「太刀の媛巫女」 (Tachi no Hime Miko)
“Princess Maiden of the Long Sword”
This episode should’ve been pretty clear in its intention: Campione! will stubbornly stick to the formulaic approach it has maintained throughout summer season for its final arc. It’s a bit of a disappointment, coupled with the fact that of the setup episodes we’ve seen thus far, this one was a bit of a dullard. Most of the episode is spent plodding around with the girls: Liliana fully integrates herself into Godou’s harem, Erica and Godou goes on a date, and final girl Seishuin Ena (Saito Yuka) is finally introduced into the story. Not the most terribly interesting, exciting or even least bit entertainingly comical episode of the lot, and I’ll put this somewhere close to the Mariya episode in execution, which, if my endless rants about haven’t been made clear was the single episode I disliked the most. Oh shoot, there I go again with the rant.
For a moment, Campione! actually tries to insert some kind of complexity, but does so like the awkward beast it is when it tries to step out of its bounds. Here, we see something not commonly addressed in a romcom, how emotionally disconnected a romcom protagonist actually is. Godou’s denial of the attraction the girls share for him is, realistically speaking, a cruel display, and the anime tries to play on this, giving us a moment of introspection where he, at least in his gut, seems to understand the emotional impact of his actions upon seeing Liliana and Mariya dismayed by his neutral response to Ena’s questions about their relationships. Another interesting idea in a series full of potential, but sadly underplayed with the anime never directly tackling the subject head-on, instead choosing the let the two girls wallow in their emo before wrapping everything up with a self-asserted conclusion that not only feels forced in its entirety, but render the entire debacle slightly pointless. It’s disappointing that something this interesting is only being brought up now, yet is being written out as a passing notion.
That also pretty much sums up my feelings for an episode that felt like it should’ve come sooner. Judging from the writing, Ena’s entrance feels like it is supposed to bring into question the harem dynamic, maybe even Godou’s own feelings about it, but with only some 2 episodes left, I don’t see how this can be played out meaningfully this late in the show, not when there’s a whole other plot thread opening up about the underworld. It’s possible, no doubt, but with the way the series handled subtlety and general emotional depth here and before, I’m not holding out any hope. Not to mention, the whole deal with Athena and the mysterious dark figure she’s fighting with feels far too tacked on at this point, with seemingly little connect to what the episode is going for. For the light novel readers in the know, it seems all the more certain that the anime intends to go with a halfway original ending by tying up this loose Athena plot thread, and while I’d personally prefer to see a proper conclusion to everything raised in the series up until now, I can only question how well the writers will be able to integrate this seemingly separate story into the overarching plot.