Rating: 3.5 (of 5)
The first few episodes of this series may have taken a much slower, more carefully developmental pace, but that’s all different now. Elfrieden is facing not only a civil war but also an attempted land-grab by a neighbor, and both issues need to be dealt with decisively for the kingdom to move forward. Since the series is already up to episode 11, that means that things need to be dealt with quickly. But was this too quickly to be credible?
Events can move along this quickly partly because Kazuya did an enormous amount of planning and prep in the background, but also partly because even less was what it seemed in the confrontation with the dukes two episodes ago than was apparent at the time. The conversation from a few episodes earlier involving the shocking thing that Count Magna told Kazuya in private finally resurfaces, and turns out to be the revelation that Duke Carmine’s “rebellion” was just an act to draw out corrupt nobles and their connections, which otherwise would have gone into hiding and continued to fester under Kazuya’s rule. Essentially, it’s Duke Carmine’s play to both provide the greatest service he could to Elfrieden by finishing the job of “cleaning house” that Kazuya had begun and to pass the torch onto the next generation, and if that puts his career and possibly even his life at stake, well, he readily accepts that cost. Turns out revealing that to Liscia is what their private conversation right before the meeting with the dukes in episode 9 was all about, and she’s the only other person outside of Count Magna and Duke Carmine (and presumably his chief subordinate, the dog-headed guy) who knew about that.
Since things had already been arranged with Duchess Walter beforehand, that left only Duke Vargas hanging – possibly literally. He has always felt like he was more boxed in by his warrior pride than truly passionate about this rebellion; perhaps he was motivated more by an understandable lack of trust in the newcomer and being thrown by the rapidity and thoroughness of the changes Kazuya was instituting. Or perhaps he couldn’t just accept working under someone who could not beat him in a fight. While he does prove a match for Aisha, Kazuya has more cleverness and people on his side than to lose in this situation (and, pointedly, neither he nor the people on his side ever agreed to a one-on-one duel); the simple fact that he won over Liscia, the person put in the most uncomfortable position by this change of power, should have been a glaring indicator to Duke Castor the he was on the wrong side. He seems to know that at the end, as does his daughter. I cannot see Kazuya having them both executed for treason (even though neither would object and Kazuya would be within his right to do so, as Liscia seems to well understand), so it will be interesting to see how their fates play out.
Things are looking much worse for Amidonia. This is the part where I most feel the episode moves much too fast, but the point that Gaius is outmaneuvered on every front is sufficiently made. I don’t see that ending well for Gaius, but at least his daughter was smart enough to ditch the old man. Will she wind up taking over once daddy is out of the way?
Sadly, the animation shortcuts here are still quite evident, even if the series is doing far better than certain others I could name. (I’m looking at you, I’m Standing On 1,000,000 Lives and Battle Game in 5 Seconds. . .) But hey, at least the character designs are still solid. And yes, I agree with Carmine that I would like to see Liscia in a wedding dress, too; we really haven’t seen her in anything much other than her military uniform and that school uniform, and neither is very flattering.
Other Titles I am Following:
Remake Our Life! Episodes 8-10 – I fell a couple of episodes behind on this one, but after hearing talk about some controversy concerning episode 9, I made a point to get caught up this weekend. What happens at the end of episode 8 and throughout episodes 9 and 10 is a very interesting and highly unusual twist on the more standard “accidentally changed the future for the worse” scenario, and I am loving the moral ambiguity of it all. I also like how the scenario was so carefully foreshadowed, especially in episode 8 but to a lesser extent in the entire series up to that point. This is now a higher-priority title for me.
I’m Standing on 1,000,000 Lives episode 22 – Still like the plot, still find the visuals to be crap. Once again, I have to wonder if this wouldn’t be one of the better series of the season with a decent animation effort backing it, as it raises some good points and character development.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime episode 46 – Wow, there’s a lot to parse here as the action gets heavy and Rimiru gets so pissed that he uncharacteristically stops listening to Raphael. The highlight is unquestionably Shion briefly beating the shit out of Clayman, but that’s far from the only important scene. What Guy is doing – or, just as much, not doing – is just as interesting, and we get the strongest indicators yet that Milim isn’t really mind-controlled; she’s just going along with what Clayman is doing for her own reasons. Frankly, I thought she was too simple-minded to pull such a deception off, but that smile she gives Rimiru as he’s preparing to flip her seems to indicate that getting to fight her “bestie” for serious may have been one of her goals. (Of course, she also just likes fighting, as the fight against Carrion showed.) And now Veldora’s on the scene, too! Next episode should be extra-juicy, since most or all of the Demon Lords are quite well aware of who Veldora is.