Rating: 3 (of 5)
This time around, the episode begins with some lecturing on the political situation of the continent, as having at least some understanding of that is necessary for understanding the conversation that Kazuya and crew were starting to overhear at the end of last episode. The short version is that Elfreiden has, at best, only a neutral relationship with most of its neighbors and a potentially hostile relationship with one. Even more problematic is that Elfreiden’s three main dukes do not trust Kazuya (for understandable reasons, given how he came to be king), though fortunately for Kazuya, the Dukes also don’t trust other kingdoms which have been making overtures to them, either (again, for understandable reasons, given the situation). That will eventually give Kazuya an opening to deal with the problem, but for now, his goal is to win over one promising young soldier who seems inclined to side with one of the dukes aiming to oppose Kazuya.
I did like how Kazuya taking his time to win over the young man unfolded, as it showed Kazuya doing it not through threats, grand deeds, or charisma but instead by approaching the young man in terms that the soldier could appreciate: namely, that siding against the king would put him at potentially battle-level odds against the girl he was at least longtime close friends with and quite possibly in love with. Kazuya further gets credit for recognizing the thoughtfulness of the fox girl and further realizing that he can kill multiple birds with one stone by appointing her as a staff officer under his strategist, which not only takes advantage of her insight and encourages her loyalty but also draw the young man (Halbert Magna) tightly into position by putting her at the fox girl’s side. Doubtless this will also insure Halbert’s father’s loyalty as well, as his son gets both leniency and a worthy position out of it.
On the downside, the gracelessness of these info dumps leaves a lot to be desired. Director Takashi Watanabe is more known for high-spirited action-heavy fare like The Slayers, Ikkit Tousen, Shakugan no Shana, and Freezing, but he has also done more thoughtful titles like Starship Operators and especially Boogiepop Phantom, so I have to think this is more a problem with either the original writing or the series composition. Either way, the production team still has not figure out how to get these dumps to flow better with the storytelling. At least this is partly balanced out by a nice Kazuya/Liscia scene, Kazuya’s more advanced use of his Living Poltergeists, and whatever Juna was preparing for with what she was holding behind her back; she may be much more dangerous than she looks.
Once again the episode ends on a minor cliffhanger, as the matter that the elder Magna brings up certainly doesn’t seem to be trivial. Hopefully it’ll be something to shake the series out of the rut that it is sinking into; we’re six episodes in and it still feels like the series is in set-up mode.
Other Series I Am Following:
Limited additional commentary again this time, and it may stay that way for a while, as the return of school in my area is going to start seriously cutting into my free time. (My school’s first day for students is tomorrow as I write this.)
Night Head 2041episode 4: While I still have issues with aspects of the underlying premise (I have a hard time buying that something that drastic could be implemented so fast, war or not), the plot developments and better-than-average 3DCG are enough to keep me going on it. The series certainly has a good eye for staging action scenes, at least.
The Detective is Already Dead episode 6: Still want to love this series, but it’s fading. I can see the kind of attitude that it is striving for, but it is not pulling it off, and the current flashback is not yet contributing anything to the overall sense of continuity.