazel reconciles with Mugaro for involving him in a battle that made them both ended up captured.
  • Love:
    • Nina mentions that now that she knows what it feels like to be loved, she can transform into the Red Dragon at will. 
    • The leader of the Onyx Task Force knows that Charioce loves the Red Dragon/Nina and that his feelings for her have made his convictions waver.
    • Nina is so happy that Chris also loves her that she can't help but yell at the top of her lungs that she loves him.  
    • Favaro knows that Nina loves Charioce and that this will lead her to make crucial decisions before long.
  • Identity and Secrecy:
    • Nina hides that she met Charioce when Favaro asks her and that she's in love with him, even though Favaro knows the truth. 
    • Bacchus and Hamsa pose as street performers while gathering information about Dromos.
    • Nina reveals to her friends that she has learned to transform into a dragon at will and demonstrates it to them.
    • Mugaro is recognized in the streets by some soldiers for not coming out in disguise, so once Azazel saves him and passes him his hat to hide his face.
    • Alessand wonders what the secret of the green stone in the Onyx Soldiers' armor is when he sees it up close.
    • Kaisar masquerades as a host at the club his subordinates usually go to, but he's exposed when Alessand punches him.
    • Alessand belongs to the renowned Visponti noble family, one of the few allowed to attend palace events.
    • The Onyx Soldiers know the identity of the Red Dragon and have hired a bounty hunter to kill Nina.


  • Ravens: Symbolize a death curse. The fact that they're only present flying under the moon in the scene where Nina arrives at the lair represents the curse that Charioce put on her. 
  • Cornicello: Symbolizes the love of Nina and Chris/Charioce and protection against death. The ravens are absent in the scene in which Nina admires the cornicello under the moon while thinking of Chris, reflecting the supernatural power of the charm and how it'll break the fatal destiny that Charioce imposed on her.
  • Robe: Nina takes with her Chris's robe since he gave it to her to cover herself.
    The robe symbolizes wealth and prominence.
    For Nina to hold it in her hands while Favaro says there's no way someone like her could steal a king's heart, symbolizes that she's got a treasure or hunted a bounty, as she's both a dragon and a bounty hunter.
  • Steel neck shackle: Symbolizes Azazel's liberation from all those he depended on in the past —especially Mugaro and Nina— and the mistakes he made when making decisions that involved both of them.
  • Lamp: It symbolizes ideas. It's on the table while Kaisar and the others discuss what they'll do to infiltrate the castle, and it's even focused as a central element when Nina volunteers to be the infiltrator.
  • Water: It's present in the scene where Nina thinks about when she and Chris kissed, coming to symbolize introspection.
  • Right Arm: The leader of the Onyx Soldiers shows Charioce this arm when he tells him that he and his men offer their lives for him. He and his squad are Charioce's right arm. 
  • Flames: When Kaisar talks to Alessand and Dias, the presence of a candelabra is focused on as it symbolizes Kaisar's authority.


  • Royal City of Anatae
    • Royal Castle
    • Streets
    • Suburbs
      • Lair
    • Red Light District
      • Host Club


  • Treasure: Nina takes Chris's robe with her, and takes it to the 'cave' where she and her friends are hiding.
    This again is a reference to dragons getting hold of treasure and keeping it hidden in their lairs.
  • Invictus: The title of the episode is inspired by William Ernest Henley's poem Invictus, which he wrote in 1895.

    The poet relates how, despite all the hardships and pain he had to go through due to tuberculosis, his soul always remained undefeated and he was always the master of his own destiny.

    Azazel fits perfectly with the description of someone who stays alive because he has so decided, just as Henley's poem does.


  • Cross-shaped streetlight: Being behind Mugaro and between Orleans Knights, it foretells that a Knight of that squadron will be taking his life. 
    It appears first behind Mugaro when the soldiers on duty spot him in the streets. Being placed on the left, it confirms that it symbolizes death. In addition, it's possible to see a tilted streetlight when Azazel visits the place where his comrades died on the day of the festival. In this scene, it's also on the left.

    It becomes clear that his death is imminent by noticing a tilted streetlight, serving as a tombstone, at the place where Azazel's comrades died.

    This foreshadowing element relates to the events of episodes 20 and 21.
  • Lunar halo: It's a bad omen. It represents misfortune for Nina since the bounty hunter the Onyx Task Force has hired aims to take her life. 
  • Like the streetlight in Mugaro's case, this element is an omen for Nina too.
  • Clouds: Like the lunar halo, clouds announce hardship.


  • New:
    • Assassin / Bounty Hunter:
    • General description: Assassin hired by the Onyx Task Force to kill Nina.
    • Physical description: Tall and stocky, malleable, demonic-looking, and one-eyed. He carries weapons and armor.
    • Psychological description: Cold-blooded. Kills others for money.
  • Previous:
    • Nina: She's on cloud nine because of what happened between her and Chris. When she returns to the lair in the suburbs, she's scolded for being late and being absent for so many hours. Rita asks her if she transformed into a dragon when she sees that the color of her hair is reddish and not bluish as she had dyed it earlier, Nina denies it and rushes to her room.

      On her way, Favaro stops her and comments that she has fallen in love with someone rather problematic, but Nina pretends not to understand what he's talking about. Favaro then asks her if she met Charioce, but she denies it again. Favaro, who knows the truth, but doesn't want to bother Nina any further, comments that a shrimp like her can't steal a king's heart and then bursts out laughing along with her.

      At that moment, Azazel passes by her, and Nina apologizes for not being able to help him on the day of the parade. Nina only feels guiltier when Azazel tells her he never expected anything from her and leaves. Nina is surprised when Azazel sees Mugaro and doesn't say anything to him even after so much time has passed since the last time they saw each other.

      Later, she participates in the meeting where they share the information gathered during the day about Dromos' purpose, but since no one managed to know anything about her, the only option left for them is to find out about Charioce's bracelet. Nina mentions that he's always wearing it, and Rita asks her how she knows that, to which Nina replies that she seems to have seen him wearing the bracelet when she bumped into him in prison.

      Nina hides that she has met the king on more than one occasion and that she's his lover, but that's something that's no longer a secret to Favaro, who helps her distract the others by asking how they'll succeed in getting close to the king.

      When Nina learns from Rita that there will be a ball at the palace and that they must infiltrate, Nina volunteers. When objected because it's a dangerous task for her because of her uncontrollable power, Nina refutes them by demonstrating that she has learned to transform herself into a dragon at will. 
      Azazel sees her and asks her why it's now that she can and not when he needed her, Nina tells him that she can do it now that she knows what it feels to be loved, which ends up frustrating him further.

      The next night, Nina is alone looking at the full moon while holding the cornicello Chris gave her, thinking about the moment they kissed. She's so happy about what happened between them that she checks to make sure no one is near her and shouts loudly 'I love you'.

      Although she thought she was alone, Favaro heard her. He asks her what she's doing and who gave her the pendant she's holding. But Nina doesn't answer. Favaro tells her that it doesn't matter what she's hiding from him, but to think carefully about the decisions she'll make because when you choose something, you lose something else, and that whatever she chooses should be something she never regrets. Nina doesn't understand what he means, so Favaro asks her if she's in love with Charioce, but she tells him it's a secret. Favaro imitates Nina and shouts at the top of his lungs 'I love you', implying to Nina that he knows what her secret is, which makes her blush.

    • Chris/Charioce: He rushes the workers to complete Dromos as soon as possible, although they're tired and need rest as they're being well-paid.

      Deep down, Charioce seeks to have the weapon completed later because he wants to use it before his men find the Red Dragon and get it dead before he can give Nina a peaceful world.

      Charioce gets irritated when the leader of the Onyx Soldiers mentions that the Red Dragon was seen brazenly flying over the skies above the city the night before, and orders him to be clear about what he means.

      The soldier tells him that he and his men offer their lives for him. They're waiting for the order to come soon to help him with his purpose, and this order must come soon, as they don't know if their bodies will hold out. 
      Charioce knows that the leader thinks that he won't give any order since, being in love with the Red Dragon, he's clinging to life and leaving aside the original plan, which is to kill Bahamut.

    • Kaisar: Realizing that the only clue they have left to find out what Charioce is up to is the bracelet he always wears, he vows to find a way to infiltrate the palace and be trusted.

      Kaisar poses as a new host at the club Alessand and Dias usually frequent, but when his face annoys Alessand, Alessand beats him up, exposing his identity when his wig falls off as a result. In a private room, Kaisar asks for their help infiltrating the palace, especially Alessand's since belonging to the illustrious Visponti family, he's invited to the ball taking place in the next few days.

      After hearing Alessand's reasons for not wanting to help him, Kaisar apologizes and assumes full responsibility, and he reiterates that he needs his help because he's indispensable.

      Kaisar is satisfied when Alessand agrees to his request on the condition that he doesn't have to do anything dangerous.

    • Favaro: After keeping an eye on Nina during the day, he learns she's in love with Charioce. He tries to confirm it by questioning her, but when she hides it from him, he doesn't insist and chooses to respect her privacy. 
      He even helps her keep her secret hidden from others later, during the meeting in which they decide to infiltrate the palace on the day of the ball.

      The next night, Favaro hears Nina shout 'I love you!' and asks her what she's doing and who gave her the pendant in her hands. As Nina keeps hiding the truth from him, Favaro only tells her to be careful with the decisions she makes since when choosing one thing, there's another one lost, and the important thing is to decide that she won't have anything to regret.

      Nina doesn't understand what he means, and then Favaro helps her understand that it has to do with her love for Charioce by asking her if she's in love with him and teasing her by shouting 'I love you!' just as she did.

    • Azazel: He regrets the decisions he made as they led to the death of his comrades. He's unfriendly towards Nina and Mugaro, mostly because he can't forgive himself for having depended on them and believed that things would go the way he wanted by expecting more —or less— from them.

      Azazel expected more from Nina and never expected Mugaro to save him, but all he knows is that because of him, they were both dragged into a failed plan that resulted from a bad decision he made and deeply regrets.

      Seeing that Nina can now transform herself at will and after asking her why she can do it now and not when he needed her, he gets even more frustrated because Nina tells him that now she knows what it's to be loved (*).

      (*): Azazel isn't upset by the fact that Nina is loved, but even if he had made love to her to control her Red Dragon as he wanted, it wouldn't have changed anything. He doesn't love her, and he isn't like that man who was able to touch her heart enough for her to learn how to transform at will.

      Saddened to have acted as he did and to have made plans based on bad decisions, he leaves and wanders through the suburbs until he reaches the street where his comrades died on the day of the parade.

      Although Nina and Mugaro apologize to him for what happened that day, Azazel knows that he is the one who should be apologizing and not them. He reconciles with Mugaro when Azazel accepts that he is to blame for everything that happened and no one else.

    • El/Mugaro: He's sorry when Azazel ignores him, as he's missed him all this time. Mugaro doesn't seem to understand the reason behind the behavior and associates it with being angry at him for not being able to help him the day he lost his comrades.

      Mugaro goes after Azazel after he leaves the lair to see how Nina can transform into a dragon and to hear why she can do so.

      In his search, Mugaro is spotted and pursued by Orleans Knights patrolling the city.
      He's helped by Azazel, who gives him his hat so he can better hide his identity. Mugaro follows him to the street where his companions died and apologizes for not having been able to do anything. However, Azazel tells him that he has something to apologize for since he has assumed his guilt at that moment.

    • Rita: She knows that Nina is hiding something and has transformed into a dragon while she has been away for so many hours. She suspects that something is going on between Nina and the king when Nina tells them that Charioce wears the black bracelet with which he controls Dromos all the time. She becomes even more suspicious when Nina volunteers to infiltrate the palace when she mentions that, thanks to a nobleman who attends her clinic, she knows that a ball will be held in four days.

    • Bacchus: He scolds Nina when she's late returning to the lair. He later reports not having been successful in gathering information about Dromos because the city is full of guards looking for the fugitives.

    • Hamsa: He flew over Dromos, but couldn't get close to the weapon because there are too many guards around it, having been unable to obtain any information about it.

    • Alessand: He asks the Onlyx Task Force leader if he can join their squad, but when he's turned down, he's so depressed that that night, he drags Dias along with him to the host club they always frequent.

      He gets upset when Dias mentions that it would be embarrassing if Kaisar saw them there, and even more so when a new host with a very annoying face is in front of them.

      The host's appearance makes him so angry that he ends up punching her and, upon doing so, realizes that the host is Kaisar, who has disguised himself so that he could get to talk to his subordinates.

      Alessand doesn't want to see Kaisar because he's responsible for the Orleans Knights being the soldiers' laughingstock. And when Kaisar asks him for help so he can infiltrate the palace since he's a member of the Visponti family, he refuses. He has no business helping the man who ruined the squadron's reputation. However, after Kaisar tells him that he takes full responsibility and that the Orleans Knights aren't worthless, he agrees to help him infiltrate the palace on the condition that he doesn't do anything that would put his life in danger.

    • Dias: He accompanies Alessand to the host club. He's surprised to see that Kaisar was posing as a host and that Kaisar knew that he and Alessand were frequenting the club.
      He's willing to help Kaisar when he asks for his help to infiltrate the palace and find out what Charioce pretends to do with Dromos.

    • Onyx Task Force leader: He thinks that Charioce's love for the Red Dragon prevents him from wanting to give the order to kill Bahamut, and might even lead him not to do so.

      To restore Charioce's conviction, he decides to hire an assassin to kill the Red Dragon because he thinks that if Charioce finds out that the woman he loves has died, he won't cling to life anymore, and the plan will go as it was originally drawn up.
This is the English version of the literary analysis originally posted in Spanish on September 25, 2022.

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