「壊したり殺したりするばっかりで、何にも作ってないから」 (Kowashi Tari Koroshi Tari Suru Bakkari de, Nani ni mo Tsukutte Tenaikara)
“I Just Destroy and Kill, Without Creating Anything”
What a busy, fascinating mess. They tried to strong-arm so much in that I got whiplash and was frequently bewildered, but still interested enough to keep going. Some parts were good, some not so much. Let’s go over each.
Seinen Shounin’s Peace
By and far the best part of the episode (to me) was Seinen Shounin and Karyuu Koujo’s negotiations with Shounin Shitei. First of all, two things. Number one: Seinen Shounin x Karyuu Koujo SQUEEE!! Sorry, I just love my B-couples. Secondly, Shounin Shitei sure has moved up in the world. Financial minister? Nice! That was a smart move on Toujaku Ou’s part…I was barely able to keep up with their negotiations, but Shounin Shitei managed it while being in the hot seat. Maou’s students are quite impressive.
Now, I could go into my normal economic treatises, but I’m not feeling it today so I’m going to skip that. That wasn’t the part of these scenes I most enjoyed anyway, though it was necessary to get us there. No, the part I most liked, and the one that gave us the one genuinely stirring moment of the episode, was Seinen Shounin’s answer to Yuusha’s challenge. To quote the master merchant himself:
“Everyone has an opinion as to what’s right or wrong. We will never see eye-to-eye on that, but everyone wants to be a little happier than they currently are.”
Bingo, my greedy friend! Seinen Shounin found his answer – while some may want to go to war, what everyone really wants is to be a little better off than they were the day before. Make trade, not war! This goes back to the old Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention: No two countries that are both part of a major global supply chain, like Dell’s, will ever fight a war against each other as long as they are both part of the same global supply chain.
This is why I laugh when American politicians talk about the threat of China, or Chinese ones talk about taking back Taiwan – yeah, and lose all that money everyone makes from trade? Unlikely! That’s Seinen Shounin’s plan – once everyone is busy making money off one another, the chances of a war will greatly decrease. That’s his path to peace, that only a merchant could find. When he revealed his plan, and Karyuu Koujo revealed her horns to show how serious they were about this…yeah, got a few chills there. Nicely done.
Delaying the Central Nations
As soon as I heard about all the wine going into the camp, I knew what was going on. Mind you, the commanders are stupid to have fallen for it, but that’s what you get when you have a bunch of nobles running your army instead of, I don’t know, professional soldiers! First they started a war right before winter, and now this…they’re falling for all the oldest tricks in the book. Though I guess in their world these tricks are probably new, so there’s that. You can’t be blamed for repeating history when there hasn’t been any history for you to repeat yet.
Routing the White Night
Speaking of, fuck you White Night Country! Okay, so it sucks that all those soldiers had to die for their king’s (and their crazy commander’s) petty idiocy, but I can’t help but cheer for the smaller force outsmarting the invaders and sending them packing! Well, I say sending them packing, but by the end of it Gunjin Shitei had his people patching up the enemy soldiers as well. He’s another example of how impressive Maou’s students are. From him taking charge during the fight to his little battlefield promotion to Shogun (though that may have just been a nickname, I’m not sure), he was impressive indeed. Just goes to show you what a great teacher can do.
Wow, Onna Mahoutsukai is finally relevant! I’m still pretty unclear on a lot of stuff though, like…almost everything about her, to be honest. If this series has done one thing, it’s made me intent on reading the manga as soon as the anime ends, because I’m feeling the absence of the these little details I know are out there. Why are there multiple Onna Mahoutsukais (sorta)? Why did she get so angry? Why does she know all that stuff she told Yuusha? Okay, that last one was probably from her conversation with Maou, but still – I’m feeling the lack. I did enjoy her mass teleportation spell though, even if my mind immediately turned to just how lethal that could be. Hey, a lot of the world is water, open air, or the inside of rocks, ya know? So that was good times.
P.S. you don’t have to answer all those Onna Mahoutsukai questions in the comments. I’m going to read the manga soon anyone, so don’t want to be spoiled. Much obliged.
Destroying the Demon Gate
I’ll admit, I was raging when Yuusha nuked the Gate into oblivion. After everything Seinen Shounin did, he just cut off the only way they could trade with the Demon World! Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if that gets rebuilt, but that raises the question – why bother blowing it apart in the first place? (From a storytelling perspective.) Especially when Yuusha didn’t appear to know that he could still reach Maou once it was destroyed. In case you haven’t realized, we’re well into the not so great parts of the episode now. Which leads me to…
Well that’s not the Maou I’m used to! First of all, there was power in the scene where Maou emerged and Meido Chou confronted her, mostly due to Saito Chiwa selling her performance hard. Her pain was clear, and I appreciated the further glimpse into her and Maou’s pasts. I also have to salute her for her little martial arts move that locked Maou back into the room for a while. Power does nothing for you if you can’t bring it to bear, or if your enemy can turn it aside. Nice!
That was the good. The less good past was the fact that Maou went full evil at all. I have to ask – is this anime original? Because to be blunt, I’m not really digging this final confrontation. I get how it could be considered poignant that it’s coming down to Maou vs Yuusha after all, only now they love each other and Yuusha doesn’t want to kill her, but Maou being taken over is such a lazy way to set that up. Partially this is my own prejudice – I’ve always hated mind control plots because it’s a cheap way to amp up the drama, and it’s not that great drama at that. Where is the true conflict without choice? They might as well have had some super powerful demon come out of nowhere and hold Maou hostage, because that’s basically what this was.
On the plus side, I enjoyed how Yuusha entered the palace by smashing through the wall, then the floor, and then the giant door. Doors? Screw em, who needs em! (Also, trope!)
As I’m fond of noting, we all know that the good guys win most of the time, so there’s something like a 95% chance that Yuusha is going to save Maou. Did they have to give it away in the preview? Gah! Ah well. Now all that’s left is to see exactly how Yuusha does it, and the effects all these events have on the world at large.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Seinen Shounin’s peace, a war on three sides, & Evil Maou. What a fascinating mess this is #Maoyuu