Aiko vs Hajime
Arifureta Episodes 9 + 10
I wouldn’t actually say that Arifureta has gotten better given even after ten episodes we’ve barely managed to scrape average for an isekai in terms of quality, however, to say that these two episodes were actually bad would not be doing them justice. In honesty, if these two episodes had come on the back of some decent world building and set up, and if they hadn’t been as horrifically rushed, they could have actually been reasonable in terms of what they offered even if we have finally reached the introduction of Tio, who was my least favourite character in the books.
I like that Hajime’s meeting with Aiko is forcing him to evaluate his current personality and decisions and that while he isn’t totally caving in and instantly returning to a nice guy personality, he is at least having to consider the long term implications of his shoot first and ask questions never attitude. Arifureta, at least the novels, was fascinating because of how Hajime transitioned throughout the events of the story, and seeing at least a little of that play out in the anime was probably the most interesting thing this series has offered, but again, without having spent any time establishing these characters before jumping into things the impact is pretty minimal.
Anyway, Hajime and company get to the mountains and promptly use Hajime’s drone type things to find the site of a fight. Soon after they find Will hiding behind a waterfall and Hajime is all set to return Will home just as he agreed. That would have been the end of it except that the dragon responsible for the death of the rest of the party shows up.
And yes we are in for another round of terrible visuals, though the fight ending with Hajime shoving a rod into the dragon’s butt is one of the many reasons I found Tio’s introduction less than enjoyable. In fairness though, the dragon is less hideous than the marching army of monsters that they face off with next.
As usual though, there’s little tension in the story even when Aiko has to confront the fact that one of her students raised the monster army and is trying to kill her. Arifureta, the anime, just doesn’t get how to do dramatic tension or characterisation in a way that has any impact. On the surface this all works but the emotional impact is practically nil.
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Images from: Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest. Dir. K Yoshimoto. White Fox. 2019.