In the immortal words of one of America’s… “finest scholars,” it is, indeed, getting hot in herre. Whatever.
So. This was… a week. How are the standings affected? Well… quite a bit, as it so happens. Just keep in mind that the standings don’t necessarily reflect a show as a whole, just where the most recent episodes rank. Cool? Cool.
The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar
This show continues to just… exist. But the latest episode was little more than filler, honestly. At least, I can’t shake the impression that nothing of note really happened. So far we’ve yet to see any of the consequences of Yuuto’s actions. So I find it difficult to believe that anything he did here will really result in drastic shifts, come the latter half of the series. The first half of the episode is dedicated to Yuuto taking a ‘vacation,’ which is essentially an excuse for the obligatory hot springs fan service bit, with every interested girl seizing the opportunity to pounce on him. The lead-in is admittedly kind of funny. But beyond that… eh.
The rest of the episode focuses on Yuuto deciding to introduce formal education to the clan. Also expands a little on the slave girl he took in, earlier in the series. Though no actual reason is ever really given as to her sudden increase in visibility. She barely appeared in previous episodes, if at all. And suddenly she’s getting a fair degree of spotlight. It seems like she’s just being crammed in there for the sake of checking off the “loli” box in the harem checklist. There was some stuff about introducing the production of glass, which… eh. It helps them economically. But I don’t see that coming into play later either. Also, Rune gets her sword back after having lost it in her battle against the brat from the last episode. And if this “analysis sounds monotonous and dull, it’s because that’s pretty much what the episode was. It was just… boring. Arguably the worst crime any piece of entertainment can commit. And, as such, I can’t really say anything about it other than… Pass.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
Oh yeah. Ecchi Harem. Almost managed to forget about that, given the relatively tame degree of fan service over the past two or three episodes. But this one “makes up” for that (depending on your perspective…) in spades, early on with a trip to the slave market so Diablo can learn more about the collars and get them off of the girls. While I did note that I appreciate his actually trying to correct this error, I get the impression that this bit means we’re in for many more scenes like it in the future. Which I could probably do without. Especially if it’s going to bring the actual interesting parts of the narrative to a screeching halt like it’d certainly be in danger of doing. This isn’t to say it has no narrative purpose. It obviously does. And I do generally prefer fan service to at least have a narrative purpose if you’re gonna force me to sit through it. But what I’m saying is that it’s not really that interesting at all. And has shades of The Testament of Sister New Devil, but in reverse. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I’ll leave up to your judgment. But yeah. Hide your kids and keep the volume low. The sexual innuendo is strong with this one.
The rest of the episode is actually fairly solid, however. Rem gets a nice little scene with Alicia, which seems to allude to far more interesting developments on the way in the future. There’s also the inclusion of Shera’s transparently deranged brother (it’s not a spoiler to the end of the episode. Seriously. Just look at him in the OP. Dude’s cray). I’ll reserve my judgment on him. That kind of character can generally go one of two ways. Delightfully entertaining in how over-the-top they are… or cringe city. But what I think I liked the most was the scene between Shera and Rem at the end… well… not the very end. That was just more fan service. I mean the little bonding chat they had. It not only fleshed out Shera’s character a little more, it gave us shades of Rem’s character development and I appreciated it. It’s certainly not as fun as the last episode or awesome as the one before that, but this is still a nice little bit of reasonably enjoyable Junk Food.
This is a weird episode to try describing. Basically, Vetto has attacked the water temple and the Black Bulls have to fight ’em. That’s the long and short of it. The episode focuses primarily on the fight between the evil beast mage, Magna, and Luck. The result was an okay action sequence that existed to expand upon the odd friendship between the two Black Bulls. Everything about the setup is perfectly fine. I don’t even mind the flashbacks, in theory. But I do mind them in execution. Put plainly, I have issues with how they decided to basically just repeat the same flashbacks for Luck that they’d just used for Magna. It’s a really tiny gripe, but if they’re such great friends, one would think they’d have plenty of memories to pull from and use for these flashbacks.
Aside from that, the episode’s fine. The action isn’t really anything to write home about. And I’m not saying that because I’ve been spoiled by My Hero Academia or anything. I’m saying it because, when this show feels like it, it’s perfectly capable of churning out some really cool looking action. The fight between Licht and Yami, for example, was awesome. This was honestly a whole lot of Luck and Magna hitting the big guy and him either shrugging it off or being covered in smoke effects then walking away unfazed. The one time he looks like he might be concerned with what he’ll be hit by is the final attack seen in the episode. And, call me a psychic if you wish, but have a strong feeling it’s not gonna work. Regardless, the episode’s fine. Decent Junk Food with a few funny bits and some okay action.
My Hero Academia
And things continue to ramp up slowly for this arc, producing what’s so far been the best episode of it. Some might argue that this isn’t saying much, but I’ve been rather enjoying the past few episodes. And seeing more of the side characters get some shine was especially nice, this time around. Kaminari is a guy I generally just assume to be a gag character, and little else. Not quite to the extent as, say, Mineta, but definitely there more for the lulz than any serious attempt at storytelling. Joke’s on me, though, because he actually had a pretty great moment in this episode.
However, another character got a pow moment that I absolutely didn’t expect. Possibly even less than if Mineta got one – Aoyama. I have to hand it to him. It was a pretty nice scene, not just for him, but for the rest of UA. It says a lot about him, really. What he did was the kind of selfless act of sacrifice that makes one worthy of being considered a hero.
And perhaps that’s why the scene worked so well. It probably wouldn’t have worked as well, had it been Mineta, because that little perv is a spiteful, conniving little weasel. But Aoyama’s never exactly shown to be unpleasant in any way. Mildly annoying, maybe, but never intentionally so. So seeing that act of heroism coming from him left a certain impact that I think only that character could really have achieved. Mind you, Bakugo pulls a vaguely similar, albeit significantly less sentimental move in his fight of the episode. Because, let’s be honest, Bakugo wouldn’t have been able to pull that off either… at least not in his current state.
The last thing I really wanna point out is Deku’s group. While he distracted a bunch of other students, Uraraka and Sero came up with a battle plan, entirely without any help from Deku. Given that Uraraka apparently came up with the whole thing, I really love what that says about her and her character development. It was a short scene, but a good one that I really appreciated, nonetheless. The episode still wasn’t quite on the same level as anything from the Tournament Arc of Season 2. But it was definitely enjoyable, and I’d put it right in the ballpark of Super Effective.
Overall Episode Medalists
Overall, this week’s episodes weren’t much to write home about, but there were some good bits in most of them. And this time it just so happens that the upset has finally been interrupted. Reclaiming the Gold, with its latest episode is My Hero Academia. It was just a solid episode that I can’t really complain much about, if at all. I liked what it did and can’t wait to see the next test. An entire exam based around the thing Deku essentially did by accident to get into UA in the first place? Sounds fun!
This week, the Silver is going home with How Not to Summon a Demon Lord. The fan service bits aside, the show knows how to keep me engaged, has its funny spots and a very genuinely heartfelt appeal that most series of its ilk just… lack. It feels like it’s much more earnest, rather than going through the motions of having tender scenes because it knows it needs them. And that leaves the Bronze to go home with Black Clover, which delivered a fine episode that was decently entertaining.
While it may be an exaggeration to say she carried the episode, I do think Shera deserves a bit of credit. Fan Service exploitation notwithstanding, she’s definitely the heart and soul of How Not to Summon a Demon Lord. Diablo is the character who more or less tucks the entire series away in his backpack and takes it for a leisurely hike, every week. But if not for Shera injecting a bit of tenderness to the series, a fair amount of the appeal would be gone. Especially in light of how much she’s generally objectified by the show’s Ecchi side. I think having that aspect attached to the show, and making it her, no less, really helps to both validate her character a little (making it so she’s more than just a prop) and elevate the series to a point where it can be more heartfelt. Rem has her moments for sure, but she’s a lot more guarded, as part of her character arc. So Shera takes the prize, this time.
Unique Achievement: Most Forgettable Character
Nah, but really. Why was Effy even there? She’s of virtually no importance and I legitimately could not remember, for the life of me, who she was until it was blatantly stated. I’m all for new characters. But the spotlight they put on her just came right out of left field. What’s more, there’s really nothing to her at all. She’s just… ‘slave girl’ and that’s pretty much it.
Unique Achievement: Maximum Disrespect
There’s something uniquely entertaining about the way Bakugo says the word ‘senpai’.
So what’d you think of this week? My Hero Academia finally reclaimed its top spot, if only barely. The next test could cement its place. But with the mid-season slump now basically over, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord could creep back up on it. And that’s all for me, folks. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome.