Conception Episode 8 Review
This anime has never hidden what it is and I don’t really think it needed to. Right from the beginning the dubious nature of Itsuki’s quest to woo the Star Maidens over in order to make Star Children through a love ritual is as in your face as it can be and despite it not actually involving sex it is about as borderline as it can be. Throw in Mana’s character who is a non-stop parade of lewd sex jokes and references and essentially this anime was very up-front about what its focus was going to be.
Still, in earlier episodes I felt there were some elements that were curious enough or interesting enough to warrant sticking around and further investigation. The overall presentation wasn’t great, some characters annoyed, and Mana was simply toxic, but the basic idea of being summoned to another world to rid it of impurities through a ritual and then fighting through different levels in a labyrinth had potential. To put it simply the balance of things that made me curious vs those things that made me roll my eyes was good enough that I stuck around. In a show like How Not To Summon a Demon Lord that ultimately paid off. Master of Ragnarok on the other hand was a failure.
So where does Conception fit in?
Well, it is hard to say given it isn’t finished yet and potentially, it could still do something with the ideas it laid out early on but has yet to really capitalise on. In fact, maybe episode 8 is just the low point before the thunderous final and I’ll look back at this post and realise that this was a by-product of weekly watching and personal prejudices against reality TV shows and that a thin parody over the top of the format didn’t make this episode any more watchable.
Note: Just playing out the tropes of something isn’t necessarily parody. Small exaggeration of those tropes doesn’t make it necessarily parody either. It kind of just makes it an emulation of the original and if you aren’t fond of the original, unless the parody is actually highlighting a specific issue or idea, basically you are stuck with something else you don’t like.
But basically, this episode brings the worst of Conception to the forefront, while ignoring most of what makes it occasionally interesting and curious. Itsuki particularly has what is left of his character butchered through the attempt to fit him into the mould of the protagonist of an episode of The Bachelor and I was one finger snap away from terminating the viewing then and there.
As it was, I did skip forward at multiple points in the episode, which is something I almost never do on something I haven’t watched through once. Second watches sometimes have sections where I will skip forward if there is a particular scene or moment I’d rather not endure a second time. But first watches are usually safe from this kind of treatment with the understanding that if I dislike something enough to want to skip forward it is probably time to let it go.
And then, just as I was more or less determined to end the viewing on this and maybe pick one of the shows I put on hold back up, they get back to the idea of the labyrinth and give just the tiniest faint hope they might address it. Not to mention, I’ve watched 8 episodes of this and I kind of want to get to the end and do a season final review. There definitely comes a point in the season where dropping something feels like a defeat and that the time will be completely wasted if you don’t get to the end.
That said, I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to the next episode. I just kind of want this one to be done.
- Episode 1 – We Can’t Accuse Them Of Being Subtle Here
- Episode 2 – Star Children and Labyrinths
- Episode 3 – If We Got Rid of the Tanuki This Would Be Better
- Episode 4 – A Touching Story Told Between Lewd Jokes
- Episode 5 + 6 – Controversial Fortunes, Candid Fan Photos and Helping Bakers
- Episode 7 – Exploring Inuendo and Bread at the Festival
- Episode 8 – A Story of Fan Service, Parodies, and Star Children
- Episode 9 – It’s The Joke That Just Keeps On Missing
- Episode 10 – 100 Ways to Remove and Obnoxious Character
- Episode 11 – The Day Itsuki Had Sex With Mana?
- Episode 12 – Bye Bye Conception! And At Last It’s Done