Power Ups All Around
Arifureta Episode 5
You know, by Arifureta standards, episode 5 was actually pretty decent. Certainly less absolute disasters in terms of pace or characterisation than previous episodes and only one short monster fight with a CGI eye-sore.
Now, if this episode had come on the back of some semi-decent introduction episodes it would actually put this anime in a reasonable position to move forward given it really does set up the next phase of the journey for Hajime. Alas, it is standing on the sludge that we’ve been dished out so far and while there’s actually a tiny bit of hope that maybe the next stage will be better handled, it isn’t exactly an expectation at this point.
There’s two parts to this story this week. On the one hand we have Hajime and Yue exploring the home of the one who built the labyrinth and on the other we have the classmates who are still going into the dungeon having a second attempt at the monster that was partly the cause of Hajime falling in the first place. Neither of these is particularly brilliant but nor can I really say they demonstrated the same ineptitude as previous episodes (at least not if I’m trying to be fair).
Again, both of these stories suffer because the characters haven’t been properly established previously which leads to an overall lack of investment. The visuals have not improved in the slightest and I think Hajime’s voice actor possibly needs to learn how to deliver a slightly more nuanced performance because I’m still wondering what Yue did to him in the bath that resulted in whatever that sound was supposed to be. It kind of sounded like he’s had a leg severed but I somehow doubt that was the intention.
On that note, for those wanting loli-vampire fan-service this episode delivers in its opening with naked Yue sleeping next to naked Hajime and then throws us the hot-tub scene just because it can. That said, this neither really added anything to the episode or detracted from it. The whole thing was more just kind of there.
However, credit where it is due, by the end of this episode Hajime has a direction to travel in towards his goal of returning home. He’s prepped and ready and realistically any time a character sets out a journey there’s a sense of anticipation. The rest of the class defeating the monster and feeling a little more optimistic is also reasonably handled. Again, if this had come on after even a half-decent start this anime would be in a reasonable position.
But, my episode highlight was definitely Yue’s shoes.
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Images from: Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. Dir. K Yoshimoto. White Fox. 2019.