Campione! – 05, 06
「好日ならざる日々」 (Kou Nichi Narazaru Hibi)
Poor Mariya. Even with an episode dedicated to fleshing her out, the clairvoyant shrine maiden just can’t make any kind of lasting impression on me. If anything, this episode just seemed content to stay within the various tropes so commonly associated with her meek archtype. She’s prone to emotional outbursts, she’s physically inept, she’s shy around strangers, and she’s bad with technology. Really now, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a dozen permutations of this in various other series already, and it makes her character incredibly boring to watch. Do people actually enjoy watching characters being bad with technology? It doesn’t even make sense for any teenager in this smartphone-centric era to possibly be confused at working a standard clamshell phone, and this sticking point makes it all the more annoying for me to sit through this. I guess there could be a group out there that loves watching the hijinks of this stereotype, but I just can’t see it that way, and doesn’t even add to her already clumsily-established character in any meaningful way. (And I do mean it when I say that even her sister was more entertaining than her. Just barely.)
It is funny how my complaints of the show have seemed to have turned on its head here, because where I accused the show of rushing far too much previously, I find this episode guilty of dragging out its content pointlessly. For one, the interactions between Godou and Mariya could’ve been far less padded out and still achieve the same idea of their growing intimacy in the episode. Instead, I’m left to content with my boredom of watching the two characters with the most uninteresting personalities on the show. One cannot help but wonder if the time here could’ve been better used to flesh out the much more intriguing world of gods and magic that these characters inhibit.
Maybe the presence of the ever-awesome Erica skewed my expectations far more than I would’ve thought, because once again, I’ve resigned myself to wait and watch her redeem what little good there is in this episode. Her antics are by and far much more entertaining than say, Mariya’s complete lack of athletic ability (though, Mariya’s amazingly delayed swing got a good laugh out of me.) and Erica once again steals the show with some of the best scenes in the episode. These always seem to be where we get to see her manipulative side at work, such as when she goads Godou into dressing her up, or when she progressively convinces Mariya to get a cellphone, all while being hilariously flamboyant about it. Then out of nowhere, a sudden burst of jealously at Godou’s intimacy with Mariya? Wow, I wasn’t expecting that from the one person that has kept up a calm facade up until now. It was surprising, and slightly hnngg-worthy, to see her act like this, and it’s moments like this where her devotion to Godou does indeed seem to come from the bottom of her heart, instead of being some secret master plan of hers.
There are a few plot-related tidbits scattered here, such as with the introduction of the Italian campione Salvadore Doni (Eguchi Takuya), as well as the setup for the next arc in Campione!’s story involving the mysterious Duke Sasha Dejanstahl Voban (Ishizuka Unsho) and Liliana kidnapping Mariya in order to perform a god-summoning ritual. But otherwise, this fillerish episode did little to entertain.
「王たちは話し合う」 (Ou Tachi wa Hanashiau)
“The Kings Converse”
It took awhile, but Campione! finally delivered an episode where there’s little I want to complain about. This was exactly what I wanted to see from the show, a good mix of fun action, plot developments and meaningful exposition in a nice, 20 minutes package.
This is largely thanks to Duke Voban, the central antagonist of this particular arc. Sure, his predisposition for the theatrics and his werewolf form do come off as being incredibly cheesy, but he makes for better established and much more menacing foe than Athena ever was, along with a pretty cool authority in his undead raising powers to boot. (The depiction of the Egyptian god Osiris was pretty accurate as well.) More importantly, Voban brings a new dynamic to the story, and his presence help set the facts of Campione!’s world straight in a way the story has never quite managed to do so before. As the only other campione besides the newly minted Godou to get any significant amount of screentime till now, this is our first real look at the gears and cogs of Campione!’s world beyond the focus on Godou’s team up until now. Being the oldest of the campiones, and supposedly their standard as well, I found that Voban’s character provided an intriguing contrast with the image of a campione one gets from Godou, painting them as god-hunting aggressors, whose power and influence can stand on par with the magical societies. It also helps to nail down just how unique Godou’s white knight personality is for a campione, something which the characters have been repeatedly pointing out up until now, but also a point which the show could never quite get across until now. Here, we see the extent a campione goes to hunt a rogue god, in Voban’s summoning rituals and Salvadore’s kill-stealing, making Godou’s decision to spare the defeated Athena one that is truly unprecedented in the story. (It doesn’t improve my impressions of his passive personality in any way though.)
Then there’s Liliana, poised to be the stock tsundere of the show, whose true reasons for working under Voban are still being kept intentionally murky. It clear she’s not doing this out of devotion to Voban or his ideals, and she’s even apologetic to Mariya for involving her in his schemes, which makes me curious about her backstory as to how both Mariya and her got wrapped up in Voban’s first summoning ritual, and why she’s still with him. Furthermore, the episode hinted that both she and Erica share some history together, with the latter even addressing Liliana by a nickname, and I’m definitely looking forward to the episode where we get to know more about her past.
The two of them make for an entertaining match-up against Godou’s team with their varied powers, and we’re seeing the opening salvos of this clash of the kings here, mostly involving Erica making short work of Voban’s wolves and undead warriors. Voban’s “chasing game” might imply that we won’t get to see a clear winner by the end of this fight, but with any luck we should be seeing the campiones and magic knights going toe-to-toe soon after the small trade of authority fisticuffs here. I’m just hoping when we get to that, it doesn’t get as preachy as the Athena fight.
Full-length images: 19.