OP: 「Black † White」 by 野水いおり (Nomizu Iori)
「和装ロリはいろいろブッ飛んだお方のようですよ？」 (Wasou Rori ha Iroiro Buttobun da Okata no You Desu yo?)
“Seems Like a Crazy Loli Clad in Japanese Clothing?”
The episode title says it all. Well, a goodly portion of it anyway. I find I’ve been enjoying Mondaiji quite a bit so far – as someone who frequently enjoys shows with entertaining characters over richly built words with protagonists so dull you forget which one is which, it’s a series that has quite a bit of appeal to me. But let’s harbour no illusions – the story is pretty generic, even predictably so. As suspected, the reason these characters were brought to the Little Garden was because Kurousagi’s community was wiped out by Demon Lords and they needed strong people to help them win back their name and honour. This is by no means an original plotline; far from it. But a generic story is not inherently bad – if it provides plenty of space for the characters to continue being awesome, I have no problems with it whatsoever. In fact, in this instance, it actually works in the show’s favour by giving Izayoi a chance to prove himself Genre Savvy, and Genre Savvy characters are always pretty damn cool to watch.
It’s the characters that make this show shine, particularly the core trio and their completely unabashed badassery. They do what they want, when they want, and they’re not swayed by promises of power or an easy lifestyle. There’s no hesitation whatsoever in their actions – the two girls were mad so they picked a fight with an entire community, Izayoi saw Shiroyasha (Arai Satomi) as a strong opponent and immediately challenged her to a game. In many ways, this trio reminds me of the protagonist of Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari – they’re ridiculously overpowered, but it’s handled in a way that’s enjoyable to watch rather than feeling like a masturbatory power fantasy self-insert. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually possible to have overpowered characters without it being a detriment to the series. It’s all in how they’re treated – whether the work in question acknowledges how ridiculous the idea itself is, whether it tries to tell you that a character should be worshipped because of it, or whether it just doesn’t give a shit. Mondaiji and Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari tend to fall into the first and last of those two – the ones which are actually fun to watch.
Given how the story has rolled so far, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise that the character we were immediately introduced to after discussion of Demon Lords would be a Demon Lord herself. What was perhaps a little more surprising was that our trio didn’t end up fighting and decimating her. I was so sure Izayoi would take it upon himself to wipe that self-confident smile from her face. But perhaps this was for the better – the flow of events and You’s game against the griffin (Ishii Kouji) both gave us some more insight into her character and gift, as well as capitalising on what I’d hoped for last episode – games that deviate from outright combat. That such games have appeared already sets a great precedent for what may be ahead.
Despite her meek and timid outward appearance, You is not only extremely competent (we saw this last week too), but also confident in her own skills and always looking to make friends. To be able to bet her life on the game, she had to be pretty sure of her ability to come out victorious. Her gift is actually a little more interesting than I would’ve guessed – rather than merely giving her an affinity with animals (and what I had assumed was only highly refined physical skills and the Praying Mantis style), it allows her to utilise the gifts of any animal she befriends. With that in mind, the reason behind her combat stance in the first episode suddenly becomes much more apparent! It also leaves a lot of room for growth and power-ups as she becomes familiar with the otherworldly wildlife of Little Garden. With Izayoi’s gift marked as ‘unknown’, that really only leaves Asuka for exploration in the upcoming episodes, and given how different You’s power was from what I expected, I’m not entirely sure how to peg her.
Next week I imagine we’ll be seeing the trio (or rather just You and Asuka) face off against Galdo Gasper (Yasumoto Hiroki) who I suspect will now be a powered up vampire. Whether our briefly glimpsed vampire loli will also make a proper appearance is anyone’s guess!
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – A little exposition, an excitable loli, and consistently awesome protagonists! #mondaiji
- The characters all came from different worlds! I had actually made the completely unfounded assumption they’d all be from the same world, so that came as a slight surprise to me.
- That completely nonchalant kick!
- Given that Izayoi’s gift is ‘unknown’, I can only imagine he’s going to get continually more overpowered as time goes on.
- I’m rather glad he isn’t a complete jackass though – even if he’s doing it for the challenge, at least he is helping!
- As a random aside since I couldn’t find anywhere to slot it into the main body of the post, the Calico Cat is apparently voiced by Nishi Asuka!
ED: 「To Be Continued?」 by 佐土原かおり (Sadohara Kaori)