This is probably the first real Boss Battle of the anime.
The Hunter guy was never really on Ikki's level. Ikki's insecurities were the only reason that was even a fight. Stella, as strong as she is, was not really a challenge for Ikki. Ayase tried to use underhanded methods but lacked the strength to really challenge him.
This guy, however, is strong. He is an asshole that hospitalized Ayase's dad and took their land, but he's a strong asshole. It's important to note he actually beat Ayase's dad without using his Magic.
Got to be honest, not really that crazy about the fight animation this episode. The flashback fight was one thing, but the main battle?
For a climactic battle it left something to be desired, especially since it's a fight that places emphasis in physical combat as opposed to throwing energy blasts. It means we need to feel that level of skill somehow.
There are a few cool moments but overall it could have used some work.
I'm also not sure how to feel about the revelation of what Ayase missed from the actual fight.
On one hand, I like that Stella gets that Ikki is having the time of his live fighting Sword Eater. He's strong and Ikki really like a challenge.
Being honest, the way they grin is the best part of the fight.
On the other hand, feels like it's kind of glossing over the stuff this guy has been doing. I mean, taking their dojo after putting the guy in the hospital? Not even remotely cool.
Oh, and to end things on a lighter note:
|Never Change, Stella. Never Change.|