How To End A Harem Series… Sorta | Weekly Anime Redux
Another one bites the dust… or, rather, made a lot of other series, this season, eat its dust, as it were.
Finish! Our first contender of the season has crossed the finish line! Now let’s see how it performed and if it outshined its competition! Or if it fizzled out in the end.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord
Well, that’s one way to “end” a series. I don’t think it’d be unfair of me to call the conclusion to this series conflicting. At least when I first watched it. It went and did almost exactly what I knew it’d do, and yet… something felt off. And a large portion of it comes down to the handling of Alicia and her very sudden redemption.
I suppose I can see what they were going for in terms of the end. Each girl in Diablo’s harem kind of has something that connects him to them. They relate to him in a way. Diablo’s whole theme is loneliness. Each of the girls has some central aspect of their background tied to this. So I get why they didn’t have Klem actually kill anyone who wasn’t evil. She’d have been made to feel guilty about it. But guilt isn’t one of the themes of this series. Grief certainly is, but she’d have no reason to feel that since she wouldn’t have really had any connection to anyone she killed (unless she wound up accidentally killing Shera, but that elf’s plot armor is as thick as the crust of the Earth).
The Alicia thing resolved a bit too… easily, from what we saw. She was forgiven rather quickly for the scope of what she did/tried to do. But I suppose the one factor to this is that no one (at least no one the audience was led to care about and no innocent bystanders) were severely hurt (long-term) by her actions. The most directly impacted – Rem – forgave her. So that’s that. Still, Alicia did get off a bit too easily. I think there should’ve been some sort of consequence. Even if it was just a stripping of her title. Which, by the way, for the purposes of the harem, would’ve been an effective way to just stick her with Diablo and the gang for the remainder of the series.
Also, Alicia’s motivation was a bit… eh. I get what they were going for. I picked it up waaay earlier. Around when it became evident she was even a villain. I knew they were gonna try and make it so her driving force was something Diablo could relate to, and thus speak about from experience. Still, I think having some more specific details of exactly what was done to her would’ve made it more palatable. The way the segment was written, I’m led to believe it wasn’t actually anything that bad. Had she been utterly betrayed? Abused? Taken advantage of? She notes that what she went through wasn’t something she could compartmentalize because it was a regular thing. Which is a good setup to learn a bit more. But I think it I’d have liked to know a bit more so I can more easily connect her actions to whatever she went through. Otherwise, I’m left with the logic-leap of “People were mean to me a lot, so I want to kill the entire world.”
I also think the ending was ultimately just too short. If I may take a moment to rewrite this finale a bit, I’d have pushed for the show to be 13 episodes, rather than 12. Take this one to resolve the Klem situation, then begin a final confrontation between the others and Alicia. With Diablo depleted from stopping Klem, she might’ve actually been a legitimate threat. We never got to see exactly how powerful she was, either. Then that fight could be concluded in the first half of episode 13, and the remainder of that episode could play out basically exactly how this one did. Have her notice an injured Edelgard and plead for them to heal her. Then the rest can play out exactly the same way the last half of this episode did. The same exact effect, but more time to focus on the Alicia thing, maybe dole out an actual consequence, and so-on.
Now. Take everything I just criticized about the episode and… well… basically flush it because despite all that, I actually rather enjoyed this. Some of it can be addressed later, should a second season occur (it probably will). But I had fun with the episode overall. The action sequence was fun, albeit short (as in, “not even half the runtime” short). The characters continue to be extremely likable. I look forward to seeing more of what the redeemed Alicia will wind up being like. I even thought the final scene was kinda cute and funny. Heck, the fanservice scene was even pretty amusing, if only because of Diablo’s reactions. Something about that horrified sound he makes when in those fanservice situations is just funny to me. I dunno why. All-in-all, this episode was honestly Super Effective. And a satisfying end to this series for the season.
There’s not a lot to say about this episode. The previous one basically concluded the arc and now we’re in cooldown mode. The Black Bulls get what they came for and leave the sea temple. There are some minor character building moments with Asta and Noelle that were pretty nice. The Noelle one shows her actually being a lot less… Tsundere, as she’s getting to talk to Kahono whose magic somehow gives her telepathy which… all right? That way she and Noelle can talk despite her injuries. Oh. And Kiato falls in love with Noelle because why not? Though he’s probably the least memorable character to come of this whole ordeal. So I suppose anything to make him stand out would be a good things.
I actually want to focus on Asta because the scene he gets does what I kinda like about his characterization. The boy’s not a complete idiot. He actually has a very pensive and considerate side that his scene with Yami does a good job of showing. But yeah. Beyond that… the episode was pretty much just the Black Bulls resting before leaving. Though I feel like some of them needed far less rest than they were getting. Charmy had a magic IV thing in her for some reason, as did Grey. Despite neither of them being particularly injured, just a bit drained, magic-wise… and I’m not sure Charmy was even that. Nevertheless, the episode wasn’t bad. Basically the definition of Easy Viewing, which I don’t think I ever expected to say about an episode in this series.
My Hero Academia
More cooldown, basically. Yet also a bit of setup. And evidently, I’m not the only one who can’t help but wonder if this episode would’ve been better served as the midpoint of a season than an endpoint of one. It’s unlikely that anything particularly climactic will happen in the next episode, even if it is a fight. I mean, we all know what’s going to end up happening. Though, to be fair, one of the main strengths of this series is that it tends to subvert a lot of the typical Shonen tropes. It still uses them but twists them in ways we might not expect. So maybe the next episode will be a surprise. We’ll see.
I did like Deku’s enthusiasm upon his return to class, and it was nice getting back to the camaraderie between the students of class 1-A. Though that one guy from class 1-B makes a comeback and… can we just stick him on the same ship as Mineta? Because I just don’t find either of them particularly funny. And if you’re not gonna be funny, at least have some kind of use. Either way, I’m looking forward to the inevitable Season 4, based on what we’ve got here. I’ve heard a lot of buzz around the upcoming arc and this “Overhaul” guy. The “Twice” thing was also an unexpected but not particularly unwelcome little diversion. Not really sure about how much of the episode it took up. But it was pretty neat, regardless. Overall, I’d say the episode is passably Easy Viewing.
Overall Episode Medalists
All right, let’s just get it out of the way. How Not to Summon a Demon Lord clearly walks home with the Gold, this week. Even with its flaws, it’s not like there was a lot of competition. Had this episode been last week, we’d have gotten three climaxes to compare, all at once. That’d have been awesome, frankly, and a whole other competition. But nope. This week two shows were in cooldown mode, so it’s an easy W for Diablo and the gang.
That being said, My Hero Academia and Black Clover are basically interchangeable, this week. I suppose My Hero Academia can walk away with the Silver, though, since it’s actually setting up something else and delivers its humor and other fun elements better to me. That leaves Black Clover with the Bronze, though not by much.
99% of the episode on fire- I mean… could it even be anyone else? Shera and Rem didn’t do a terrible lot, this episode. Alicia’s presence was… problematic. Edel wasn’t gonna take this and Klem, while entertaining, spent half the episode as a rampaging beast. Meanwhile, Diablo risked his neck to beat her and snapped Alicia out of her delusions… huh. Maybe he maxed out his persuasion and that’s how he convinced her so easily…
Unique Achievement: Most Disturbing Imagery
Yup. That’ll be in my nightmares for a while. Thanks.
Unique Achievement: Greatest Conundrum
Uh… HOW!? How did Alicia get Edel out of there? How come she barely has a scratch on her when Edel is at death’s door? Better yet, why does Edel barely look more hurt than Alicia does, despite being at risk of death? Also, how’d Alicia get Edel into the city when they’re presently on high alert and Edel is a bloody Fallen? They even specifically talked about this, two episodes ago!
And that’s all, folks. One show down, two to go. Next week it’s the battle of the Shonen… right. Til then, ev’rybody! What’d you think of this week? That’s all for me. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome.