「修行、はじめました!」 (Shugyō, Hajimemashita!)
“My Training Begins!”
Issei is taking it up a whole other level. While before he had nothing on the Great Perverts of the Ages, now it looks like he’s gunning to join their ranks…and maybe just become The One to Rule Them All. I take back what I said before…we need to to get him and Sakurai Tomoki together for a brainstorming session. Man, Angeloid and Devil-kind would quake in fear at the perverted works they will usher onto this earth! The oceans will run white with ecchi magazines! The skies will grow dark with flying panties! Naked women will fall from the heavens and/or hells and glomp passing men while giggling and protesting unconvincingly! It will be all End of Evangelion up in this bitch, except there would be far more city-sized naked women running around, and they probably wouldn’t dissolve us all into tang. Unless our new Ecchi Overlords wanted that, in which case, tang it is!
…ahem. Sorry about that. Went a bit overboard there. So anyway, this week was Training Week, where Issei and co try to pack enough training into ten days to beat Raizer, who is apparently some kind of badass who likes to occasionally lose on purpose (wot?). As a quick aside, I’m going to be pretty annoyed if the Gremory team wins because he takes a dive for the lulz. I don’t imagine that will happen since he was such a creep last episode, but that little factoid being mentioned was suspicious to me. But anyway, a fair amount happened this episode, but the best part – and the one that made me lose all compsure in the first paragraph – is Issei’s burgeoning new magic: the strip ray. Issei is developing a strip ray. It isn’t explicitly shown, but I’ve read enough Negima to recognize clothing-specific attacks when they’re hinted at. Combining his Powers of Imagination and his Ultimate Powers of Perversion, Issei is developing some kind of strip attack for use during the rating games. This…this is a fantastic development!
Let’s rewind real quick. Remember a few episodes ago when I was complaining about fanservice done wrong? Now we’re getting to fanservice done right! Not only is it fun to see, it’s actually becoming important to the plot, which makes it even better. Here’s how I see it…in a typical show, the camera occasionally pans across the cute girl who is wearing a strangely short skirt, and the male viewers are dimly aware that they’re being pandered to. If this goes on too much, it can start to feel gratuitous, like the creators don’t have enough faith in their actual story to let it stand on its own, so they’re compensating with fanservice. However, there are occasionally shows where the fanservice is all perfectly justified. Sora no Otoshimono is a prime example, but a more recent one is Ben-to. In that show, the fanservice was always because Satou was oggling of Shaga was flirting, so it never felt forced. The same thing is true here. While some of the fanservice was forced in past episodes, now it’s so thoroughly justified by Issei’s own perverted nature that it doesn’t feel like they’re pandering anymore. Plus, it’s so ridiculous that it’s hard to take it too seriously, so we can just sit back, suspend our disbelief and enjoy the view. And what a view it is.
Other than that, the most interesting thing that happened this week was the revelation that Raizer isn’t the only badass around. In addition to being perverted, Issei is once again showing how amazing he can be. When Rias-senpai said she was going to give Issei self-confidence, I have to admit that I was worried. After all, self-confidence isn’t something that can be given, but must be earned by the person in question. However, she once again showed herself to be the perceptive leader we’ve come to know and love (to oggle), and instead put Issei into the right situation for him to prove himself to, uhm, himself. By the end of it, Issei had powered up 12 times and blasted the top off of a mountain like he was trained by Nanoha Takamachi. Very impressive! It’s good to see he has some real power, otherwise he could be in trouble if he ever comes up against Raizer (which I assume and hope he will). Question though – was anyone else worried that his mega-nuke was going to be a strip ray instead? Because while male fanservice isn’t unheard of, I wasn’t quite prepared to see Kiba ruined for marriage. Though possibly a whole new demographic could have been targeted. Lost opportunity? Who knows.
So in the end, was this a good episode? It was a fantastic one! Very enjoyable from start to finish. The (mostly) light tone + carefree fanservice fit this series’ mood really well, even while events happened to further the serious plot. Plus, there’s just something satisfying about seeing a lovable pervert like Issei turn out to not be as worthless as he thought. And if he earns a maiden-like expression from his beloved buchou, then all the better. Good going Issei, and I can’t wait to watch you make her blush some more next week. Let the (rating) games begin!
- Only Asia can make being pious seem so cute. While the bible is many things, “moe” is traditionally not one of them.
- I really admire Issei’s shameless perversion. He’s the kind of guy who would never hesitate to ask a girl if he can brush her teeth on the first date, whereas I don’t think I could do it any sooner than the third. Both are liable to end in abject failure, of course, but at least Issei would have shown he has no fear. He’s an inspiration to to us all!
- TNK is taking the eye catches up to a whole other level as well. Yay!
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