Rating: 3.5 (of 5)
Last episode ended with what appeared to be a shocking revelation to Kazuya from Glaive Magna, or at least something that he called “heavy.” And yet this episode entirely passed without any follow-up on that – or, indeed, any indication at all that such an issue is lingering. Granted, the elder Magna did say that he was not expecting the king to do anything about it at that time, and this being held off as a big hook for later seems entirely plausible. Still, a matter of such stress going completely unacknowledged is an awkward way to the handle the situation if it is not a complete oversight.
What the episode does do is use its now-traditional extemporizing in the intro to explain the organization of magic both in the world in general and in Elfreiden in particular. Much of this should be familiar to anyone who watches a lot of fantasy anime and/or plays fantasy RPGs, with the only minor tweak here being how specialists in each magic type generally end up in different military roles in Elfreiden. The one interesting point here is how “dark” magic is the catchall designation for “not easily classifiable as light or elemental,” which seems like it was brought up entirely to explain why Kazuya’s Living Poltergeist counts as dark magic. Honestly, explaining all of that probably was not necessary for introducing the mascot-sized version of the little ninja guy Kazuya was manipulating earlier using LP, but at least that allows for a vague thematic connection. And my, it looks like the ninja mascot could be as much of a charmer as Kazuya is proving to be.
The whole “adventure into the underground” part was just the fluff piece part of this episode, however. The real business is about the building of the new port city. The lead-in to this, where Kazuya is rallying and praising the white-collar workers who helped get the kingdom’s finances in order to make the project possible, is a little funny but also felt like it was stretching to use up time even at the time it happened. The series also uses another now-familiar gimmick by having Kazuya explain the purpose for it to Liscia so that it can also be explained to the audience. That people from a Renaissance-level setting would not be fully cognizant of economic principles like the Laws of Supply and Demand is at least somewhat credible; there is some evidence that earlier scholars understood the underlying concepts, but the laws did not start getting formalized until the late 17th and 18th centuries. These days, anyone with a high school level of knowledge about economics would be familiar with the basics of it, and someone like Kazuya, who was studying for civil service, would certainly know more than the average.
Even so, building a new port city expressly for the purpose of using these laws is quite ambitious, long-term thinking. So is the notion of specifically designing the city to minimize the impact of future disasters. This isn’t at all a new concept, but it is one that rarely gets used since cities are rarely planned out in advance. (I also find it interesting that this topic comes up when another concurrently-running series – I’m Standing on 1,000,000 Lives – is also using the concept of the lack of planning for disasters as a plot point.) I have always liked the concept of couching a natural disaster in mythological or supernatural terms (again, another direct parallel to what 1,000,000 Lives has been doing recently), and leave it to a dweller of a nation historically ravaged by tsunamis to figure out that the “sea god” was probably that: it wasn’t that a sea god was angry at people settling there, it was that the area is in a common long-term path for tsunami.
That is the aspect where the series is at its strongest, although these little moments between Kazuya and Liscia are growing on me, too. Once again, little that’s exciting is going on, but at least the series is staying consistent to the tone and nature it has shown so far.
English Dub: The first two episodes of the English dub are now available. Despite some minor, occasional points of stiffness in deliveries (mostly, I think, due to being too diligent about matching lip flaps), it seems to be a decent dub job so far. Casting seems fine, especially veteran Keith Silverstein as the former king, though the acid test will come when a passel of new recurring characters gets introduced in episode 3.
Other Series I Am Following:
With the school year back in session (and with heavier time demands than during COVID lockdowns last year), I am fully expecting at least a couple of series that I have been watching to this point to fall by the wayside; Kageki Shojo! is currently seeming like the most likely candidate for a drop, and it may not be the last one to go. Since there’s not much that I am highly excited about this season, that means that this section will probably continue to be shorter than what it was last season.
Fena: Pirate Princess – This has now debuted, but I will be writing it up separately.
86 English dub episode 9 – Okay, so this isn’t technically part of the season, but the dub has now advanced this far and is spectacular; it’s easily one of Crunchyroll’s best recent dub efforts. I am strongly considering doing a viewing guide for the series as a special posting once the dub is complete.
The Detective is Already Dead episodes 6-7: This series is starting to aggravate me, as it feels like someone got lazy while putting a much better series together. I wholly agree with ANN reviewer Christopher Farris that the series invariably shines brightest when Kimihiko and Siesta are interacting with each other, and that can be seen in both of these episodes, especially in the bedroom scene. (Siesta bouncing around while drunk was a delight in more than one sense.) The randomness of the series’ construction had also been bothering me, but with episode 7 it finally clicked that the “Eye of Sapphire” mentioned at the end of episode 6 – and which Kimihiko and Alicia are looking for throughout episode 7 – is probably the idol’s false eye from the episode 3-4 arc. How or why those are linked is unclear, but it seems too much of a coincidence to ignore.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime ep 42 – One last set-up episode before Walpurgis events begin, and this one may be the most interesting of the lot. Rather than entirely focus again on what Rimuru is up to, it introduces us to one of the other Demon Lords and looks at what they are up to and think about what Rimuru is doing. The mix of misconceptions and keen insights is interesting, as is the introduction of another Demon Lord on Milim’s level, another dragon on Veldora’s level (his older sister, in fact), and an explanation for how Milim came to be Clayman’s pawn. This series might finally get lively.