Management: Since Maoyuu came out last season, I hadn’t yet settled on my standard writeup style, and so these are looser structurally, more based on my personal impressions/opinions, and definitely more willing to be confrontational and make less-supported value judgments. All that said, they still do contain a great number of my thoughts on the show, and I consider this show fairly brilliant, so I think they’re worth archiving.
Why do character designers do things like those boobs in shows that are otherwise good. It’d be like if Lawrence in Spice and Wolf looked like Jojo – are people really watching a slow-burning, economics-focused comedy/romance for the huge tits? If you want to make your characters look absurd, then work on a straight ecchi comedy, don’t fuck up something actually worthwhile.
On a brighter note, I thought the adaptation was pretty smartly done in a couple ways, in particular by spreading the relevant war information across the characters most affected by it. It both broke up the straight lecture format of the opening, and introduced characters in a way that immediately explained who they are and how they’ll be relevant. Having side portions with Hero’s companions was also a good call, though I’m not a fan of the comic relief wizards… although I’m basically not a fan of silly comic relief characters in any shows, so that’s no surprise.
Regarding the rest of the art, I actually thought the faces were very expressive, and in motion seemed much more distinctive than I’d expected. I also very much liked the backgrounds and set designs throughout – portraying a dreary world vividly is no easy feat, and they combined some great “magical realism” drawings with that kaleidoscope colored background style very nicely.
The VAs did as well as I’d expected, that is to say, pretty much perfectly.
OP was meh, but that might be because I’m comparing this show so directly to Spice and Wolf, and that has maybe the best OP of any show.
Overall there was way more good than bad, and along with Shinsekai Yori (and possibly Sakurasou, if it continues to improve at the rate it has been), this will probably succeed in being one of the highlights of the season.
I think I liked this episode a bit less than last week’s, but that’s mainly because I’m really not a fan of the Head Maid’s speech with the runaways. Considering this story works so hard to take a practical approach to most other societal problems, merely adopting the runaways seems kind of like a cop-out of a resolution, and I don’t really get the point of her “insect” rant – I mean, they pretty much are slaves, how the hell are they supposed to take charge of their lives? Not sure what they could have done there though, and the older sister is a great character to have around, so not a big deal.
The rest was great. The Horo/Lawrence VA pair have an incredibly chemistry, which is a strange thing to notice in an anime, but I think really true for these two in particular. Ami Koshimizu in particular has a fantastic ability to bounce between extreme confidence/strength and awkward vulnerability, or (especially) combine the two. It’s a common trick in anime (pretty much the definition of tsundere), but I don’t think anyone else does it better.
It’s also funny to see Horo, the character semi-oblivious to economics but incredibly wise regarding human nature, play Demon Queen, the character with a frustratingly overdeveloped head for economics but no ability to deal naturally with people.
Senjougahara’s VA is such a good choice for head maid. Didn’t realize the same actress played Senjougahara and Homura Akemi – those are some damn fine career highlights.
The Queen attempting to woo Hero with high school debate logic was amazing.
Management: Missed the discussion for this one. Apologies.
Wow, the first half of this episode was the best one yet, and then the Hero gets that ridiculously standout conversation with Head Maid. So far, he’d been very lightly developed compared to the Demon Queen, but then he goes and directly addresses his insecurities about his place in this world transformation, his value to the Queen, and his reasons for exiling himself in this way, while also struggling and coming short of directly admitting these things. That conversation alone added so much to his character, and all the side characters are continuing to get great scenes of their own. To me, this episode moved the show up from solid to great.