Rating: 4 (of 5)
The potential threat to Main from forces among the nobles has been growing since the late stages of last season. With this episode, the scheming kicks into higher gear by finally introducing some of the nobles behind it, as well as finally revealing the name of the High Priest: Bezewanst. (And he has an elder sister, too, though why that might be important enough to reveal here is unclear at this point.) That whole opening scenes raises some mechanical questions – such as how a noble from another domain can effectively buy Main, and whether or not the High Priest’s displeasure with Main outweighs her critical role as a mana resource – but those are questions to be resolved another day. That whole sequence feels like just a set-up for more major plot developments to come in the season’s second half.
The main focus of the episode is instead on babies. Main is understandably glowing about her new little brother Kamil, while Benno is also getting an earful from Otto and Corinna about their new little one; I get some of this at work (several of those I work with have had new additions to their families within the last 3-4 years), so as someone who’s not enthralled with infants and toddlers, I can sympathize. But another young one has also come onto the scene: a baby boy abandoned at the cathedral by his mother. As the official in charge of the orphanage, his care falls under Main’s purview, which leaves everyone scrambling to take care of the tyke; even Delia seems to be making a connection here, while Main (perhaps not ironically given her singular focus) seems unsuited.
Frankly, something like this was bound to happen sooner or later. Given the ages shown so far for the orphans, the orphanage probably gets at least a handful of newcomers every year, yet this is the first time we’ve seen an addition. (And sadly, this is hardly a rare occurrence even today; one town near me has become noteworthy for having three newborns anonymously turned in at fire station-based safe havens within the past month.) Nothing shakes up the status quo like a new baby, especially when said baby seems to be having a negative reaction to something, most likely in his diet. That provides a more immediate challenge for next episode.
The third branch of the episode involves Main’s newest technological quest: the development of colored ink. As the latter part of this episode shows, this is a more involved process than it might seem, especially when the chemistry behind how combining different ingredients produces certain colors is not understood. At least Main has an enthusiastic ally here in the science-minded Heidi, who works with her husband to make Main’s ink. The way she can practically bowl over Main with her enthusiasm makes her a neat character, one whom I hope we will see more of as Main sorts out the colored ink-making process.
Mix in additional scenes which show that Delia is still trying to play her cards with the High Priest (though how effectively is another story) and we have another busy episode which mostly relies on appreciating all of the small details for its entertainment value. But anyone who doesn’t find that enough reason to keep watching probably dropped this series long ago, didn’t they?
Thoughts on Other Series:
I’m Quitting Heroing – Never expected much from this one, and for the first four weeks or so it was only a half-hearted view which I maintained mostly because little else debuts on Tuesdays. However, it has gradually started to assemble into a more involved examination of business dynamics and how interpersonal skills relate to them than expected. It has also thrown out some unexpected twists about the true nature of the “hero” and his personal strength. That, combined with some surprisingly appealing characters from the Demon Army ranks, has made this an interesting enough series that I now feel I could recommend it to others.