「波乱の露天風吕」 (Haran no Rotenburo)
“A Chaotic Hot Spring”
Picking the screenshots for this episode was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There were just so many good choices, I didn’t know where to start. These are the kind of hardships we’re willing to undergo for all of you. You’re welcome.
But in all seriousness, I imagine this episode will be a polarizing one. For those that have read the light novels, preferred the plot of the first three episodes and thought Princess no Rondo was total crap, this isn’t going to be your favorite episode. However, if you enjoy this series’ ecchi harem antics – even if you think they sometimes go overboard – this is a choice cut of meat just for you. Yes, the requisite onsen episode is here, and I for one enjoyed it quite a lot. Watching Saito’s haremettes go all-out against him was quite a treat, especially when it involved quite a lot of absolutely necessary nudity. Heh :3. Tabitha going back on the offensive was long overdue, but the inclusion of Henrietta kicked things up another notch. Easily my favorite part of this episode was Louise and Henrietta’s brawl in the bath. Hoo-boy, that scene is going to drive some blu-ray sales. I couldn’t decide whether they were acting like bickering sisters fighting over a toy. or bickering lovers who were about to kiss. And I’m fine with either! Let’s just say that Louise is the spoiled imouto, Henrietta is the bully/onee-san, and we’re good to go for either eventuality. If it weren’t for Saito…
On a pure comedy level, this episode was solidly enjoyable. It wasn’t as uproariously funny as episode 4, but I still laughed out loud multiple times. Saito’s Solid Snake routine was an especially nice touch, as was Henrietta’s ridiculously obvious version of the same. Saito choosing to go sleep alone and leaving the three girls to injure themselves in the night was another good one. I would call him out on passing up such a golden opportunity, but we all know nothing was going to happen, other than perhaps another Explosion. Smart man. Still, by far the funniest part of the episode was our three favorite Undine Knights stripping down and doing what had to be done. They didn’t even sneak around, which was ballsy and awesome, and probably wise since stealth hadn’t been working real well this episode. Of course, they also suffered for their transgressions, but I think it was worth it. RIP guys, and thank the gods for that rose.
On the serious side of things, two things struck me. The first is about Louise and Saito’s relationship. I was surprised by how earnest Louise was in the final onsen scene – pleasantly so. For a second there I thought she was giving Saito the green light for the Harem End – my eyes almost popped out of my sockets at that – but really she was just concerned for his well-being. It was amazingly sweet, and much more mature of Louise than we’re used to seeing. In fact, never has spoiled, tsundere, flat-chested Louise looked more like a woman than in the last scene. I just wish she hadn’t reverted to form at the last second. This would have been a really good time for her to laugh about the situation and tug Saito off into another room…though I suppose that would kill the guessing games half a season too early. Still, I can dream.
The second thing that struck me is that the plot is apparently on the way. In addition to the mysterious riders, the preview shows us the triumphant return of the Elemental Siblings, and I couldn’t be happier. Like I mentioned previously, I have a soft spot of characters who use tricks and dirty tactics to beat people with magic or special powers, so I look forward to seeing what else they can do. It also looks like we may get an answer to whether Saito is Tiffania’s familiar, though I’m already pretty sure he is. I can’t wait to see what new powers Saito will get…and what he’ll do when a fourth haremette tries to jump into his bed. Time to spring for a king size, Saito.