By Nakaba Suzuki
King got his moment last week, so this chapter gives Diane her chance to show off. Right from the start, Diane decides to fight Drole’s golems with her own, and this allows us to really compare Diane’s strength with Drole’s in the same way King’s with Golxina’s were compared last chapter. While short, the fight between her and her original golems is brutal. In just two panels, Drole’s golem destroys Fillet & Roast, and the speed lines depicting the course of its blows, as well as the images of the two golems crumbling on impact shows just how efficient and powerful a fighter it truly is.
The way Diane is able to turn the battle around by making golems of her friends is brilliant. Fillet & Roast were Diane’s imaginary friends as a kid, and as such, she doesn’t have a tangible connection with them and can’t visualize their strength. In contrast, the people Diane bases her golems on are people close to her heart, and those who’s helped her out in a pinch time and time again. To win the fight, Diane didn’t simply need to be stronger than Drole’s golem, but she needed to have confidence that she could win, and the support of her friends is what enables her to do so. It takes the fight outside the realms of a matchup of power and digs into Diane’s psyche, showing what makes her tick and how that affects her behavior and performance on the battlefield.
The difference between the two sets of golems is immediate. Fillet & Roast have crude, simple designs: they look like character a child would come up with, because that’s what they are. In addition, the poses they take upon being summoned are unbalanced: Fillet looks as he’s about to topple over, and Roast is hunched over with his arms on the ground. Diane’s “friends,” however, stand upright, able to hold their own weight. More telling than that is their poses: body language that reads confident, ready for battle. A stark contrast with the hastily rendered Fillet & Roast. Another small, revealing difference are the eyes. As the saying goes, eyes are the window to the soul, and that is because a person’s eyes capture their emotions. Fillet & Roast don’t have eyes, and we can’t get a sense of their personalities. However, Diane’s “friends” do. Consequently, we can read their expressions more definitively and identify that they are determined and confident. Not only does this reflect Diane’s state of mind, but it also shows her emotional maturity. She’s come a long way from the little giant who is always alone, having to rely on imaginary friends for comfort. Now, she has a group of people she can rely on, and that those tangible relationships have far more power than fictional ones ever could. That difference is immediately apparent when the fight begins and the Elizabeth golem easily stops Drole’s punches with open hands. In contrast with Fillet & Roast, who never even landed a hit, all of Diane’s “friends” are able to land critical blows that each aid in weakening the golem before being destroyed themselves. That none of them are able to take Drole’s golem out on their own is telling of Drole’s strength, but it also shows that through teamwork no opponent is insurmountable.
But while all the depictions and abilities of Diane’s golems tell much of how she thinks of her friends, the King golem, who ultimately destroys Drole’s golem with one punch, is perhaps the most revealing. The relationship between King and Diane is one of the series strongest and closest. Though Diane has lost her memories of him, his actions in the previous chapter have impressed her, and made her want to find out about their history together. So, from the beginning of the chapter, it’s not unreasonable to assume Diane has a high opinion of King. But the fact that his golem is the strongest, even more so than Meliodas’, while also being the goofiest looking, reflects not just what Diane thinks of him now, but what she thinks of him subconsciously. Since a golem’s strength is relative to how strongly Diane believes in it, the fact that King’s Golem is the strongest indicates that he’s the person she feels the strongest about and believes in the most. Even if she can’t remember those feelings for him, they still lurk within her, and through this battle the bond between them has deepened further and slowly her memories of him are returning. The relationship between Diane and King forms the crux of this fight, with their desires to protect each other and belief in each other’s strength enabling them to defeat their opponents.
Like Gloxina in the previous chapter, Drole reveals much more of his character while observing the fight between Diane and his golem. Though not reacting quite as much or emotionally as Gloxina, his impressed reactions characterize him as a warrior with an honor code. More than that, his comment of Diane providing “a fine display of entertainment” mirrors Gloxina’s interests: both villains entertain themselves through watching and participating in battle. While Gloxina was disappointed in her proxy’s loss to King, Drole takes his golem’s loss in stride, congratulating and respecting Diane for her feat. Both seek to amuse themselves with battle, but Gloxina clearly cares more about winning whereas Drole simply appreciates the art of fighting itself. Both villains have similar backgrounds: legendary figures of mighty races who’ve seemingly betrayed their kind to become demons. While we still don’t’ know why, the personal interest they’ve shown in the fights these last few chapters might imply that they did so in pursuit of strength to fight worthy opponents, in contrast to the normal demon modus operandi of wanton violence and destruction. While clearly not good people, considering how mercilessly they killed the stragglers in the maze, they don’t have malicious or malevolent intentions. Their primary goal is their own entertainment, and fighting is simply their preferred means of satisfying their cravings.
Diane was long overdue for another fight to show off her skills, and this chapter did not disappoint. Tying her increase in strength with her character development, particularly in her relationship with King, this was a great display for the character that reaffirms why she has a place among the Seven Deadly Sins. Moreover, the fight itself is simply exciting, with great speed and power depicted in Suzuki’s artwork and depiction of these heavy rock golems bashing each other. It’s an immensely satisfying display of great action, characterization, and plot development, leaving much to look forward to with these characters in the future, even as the focus now shifts elsewhere. We’re three for three with these tournament fights so far, and here’s hoping the remainder prove just as strong.