「荒ぶる魔王、太陽の勇者」 (Saburu Maou , Taiyou no Yuusha)
“The Turbulent Demon King, The Sun Hero”
Now, let me get this straight first: This wasn’t a bad episode. Far from it, in fact. The showdown between Godou and Perseus was quite possibly the most thrilling sequence the show’s put out, and in my opinion was a much better watch than the climax with Athena and Voban. There’s a visceral quality to this fight that I never knew Campione! had to it, and makes it all the better for as we see Godou and Perseus hurting and doing some proper bloody damage to each other. ‘Course, the part with Liliana getting brainwashed by the fabulousness of Perseus and Godou snapping her back to reality with the power of love was just a teensy-winsey bit too contrived for my taste. Nothing’s perfect. Still, the best part is that the mythological exposition seemed to have taken a backseat when it was previously the focus of these showdowns, and I can’t say how glad I am that the fight itself takes much of the spotlight here. This episode was all about dropping the pretense from the developments, made so evident by the largely wordless and innuendo-laden kiss scene here, kiss scenes which always has been…well, little more than a exposition-glorified make-out session between Godou and whatever haremette was the flavor of the day. In short, brilliant! I’d call it a step in the right direction from the show, which at its heart was always nothing but another battle-romcom-fantasy, and it seems to finally be embracing its true nature rather than awkwardly posing as something more…complex than what it was. Or perhaps the scales finally fell from my eyes and I’ve come to see that Campione! was not the layered story I expected, or hoped it to be. It’s only after watching this last two episodes, this and last week’s enjoyably exaggerated romcom, that I’ve come to understand this fact.
Now, here’s my beef with the show. Sure, it’s finally embracing it’s true self, but in doing so, the episode was simply the show going through the motions, as per it’s three-episode pledge > turn > prestige magic act. There’s nothing to break the story from this trapping, and this creates an episode that is largely unexciting in any developments whatsoever. There’s no creativity to be had here, not when the show itself is following its own structure so strictly, and there’s nothing about the storytelling that excites me beyond “omigawd, that’s some cool choreography!” and nothing gets me all hot and bothered like “man, how much longer are they going to go at it?” beyond these admittedly basal things. And the entertainment value is wearing very thin after two and a half months of following this.
It’s a shame really, because what’s undoing the show for me now is that after watching nine episodes of a show that hasn’t really dared to do anything outside of the comfortable and minimal structure, it’s kinda sorta little…no, well, it’s immensely boring the heck out of me to watch these. I honestly did think that this was the best climax of any of Campione!’s arcs, perhaps even the strongest of the story arcs we’ve seen until now, as the show seemed to have finally found its footing. But this is little more than refinement of what’s come before, and with nothing that would even get me moderately excited about the happenings. My mind could be switched off the whole episode and I’d hardly have missed a thing. In fact, you know what? It probably was. Even the whole subplot of Athena conspiring to kill Perseus saw little investment from me, let alone the main story that does little more than to deliver yet another god and girl into Godou’s arms. There’s an entire world of gods and magic out there waiting to be explored by the story, but it seems content on focusing on the micro picture instead of the macro. Not necessarily a bad thing, but by anime standards, Campione!’s take on it is pretty run-of-the-mill. Campione! is another one of the summer-throwaways, and for me, it seems like the mood for throwing away is settling in a slight bit earlier than its end, if it’s not going to show a little variety.
Funny how things worked out. I didn’t intend for the post to come off as this much of a rant, yet here we are. The show’s gradual shift towards playing up its battle romcom aspects in a straight manner is a welcome shift, and might better serve the show in its final few episodes, but here’s where Campione! must display some variety in its delivery in this as well, or it’s just going to continue boring me if we’re treated to the same stuff.