Campione! – 07, 08
「風よ、雨よ、狼よ」 (Kaze yo , Ame yo , Okami yo)
“Wind, Rain, Wolf”
Why Campione!, oh why? You actually had me going on for one episode there, yet here you’ve again shattered my illusions of expecting some kind of complexity from your characters. Okay, I’ll admit that the opening throw down between Erica and Liliana was quite possibly the best thing you have presented up till now, showcasing your flair for some incredible fight choreography and action, even though I still have misgivings about Liliana’s wonky looking flight magic. Truly, you deserve a pat on your back for keeping the action sequences this entertaining. But what the heck was up with the resolution to the fight? Yes, blackmailing Liliana was expected from manipulative Erica, and yes, it was a touch hilarious to see her completely destroy Liliana through this psychological attack, but did you really have to go on a stretch to make Liliana’s character as shallow as this? First off, she’s not even working for Voban on her own volition, but is instead being forced by her grandfather to do so, whose own reason for having done so is to have her compete with Erica. It almost sounds something you’d be more likely to find from some two-bit romantic comedy. (Oh wait.) Secondly, of all the things to pull out for blackmail, you’ll go with a self-penned wish-fulfillment romance novel from the chaste blue knight, just to pull an extremely arbitrary slapstick moment? And then you tell me Liliana actually fell for it? I don’t know about the folks out there, but this resolution just feels so detrimental to Liliana’s characterization to me, making her out to be a cheap person without any will or depth to her character.
The ensuing fight with Voban here is…well, I won’t go as far as to call it bad, but it never rises to be quite as impressive as the opening clash between the two girls. What we see mostly comprise of the two campiones engaging in some authorities one-upsmanship, and depending on how much you folks like you see two men throwing powers at each other while never engaging in direct combat, your enjoyment could range from “meh” to “it’s alright”. There are a couple of impressive scenes sprinkled about, such as both times Godou summons and manipulates a flurry of swords to destroy Voban’s authorities. But there are also a couple that are more miss than hit, such as with the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP trade of thundaga fisticuffs. There is honestly nothing in the show quite as cheesy as watching Godou gather the rainbow-colored auras of his companions to build his attack up. (Yes, not even Voban’s werewolf form.)
What I did like about the fight was the re-emphasis on the conditions of Godou’s powers, played to nice effect in the episode. It started simply with the pain from using the Bird of Prey authority far too much, (why did this not happen back in episode 2? Plot hole!) and also makes up for a large part of Godou’s fight with Voban. Since his golden sword requires knowledge of the god Voban’s authorities come from, he can’t do jack when they are in the dark about the identity of the god. It is an idea similar to one in Fate/Stay Night franchise, where the knowledge of a servant’s identity can compromise the usability of their noble phantasms. A scenario similar to the one this episode, where Godou and his team tries to piece together the clues to identify the god, would make the mythological drivel far more justifiable and enjoyable, and we do get to see a bit of the potential behind this idea. Unfortunately, it’s still just an idea; Erica’s intricate knowledge and Mariya’s clairvoyance along with kissy magick means that the show largely jumps the mystery and guesswork stage, and immediately identifies the god for us without much preamble, or otherwise make the exposition pointless since the identity of the god is already made know, such as with the Athena fight.
As I had last predicted, the fight ends in an unsurprising draw, bringing Voban’s arc to a close. I’d say that it turned out much better than Athena’s arc, with a much better realized antagonist in Voban and some really impressive clashes, typically with Erica at the forefront. (Why is it that the girl actually fights more than the guy?) It also does a much better job at setting some world facts straight with regards to the campiones and their abilities. Next up, if we’re following the girl route progression, we’re probably gonna be seeing much more of Liliana, which I had been looking forward to since the start of the series.
- Mythology time! Wondering why a sun god like Apollo would manifest as a wolves authority? One of Apollo’s epithet is [Lyceus], a word which is derived from [Lukê], “giver of light”, representing his most recognized aspect as a god of light/sun, but the epithet could also be derived from [Lukos], “the wolf-slayer”, or alternatively [Leto], the mother of Apollo and patron goddess of Lycia, who was identified with wolves. In regions where Apollo was worshipped with this name, there are traditions involving the wolves as well. Hence Voban’s ability to absorb the Godou’s sun-element horse (light) and turn into a werewolf.
「英雄推参」 (Eiyu Suisan)
“A Hero Arrives”
In the overly grandiose words of narrator Fumihiko Tachiki, “Umi da, Mizugi da, Onsen da, ONSEN DAAAAAA!”. How can anyone not like this guy? Seriously though, I wonder if it’s still appropriate to call this a beach and hot springs episode when the scenes in question lasted no more than a third of the episode. Scenes that weren’t terribly interesting to watch either. Fanservice is typically fine, but I like a dressing of plot to go with it, which Campione! does nothing about. Instead, what we get here is all your standard romantic comedy fluff; Erica being Erica, Mariya getting all hot, angry and bothered, and Godou pulling off his best gynophobic-protagonist impression, all while side characters Lucrezia and Arianna join in on the fanservice train. What you see is what you get, though it did get a good laugh out of me when Godou’s secret escape to Italy was foiled on both counts, first with Mariya tagging along, and then with him finding Erica waiting at the very place he escaped to. Where ever Godou goes, you can be sure that the estrogen brigade follows suit!
Thankfully, the fanservice material is kept to a minimal, and we get to the meat of the plot fairly quickly this time around, instead of having to spend an entire episode plodding around again like with episode 5. Campione! wastes no time jumping into the thick of things; we’re thrust into a situation that has Liliana searching for Doni, who is supposed to be appraising a divine instrument. The guy’s not one for subtlety or patience though, because he promptly cuts the thing in half, and next thing you know out pops a dragon. Just like many had suspected, Athena also makes her reappearance this episode, dragging Godou along to scope things out for as of yet unclear purposes.
It’s all setting up for a showdown between Godou and greek god Perseus with blessing from the loli goddess. Some of you might remember the name from movie Clash/Wrath of the Titans, the estranged son of Zeus who heroically defeated Medusa and the Kraken. While portrayed as a heratic god in Campione!, Perseus is a mortal demigod in the original mythologies, so I’m wondering this is another one of Campione!’s connected myths where Perseus’s true identity ends up being another god altogether. Having Athena play a significant role next to Perseus in this arc is proving to be really intriguing as well, as she was the god who guided him to kill Medusa in the original mythos. Since she’s both Athena and Medusa in Campione!’s world, it makes for an unusual relationship between the two gods, made further complicated by the fact that Perseus is also the “Dragon-Slayer”, enemies with yet another mythological creature associated with Athena in Campione!’s story. The setup we see shows deft use of both Campione!’s own established mythos and the originals lores, weaving them smartly together to put an interesting spin on the stories. I just hope it plays out better than the last few times, because Campione! has shown itself to be pretty weak when it comes to the execution of its ideas. I also can’t say I’m all that positive about Campione!‘s depiction of Perseus, illustrated here as a blond bishousen so fabulous I swear it could have negated all fanservice from the show’s first few minutes.
The star of this arc is of course the latest girl in line to be conquered by Godou’s kingly ways, Liliana. I’m not gonna hold out hopes on this one though, not after the complete bastardization of her character last episode. Still, she makes for a more entertaining haremette to watch compared to Mariya since she actually partakes in the action. And yep, why is it always endearing to see tsunderes act flustered? (Bonus points since it’s Kitamura Eri as well!)
This will be the last in what has been a string of very unintended double posts for the series. If you’ve been sticking around the whole time, thanks for always coming back! I really appreciate it! Now that the bulk of my personal project has been over and done with, my schedule should return to normal and you’ll see the posts out in much better time.