An Unexpected and Unwanted Reunion
Arifureta Episode 8
After hardening his personality in the labyrinth and setting new goals, Hajime doesn’t seem to have given much thought to what he would do when encountering his classmates again and episode 8 brings the teacher and her small escorts face to face with Hajime flanked by Shea and Yue. It isn’t exactly a glorious reunion with Aiko demanding answers and Hajime being pretty much a jerk until his rudeness pushes one of the guards too far.
Again, it feels like we have accelerated through this story at warp speed given we’re now entering yet another volume of the books with so much context having been abandoned that without the pointed, and flow breaking flashbacks, we’d have no idea who anyone was. Aiko doesn’t help things by peppering Hajime with questions and sulking and pouting when he isn’t answering her.
Fortunately, that night Hajime does actually have a conversation with Aiko and while it is essentially and exposition dump, it fills in the story of the world so far and Hajime reaffirms his goal is to conquer the labyrinths and to leave. His dropping the knowledge on Aiko that one of his classmates was responsible for sending him to the bottom of the labyrinth wasn’t exactly gentle, but it does keep in line with his new, abrasive personality.
His decision at the end to allow Aiko to accompany him as he heads toward the mountains is a little less easy to rationalise given his current personality and abilities. Perhaps this would have made more sense if a relationship between Hajime and his teacher had been established earlier in the series, but we didn’t ever see a single interaction between the two. It makes it very hard to rally feel much of a connection with their bond.
On the brighter side, with no monster fights and almost no action this week, Arifureta managed to not look horrendous and the characters managed to sit at a table and eat looking just fine. The character designs are quite nice after all when not placed next to hideously realised monsters and lacklustre animation.
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Images from: Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. Dir. K Yoshimoto. White Fox. 2019.