While this final episode is not bad when compared to the rest of the show, it was definitely hurt by the extended break between episode 12 and 13. The momentum (what little this show had) was definitely gone and it took me awhile to remember exactly where we’d left the characters and then I got to marvel all over again that they were really doing a power combine thing to win the final battle. Actually, what really hurts this episode is the game like nature of that battle. The villain just stands there as they have a pep-talk, call the names, combine, Sorey falls to his knees, multiple times, before he’s finally able to stand, and the villain is still just standing there. Worse, the villain then gets his own power up and Sorey just stands there while it happens.
After the battle things get better, but even then the show can’t commit to actually having Sorey’s sacrifice mean something and post credits be prepared for everything to be smiley happy, even if that makes no sense given the nature of what they were facing. I’ll review the full series of this soon, but not particularly impressed with season 2 of this.
With the exception of one scene early on where there’s an intentionally misleading comment about Willem sleeping with one of the girls, this episode actually dialed the fan-service moments way back down and instead finally turned its attention to Willem.
He’s a decidedly level headed individual really first looking through old records and then assisting in teaching a better way to use the magic sword thing (Dug weapon or whatever they want to call it – though it was very cool when he was putting on the light show with it at the end). We learn a tiny bit more about how a supposedly extinct member of the human race is still wandering around but other than answering how he managed to still be around 500 years after they lost the war, we still know little about his actual life. The episode ends with the girls heading off for what should have been a life-ending mission however there’s a chance they’ll survive now (and thank goodness we were spared the training montage).
I really enjoyed this episode. Things moved along nicely, we got the information we needed, a few touching moments, a couple of smiles, and some actual character development. You can’t really ask for more in a show like this.
While the first three episodes of this were fine in their own way, and probably quite enjoyable if the style of comedy is more your thing, I honestly felt I could stop watching this show at any time and be perfectly fine with that. At the end of episode 4, I had a smile on my face and kind of wished the next episode was available which left me wondering why it had more of an impact.
I think it mostly came down to the fact that this episode didn’t feel like yet more character introductions and the interactions between the Princes, the Tutor, and the people in town all felt a little bit more natural than some of the stilted interactions we’d seen as they clamoured to give us the necessary information about each player in this story. Whichever way, I quite enjoyed following the Princes on their trip into town and the end of this episode is just sweet.
And Glenn is back to being a bit scummy as he essentially places bets on his classes performance in the magical competition. This underlying idea kind of smashes any of his kindness or reasoned decision making in setting up the students and preparing them, and he does do some good work building the students up and getting them to acknowledge their own strengths. But knowing underneath that he’s just trying to get some extra cash kind of kills it for him as a character moment.
The episode was still kind of fun because we’re moving through events at a very good pace. Rumia gets a bit more development with the royal mother who abandoned her dropping by for the competition and there’s some set up for something happening next episode though fairly ambiguous as to what that something might be. All and all, since episode 1, this show has definitely improved and continues to build on that, if only they didn’t keep giving me reasons to hate Glenn.
Akashic Records of a Bastard Magical Instructor is available on Crunchyroll.
Grimoire of Zero remains pretty bland. I didn’t mind the episode this week and the problem of the week that the main duo dealt with, but the overall story and world still feels pretty much like it hasn’t gone anywhere after the info-dumping first episode.
While we get a glimpse of some of the reasons why normal humans might not like the beastfallen so much, the two characters in particular that we meet are both so ridiculously over the top in their poor behaviour and it hardly seems like it would be the typical behaviour given the beast fallen are clearly not totally hated in the town. It is all kind of inconsistent (as is the comment that the mercenary knows the girls aren’t witches but later on they clearly say that only a witch could tell). Still, this is watchable even if I’m not terribly into it.
Yasaburo loves trouble. This we learned during season 1 of The Eccentric Family. However, in this episode he seems to be inviting it from every direction imaginable. Once again, we get an episode full of encounters that all seem fairly random except that Yasaburo serves as the connection between all of these people but Benten’s return was the true highlight of the episode.
Still, Benten’s arrival alone isn’t enough to make up for the overall driftless nature of the plot so far. As much as I love these characters, season 2 has been taking its time about getting to a point and that is somewhat holding the show back. And yet, Benten arriving and then watching her interact with newcomer character Nidaime… Well, that is interesting. If this show needed something to get things moving, the encounter between those two characters was more or less what the doctor ordered.
I just have to wonder if they’ll end up killing each other or falling completely in love because those two personalities together is going to make for an explosive combination. Of course, the show could back away from this plot point and go in a different direction. It is kind of hard to know.
I’m really wondering what the point of most of the episode of Alice & Zoroku was. Minnie C, for whatever reason, continue to toy with and generally be cruel to Sana and after Minnie C injects her with some unidentified liquid, Sana essentially goes to some space where she meets a girl who could literally only be an older version of Sana (though they kind of didn’t tell us anything about her).
Anyway, unidentified blonde girl with exact same eye-colour as Sana pretty much tells her that she has someone who will help her and to call their name and suddenly Zoroku finds himself in the car with Sana and Minnie C. Why that was helpful I’m not sure though in the process the little tracking thing they were trying to use that wasn’t working because she didn’t have it with her so they now know where Sana is and rush to the rescue (did Zoroku have the tracker on him?).
Finally, at the end of the episode, rescue arrives.
Possibly if this had been an entertaining 20 minutes, or if something had been revealed, or even if the moment between Sanae and her grandfather had come off as anything other than a desperate attempt to tug some emotional heartstrings, there would be a point. But essentially they start the episode trying to find Sana, at the end of the episode they found her. Everything in between was kind of just there. Admittedly, I’m at a point where I don’t actually care about any of these characters so you could probably blow both Sana’s legs up with a gun and it still wouldn’t get an emotional response from me.
Stories like this always make me ask the same question; how does the empire even function? When every representative you meet of said empire is conspiring against every other, cruel and stupid, malicious, or crazy, it really makes you wonder why the entire empire hasn’t just imploded. They haven’t given us any reason for the empire to be evil, they just are because… plot?
Other than that, this episode again raised the question of how far away can Gran get from Lyria given he goes down to the dock while she stays in the building. Not that they are separated for long but they’ve given us no real guidelines on how separated they can be at this point.
Also, the agents from the previous episode show up for a flashy but mostly pointless battle.
This show works on the surface and I guess if you just kind of tune out and watch passively it is all well and good, but so far that’s all it is managing to deliver. Without actual motive from the antagonists or overall goal from the protagonists (other than not get caught by the antagonists) it is really all just reactionary and not very compelling.
After the introductory episode where it was made clear that something was going to happen in this story, it has taken 3 full episodes for that something to actually happen, and even then it is more an introduction to it rather than it happening. The game ends but the last night goes horribly wrong with some weird monster showing up in game and stripping players of their equipment, except Suigin of course because he was held up at his part time job and arrived late. Given the comment that their stuff will carry over into the next game, I’m guessing it is going to be significant that he didn’t lose it particularly the magical flower thing they finally found.
However, the real drama of the episode, that nearly gets buried under all that teen angst, is that Rei’s father get’s shot.
Something is up with the new game, which we already kind of knew, and in case we didn’t realise the flower was special because of its super shiny appearance, Rei’s dad has a picture of it on the screen he is monitoring before he gets shot.
A far more interesting episode than the last two because it finally feels like the story is taking itself a little more seriously and moving somewhere.
While I had my reservations during episode 1, episode 2 of Sword Oratoria confirmed 3 things:
Ais is an incredibly boring protagonist and even with every other character falling over themselves to talk about her or to her, it doesn’t make her any more interesting.
While DanMachi was a fun adventure story with its occasionally over the top fan service/comedy moments interrupting the flow, Sword Oratoria seems to be a fan service driven comedy with occasional moments of adventure.
Bell’s cameos are still the most interesting thing about this spin off.
All and all, that’s kind of depressing because I was kind of excited to see this show come out on AnimeLab even though it wasn’t the sequel I wanted but a spin-off I didn’t ask for. I still wanted to give it a go and enjoy it. But between breast groping, bathroom scenes, and a shopping trip that includes all the usual fetish outfits this episode gives us nothing to hold onto in terms of hope that this show might manage to be a fun adventure.