And here I thought 3D Kanojo was bad decision theater.
This is actually a pretty tame week. Lots of setup. Lots of getting ready for things to happen. And one situation winding down so slowly that it might as well be setup. Because we all know the part that matters is what comes next for it. So with everything moving so slowly, this week, who’s taking the lead?
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
It says a lot that this show can manage to make even pure setup reasonably entertaining. Though there’s not much else to really say about this episode. Unlike the previous ones, this one didn’t do anything especially well. It introduced us to what will very likely end up being the central antagonists of the final arc – the Paladins. I actually find it kind of interesting, the idea that the demon lord thing actually won’t be the main problem of the final few episodes. If it’s just a red herring, that’d be a pretty cool curveball. And it’s looking like it’ll end up being the case.
Another thing to note is the emphasis placed on Alicia. It seems, very much, like their teasing the likelihood of her actually being much more significant in the upcoming arc. In fact, it seems to imply that she may even wind up being an obstacle, herself… which would be interesting, considering betrayal is one of the few things that can fell such an overpowered protagonist. But I also get the impression that there’ll be some confliction, there. Either way, I liked that they finally told Shera about the whole “Demon Lord” thing with Rem. Though I get the impression telling Alicia about it was reeeally dumb. And, to be fair, Diablo apparently agrees.
The episode also brought Edelgard back. I like her, so that’s cool. And as trustworthy as she isn’t, the setup of the episode actually makes her ironically seem more trustworthy than Alicia, funnily enough. There was an obligatory fan-service bit around the middle that I’ll let other people talk about. But it did leave to Edel’s return. So there’s that. And the scene of Rem teaching Shera to summon was cool. I’m looking forward to seeing how that comes into play later. Because we know it will. Overall, the episode was a fun bit of Junk Food. Little else, but that’s all I really want out of this series. Even if it’s proven capable of cranking out far better.
And right on the back of Noelle being useful, she’s right back to getting shafted… kinda. I have problems with how the last episode concluded, come to think of it. Making it so Noelle got to show her true potential was great and all. But immediately undoing everything she accomplished and then having it so she can’t use the attack again is a bit of an issue to me. Because now she’s once again resigned to protecting the injured and whatnot. Sure. Water typically translates to “Team Support” but Noelle can clearly fill that DPS role. I’d have preferred if Vetto didn’t actually recover from what she did to him and instead just used his abilities to power through the pain of having lost an arm and such. It’d have allowed Noelle to do something that actually stuck, and still given Asta and the others their time to have an impact on the fight.
Speaking of which, I should note that Vetto isn’t really all that interesting as an antagonist. Arguably even less so than Mars, actually. He’s just your stock Shonen battle antagonist. Big, strong guy who exists pretty much entirely to draw out the best in the heroes but otherwise has little personality and is just a living obstacle, less than a character. All he really does is talk about how futile the fight is and how powerful he or his opponents are. He’s just dull, especially compared to the other two members of the Third Eye, who seem so much more interesting. But on the other hand… the fight honestly seems like it’s going to be pretty cool.
Finral and Vanessa are indeed teaming up with Asta now to take him on, and the animation’s looked pretty okay. As it should. This is the last fight of the show until it gets another season. So they’re going to have to up the animation from where it’s been. At least to the quality we saw out of the Yami/Licht fight. The episode was pretty satisfying Junk Food, the Noele stuff aside. Vetto’s not great, but the fight was cool to watch, regardless of how dragged out it’s been. And really, this show has a tendency of dragging out the less interesting fights. If nothing else, the series does have a good handle on escalation.
My Hero Academia
So this episode saw the participating students trying to deal with Gang Orca during the provisional licensing exam. Though the bulk of the episode revolved around Todoroki and Inasa’s little grudge against one another. It gave us a bit of a peek into why Inasa seems to hate Todoroki so much, delivering a flashback and a look into his personal mentality regarding heroes and whatnot. Though to be honest, I was left a bit underwhelmed by it. I was rather interested in knowing why Inasa seemed to hate Todoroki. Come to find out it was because the latter was a little mean, one time, during the UA Entrance exams. It just wasn’t as compelling or interesting as I think it could’ve been. As such, it made the extended detour of the flashback more than a little disappointing.
As for Todoroki, himself, I don’t really know what to make of his response to the situation. I’ve seen a fair amount of people annoyed with the conflict, and him in particular. And I get it. But it didn’t really bother me that much? It was always clear to me that the dude wasn’t completely over his problems. Deku’s selfless act during the Tournament Arc was great and all, but no way that’d fix everything. Todoroki even acknowledged that, himself, back then. People are flawed and they’re not always going to make the wise decisions. They can be petty and pigheaded and… well… that kinda struck me as the point. Those aren’t attitudes a hero should bring to their work. And given that even Deku called them out on it-
-I get the impression that we were very much supposed to be annoyed with their actions. As annoyed as he was. They done f–ked up. I dunno. I wasn’t nearly as bothered by this as other people were, though I was slightly underwhelmed at the circumstances that built up to it. And the writing around the issue itself could definitely have been stronger, with very stilted, direct dialogue (though it does fit Inasa’s character, I suppose. He’s kind of a weirdo). The rest of the episode didn’t give the other characters a lot to do as the previous episodes had been, so it’s not like there was a ton of other stuff to focus on. So it makes those problems more apparent. Though the action of fighting Gang Orca was pretty cool. And I actually kind of like that the test ends in sort of an anti-climax, as opposed to… you know… the usual. So the episode definitely has its issues, as the majority of the arc has, but I still enjoyed it for what it was and can call it Junk Food.
Overall Episode Medalists
Hm. This may actually be a bit more difficult, this week, than I’d anticipated. Every episode was basically on the same level for different reasons. None of them great, but none of them bad. Based on that, I think I just have to give the Gold to My Hero Academia, this week. The Inasa stuff was underwhelming, but the fight against Gang Orca was cool and some of the other students got a few neat moments, albeit none of them amazing.
Black Clover walks away with the Silver, once again, purely because How Not to Summon a Demon Lord was almost entirely setup. And while it was entertaining setup, it was still just setup. Thus, it takes the Bronze, this week. Though again, it’s pretty close.
Big shock. Diablo walks away with another MVP award. In fairness, I could’ve easily given it to Asta too. But while Asta did pretty much hold up the latest episode of Black Clover, he does it by pointing out how awesome his friends and allies are. Giving him the MVP would kinda defeat the purpose of his whole speech. That and even then, he doesn’t particularly do anything we wouldn’t expect of a typical Shonen battle protagonist. Meanwhile, just about every moment of Diablo remains firmly entertaining based on his own merits. His range of awkward, comedic, tender, and awesome moments just round him out to be extremely fun to watch, once again. He’s allowed to do quite a bit in the episode’s latter half, and while it may not be as flashy, it still goes a fair distance of proving how fun a character he is.
Unique Achievement: The “Good” Decisions Award
This is a really difficult award to give. Because between Todoroki and Inasa’s little spat in My Hero Academia and Shera and Rem letting Alicia in on Rem’s secret in How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, I’m torn on who made the worst decisions. I could give it to Rem, on account of her decision potentially having much more serious and long-lasting consequences. But Todoroki and Inasa did also kinda jeopardize the scores of their classmates as well… So, the heck with it. They both win! Congratulations (?)!
Unique Achievement: The Spirit Animal Award
The more I see of Diablo, the more apparent it is that the man is that I identify with him far more than I should.
Bit of a slow week. But next week may just promise the delivery of some good action and emotions from all fronts. Here’s hoping. What do you think? That’s all for me, folks. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome.