「友達,救います!」 (Tomodachi, Sukui Masu!)
“Going to Save a Friend!”
Is it just me, or does Issei have the potential to become ridiculously overpowered? Let’s go over the stats:
- If he’s on enemy territory, he can “promote” himself and gain the power of any of the other pieces (Akeno’s Queen, Koneko’s Rook, etc), save for the King.
- His Sacred Gear, Dragon’s Hand – also called Twice Critical, which is the name I’m going to use since it sounds less cliched – can temporarily multiple his power.
- Twice Critical responds to his will – the stronger his will, the stronger the amplification.
- The healer chick is totally into him.
To my shounen anime / fantasy RPG polluted mind, those are some great abilities. The stronger he gets the better his amplifying ability will be, he can swap his class on a whim, and as long as he believes in what he’s doing and has a strong will, he can walk into enemy territory and start whooping arse in the sure knowledge that someone is going to heal him afterwards. Oh, and his companions are no slouches either. Yeesh, OP much?
But I have to give it to Rias-senpai this episode. At first I was annoyed with her for scolding Issei and then turning around and helping him do what she knew he was going to do anyway. Why not just work together? It was only when I was making the list above that I realized why she did that – Issei’s will. If they all had worked together, then it would have been everybody’s decision, everybody’s plan – everybody’s will. Instead, Rias-senpai set it up so that Issei had to make the decision for himself, and even defy her to do so. It takes a lot of determination to defy the sexy senpai who keeps saving your tail, so hopefully that will help him get the most out of Twice Critical. That and what’s happening to Asia. I don’t know, perhaps I’m thinking too far into things, but it seems like a clever little ploy on Rias-senpai’s part to get the most out of her people. Damn manipulative managers, why does that stuff have to work so well??
Still, as Yuuma-chan–or rather Reinare (Nabatame Hitomi) rightfully noted, being able to amplify your power isn’t real useful when you’re a level 1 Warrior wielding a wooden sword, so we’re probably in for a lot more of Issei getting beat up before he starts soloing Sephiroth. Time to earn those haremettes, boy!
Now for the part I didn’t like about this episode – the fanservice. That’s a weird thing to hear coming from the guy who chose to cover this show, eh? Well, it’s not the existence of fanservice that annoys me. I’m totally okay with that. What annoys me is when it’s done badly, and this episode is a great case study in when fanservice works and when it doesn’t.
First, when it works. Fanservice works great when the tone is light, such as when Rias-senpai was giving a little sexual healing to Issei at the beginning of the episode. It also works when the tone is so ridiculous that you can’t take things too seriously, which was the entire first episode. Akeno-senpai’s awesome transformation sequence was fine too, because us anime fans have been trained to think transformation sequence = sparkly nudity, heh. Hell even a quick panty flash is alright, even if it’s rather unnecessary and could easily be left out.
Now for the bad. Fanservice is not a good idea when the situation is serious or dramatic. When fanservice is shoved into a scene where characters are fighting and striving and dying, it spoils the whole thing. I am of course referring to the completely unnecessary close up of Asia’s bare breast when she is dying on a cross. Read that again. They’re throwing out Asia fanservice when she is dying on a cross. Come on TNK, that’s just not necessary! You’re sending us mixed signals here, in a scene that is otherwise just full-on bad news for the protagonists. See that you don’t do it again, alright? There’s a good studio.
Still, don’t let my attempts to lecture an anime studio that isn’t listening stop you from enjoying the episode. We’ve now got all the actors to the stage and Issei is bound to be pissed, so there should be some good action next episode. I’m hoping Issei will Queen himself and start thunderbolting people, Pikachu-style. Hopefully that won’t come along with Akeno-senpai’s sadism, though. I think we can all agree that it looks far better on her.