Battle of the Female Figures
As bizarre as it is to say, episode 5 was kind of fun. They kept going with the plot set up last episode where Haruto was drawn into Bellnoa’s game and the two of them travel about before taking on a castle. Some fairly standard things happen (or standard based on the premise of this anime) in that Haruto is attacked by a hot ninja girl and he and Bellnoa get close around a camp fire. Meanwhile Nona is watching on and with the aid of another living figure is ultimately able to enter the game.
What I particularly liked about this episode was Haruto’s realisation that the reason Bellnoa didn’t want to finish the game was because she was obsessed with travelling around and levelling up and part of that was his fault for the way he played the game. Now I feel bad for every character I’ve ever created because I know I don’t exactly go straight to the finish and there are more than a few games in the backlog that I’ve just never made it to the end of.
Now, there is definitely fan-service here as the demon king of karma blows Bellnoa’s clothes clean off of her in a fight (amazing how that happens in anime and movies without injuring the person) and there’s also Haruto’s eyeing off the ninja girl but nothing extreme.
Realistically, episode 5 is about as much as you can expect from this anime. It progressed the plot, continued to set some stuff up for future development, fleshed out Bellnoa’s character, and allowed Nona to play the role of concerned wife. It all just kind of worked even if it wasn’t particularly amazing.
Episode 6 of Amazing Stranger is absurd, but given the context of the show where figures and game characters have come to life it really isn’t too much of a leap that the two characters fighting over Haruto would challenge each other to a fight and then spend the rest of the run time trying to one up each other in terms of sleeping next to Haruto, whispering in his ear, feeding him and so on. It is most definitely pandering to a particular audience and yet still kind of amusing.
What makes this work is both Bellnoa and Nona remain true to their character types in how they take on each of these challenges and ultimately the back and forth between the two is always kind of energised and entertaining. Haruto remains the dullest of the three as he just gets to play the embarrassed geek while the girls fawn over him.
I will say the scene with the two whispering sweet nothings into his ears was probably the icing on the cake. For my pick, I’d go Bellnoa has the better voice for whispering with Nona’s high pitch getting in the way of really creating the experience, but listen to the scene yourself and see which whisper works best for you.
While the winner was a foregone conclusion from the start, and the competition was ridiculous and contrived drama for the sake of it, I can’t say I disliked this episode. Amazing Stranger is well aware that it isn’t meant to be taken seriously and so just went with their premise this week and the end result was something that entertained but doesn’t work if you start asking any questions of it.
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- Images from: Chou Kadou Girl 1/6: Amazing Stranger. Dir. K Motonaga. Studio A-Cat. 2019.