And the bad decisions come back to bite everyone.
Two shows gear up for what’s bound to be their climactic ends for the Summer Anime Season. Meanwhile, one show continues to chug along merrily with the final battle that definitely isn’t the actual final battle, but it’s how they’re wrapping up their own season to prep for the next, so whatever. The offerings this week were actually pretty solid!
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
Hoo boy. This episode. There’s actually a lot to unpack here. So first and foremost, I called it. Diablo and company go about releasing the Demon Lord from inside of Rem. They do this through… well… the power of fanservice. If we think back to what Diablo had to do to Shera when trying to understand how to remove the collars, this is basically that… but somehow more explicit. Suffice it to say, if you have a low tolerance for fanservice, you’ll wanna skip ahead. That or avert your eyes like Shera did. I’m mostly numb to it at this point, and it even made me wince a little. And I’ve watched Highschool DxD without issue. Though a fair portion of this may have honestly just been how bloody long the sequence was. It overstayed its welcome, ever so slightly.
The Demon Lord, herself, turns out to be exactly as I was expecting. The teaser of the last episode kinda spoiled it, but not everyone watches those and you only ever heard her voice anyway. Turns out she’s actually a demon loli with memory loss. And thanks to best girl AKA Shera, she develops an obsession with cookies (they say biscuits because Japan, but… cookies). And it’s genuinely adorable. And funny! I like her! Also, I like the name they decide to give her – Klem-chan – if only because it’s easier to say and spell. In short, I’m really liking how this is going. I’m hoping Klem really doesn’t wind up being the final boss, just because it’d honestly be more interesting.
I also liked the action sequence they threw in there. Mainly because it helps establish Edel a bit more, and her undying loyalty to Klem, even if Klem’s wishes go against what they should be. But there’s also another reveal. Turns out Alicia’s a psychopath. Whataya know. I was right. I figured, based on the bit we got in the previous episode, that there was something up with her. And now we know. I can’t say I find her motivation to be all that strong. But she’s a female character in a harem series and doesn’t appear to be a primary antagonist, so they’re probably gonna win her to their side with the power of friendship/love or something by the end, and she won’t actually go through with whatever she’s got in mind.
Oh. And there’s one more fanservice scene at the end with Klem and Shera which isn’t as cringe-worthy and is actually kinda cute? But still. If you have a low tolerance, you can basically just cut it after they get back to the inn. As it is, the episode is good Junk Food. Especially if you’re someone who actually likes fanservice.
All right, Black Clover. You get some points for actually taking the time to establish character. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it development. At least not for Vanessa, who clearly doesn’t have the same hangups about their situation as Finral. But it’s a start. And that’s all I’ve been hoping for from this series, honestly. I want them to explore the characters beyond their surface-level gags. Every character in the Black Bulls – literally every character, appears as little more than one consistent running gag. But with each cour we learned a little more about key members. Magna, Luck, Magna and Luck, Gauche, now Vanessa and Finral.
But now comes the tricky part. What I don’t want is for these to just serve as backstory for each character’s gag. Why is Luck obsessed with fighting? “Oh, his mom basically wouldn’t pay him any attention unless he won fights in magic school or whatever.” Why is Gauche so obsessed with his sister? “Oh, she was basically his light during his lowest low.” That’s all fine and dandy. But I want the characters to start acting more like characters and not walking TV Tropes Pages. Vanessa and Finral, in particular, have the most potential, based on what we know of them so far, of the secondary members to be fully realized characters in their own right. I’d like for them to not just return to fulfilling their gags, the second this is over.
As for the actual fight of the episode and all that, it was fine. Some nice setup and stuff. Though the animation is still holding it back. A lot of obviously recycled bits and janky motions. A lot of the key-frames look like in-betweens. And that’s… not great. But otherwise, the episode was decent Junk Food. I like getting to learn more about the characters aside from Noelle, every now and again. Hopefully, they can deliver on all this buildup and make the conclusion to this fight (whenever it’s allowed to happen) satisfying. Because it’s been going for a long time, now.
My Hero Academia
Ah. There we go. Another episode that really gets what this show does well – character work and worldbuilding. So, first of all, I can finally say the stuff I already knew about. Yes, I know Camie wasn’t actually Camie. And yes, I know Bakugo, Inasa, and Todoroki were going to fail the test. Didn’t know they’d be getting another shot so soon, but that’s all good and well. I look at it like a driver’s license. You fail once, you go study up, practice some more, you try again later. I don’t really have an issue with them getting an out. It’s not like it’s gonna just be given to them there, either. I imagine the makeup is still something they have to actually work to do. And I like the reason. I get the impression that they ordinarily wouldn’t get by on this. But because All-Might retired, they need all the heroes they can get, and they want to spread a little hope. I think the second chance suits the situation perfectly without being cheap. Also: can we just… delete Mineta from the show? Please? He’s just… annoying.
As to the rest of the episode… hoo boy. So I know I said before that I wasn’t really feeling All For One as a villain. Primarily because all he really did was rub his successes in All-Might’s face. But this is the kind of chillingly in-control dialogue I was hoping to get out of him in their earlier interactions. The kind that comes from a villain who’s cerebral and truly holds all the cards (or thinks they do, at least). But one of the best kinds of villains is the kind who has a point. And at the moment… he does. This is something that UA and the other hero schools are obviously trying to abate. But for the moment, everything is working out as he wants. And that’s unsettling in a way.
Though I do have to subtract points for the “not so different” speech. Those… are incredibly hit-and-miss with me. If not executed perfectly, it tends to come across as weak. Where a villain makes a note of some incredibly trivial and minute detail that they have in common with the hero. Honestly, heroes and villains are, by definition, objectively similar. The core difference is what they want. It’s a theme that persists across most superhero stories. So no duh, you’re “not so different.”
What did work for me was the final interaction of the episode. Deku being called out by Bakugo. The latter’s figured out Deku’s secret and… well… now they gon’ fight. I’m both extremely anxious and incredibly excited for next week’s episode. I can tell it’s gonna come with a looot of emotions.
Overall Episode Medalists
Well, this week it’s no surprise, really. My Hero Academia just steals the Gold away, this time. It was just a great episode, despite being on the tame side. A lot of great character interactions, some good worldbuilding, I really dug it.
Meanwhile, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord takes home the Silver, this week. But only by a hair. This week’s episode of Black Clover was fairly strong. Had it polished its animation a bit and dealt with the execution of the backstories a biiit less hamfistedly, it’d probably take second place instead of walking home with the Bronze for the week. Overall, not a bad round up episodes at all.
A bit of a cheat, seeing as she’s new, but if Klem wasn’t in this episode in her current form, I’m not sure it’d have been as fun. Maybe a standard “beginning of the end” style setup? Nothing wrong with that, but as she is, she made the episode so much more enjoyable than I think that would’ve been. She’s genuinely cute and funny and I like her absolute willingness to just go along with what the others say. Particularly Shera, who seems to weirdly be developing sort of a big sister thing with her. Which fits. She’s really pure, but in a different way than Shera. More of an innocence thing than Shera’s source of purity, which is more centered around kindness and goodness towards others.
Unique Achievement: Best Smiles
I dunno which was cuter. Deku’s smile upon getting his provisional license and his eagerness to show his mother and All-Might or Uraraka’s smile at his blissful dorkiness.
Unique Achievement: Best Creature Design
Cool man-owl thing. I like it. And the fight was pretty cool too.
So yeah. This week was fun. I think these shows are on their way to strong finishes for the Summer season. What do you think? That’s all for me, folks. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome.