The third episode of The Duelist takes in the actual duel itself and comes to a rather inconclusive ending. The participants all gather at a venue prepared by Littenheim, where after a careful inspection of the equipment and some tips given by Kircheis, the duel gets under way. After a tense battle for his life, the Kaiser intervenes. However, the danger remains for Reinhard.
The episode begins at an arena prepared by Littenheim, as the duel is about to start. Littenheim tells Helksheimer that he kept his daughter away from such a low class spectacle for a reason, which Helksheimer adds is because she would be the future Kaiserin. While the two of them are in the luxury suites, Westfalen and the Schafhausens are forced to watch among the normal fans who are all betting on Helksheimer’s man.
The participants then arrive, with Littenheim noticing Reinhard’s similarities with his sister. He then notes the change in duelist made by Helksheimer, but Helksheimer tells him the new guy is much more skilled. As Reinhard prepares, Westfalen yells her support for Reinhard which embarrasses him. Kircheis then walked to the middle to do an inspection of the guns that were provided for the duel, which Reinhard notes. When he gets back, Kircheis says that he had to take extra caution because of Helksheimer’s reputation. Right before they start, Kircheis mentions that there is nothing in the rules about stepping laterally before firing. Kircheis also points out the psychological edge he would gain against a professional by doing this, but Reinhard seems to dismiss the idea.
Reinhard and his opponent meet in the middle, where Reinhard immediately senses death. The judge quickly runs through the rules of the duel before they begin. As they get to nine steps and the tension ramps up, Reinhard remembers Kircheis’s advice and thinks that he has to do whatever it takes to win. Reinhard turns and leaps to his right before rolling on the ground and shooting. The dark man’s first shot misses, while Reinhard manages to land a hit on his opponent’s hand. Reinhard then gets on one knee to take his 2nd shot, which hits his opponent’s shoulder. However, he was hit on his supporting left arm.
As both were out of shots and Reinhard had inflicted more damage, he would have been deemed the winner. Of course, since the dark man wanted to kill Reinhard he told the judge he wanted to continue with swords. The crowd was pleased at this development, and Reinhard had no choice but to go along as well. Kircheis bought some time by requesting that he be allowed to treat Reinhard’s wound. As he did so, Kircheis told Reinhard that a shot like that would have hit his heart if it had struck him in the chest.
The two come together again in the middle and each draws their swords; Reinhard doing so in considerable pain. They cross swords in the middle and begin fighting. Reinhard takes the initiative early, but is soon on the backfoot barely avoiding the dark man’s sword on several occasions. Just as it appears that Reinhard was in real danger, the royal guards showed up.
Reinhard was not pleased at his sister’s implied interference in the duel. The leading officer declared that the Kaiser ordered the duel stopped. The issue of mining rights would be that they would be split evenly. Schafhausen was pleased while Helksheimer was only upset long enough to notice that Littenheim had left in disgust.
As things died down, Reinhard was apologetic to Westfalen and Schafhausen for not winning, but they were happy he was still alive and that they had gotten something out of the duel. Meanwhile, Helksheimer couldn’t direct his anger at the dark man because he seemed to disappear.
Reinhard and Kircheis made their way to a car prepared by Westfalen so Reinhard could be treated at the hospital. As Reinhard basically collapsed as soon as he got in, Kircheis realized just how exhausted Reinhard was from the duel.
Elsewhere, the dark man confronted Benemunde’s man at the duel and told him that he intended to finish the job.
Thoughts: The episode ends pretty inconclusively even though the duel actually took place. I don’t know why they couldn’t have made this arc 3 episodes. I hope the final episode of this arc isn’t ridiculously stupid. Also, I have to say that the animation and character designs in this episode probably represent a low point in the franchise. Yes, that’s even after last week.