It Looks Great!
Last’s week’s preview gave me hope that we’d get some good art and animation with this episode, and we did! In fact, it was even better than I imagined. Whilst it was low on action-packed scenes to make use of it, there was a definite increase in the budget for this episode. I didn’t catch a single off-model face, the occasional still frames were never irritating, and it was genuinely well animated – from the little comedy moments, to the quirky facial expressions that everyone in this series possesses, to the hint of combat at the very end.
Now that I’ve seen that Toei are capable of producing an episode of this quality, I’m going to be even more disappointed when we return to the amateurish attempts that we’ve got over the past few weeks. If I had to point out one side of the production that still falls flat, even at its best, it would be the sound effects; they’re all little off for me, something fitting more for a pun-filled gag anime, or hell, even an American cartoon.
Enter Tamakoma Branch
Whilst the style was improved in this episode, the amount substance takes a step back. As you would expect, there are some suspicions with Jin’s offer for Yuma to join Border, but what he means is transferring Yuma (and Osamu and Chika, by Yuma’s request) directly to Tamakoma Branch. And so that’s where we find ourselves for nearly enough the entire episode. As Osamu quickly points out, it’s very different from Headquarters, opting more for a laid-back, homely approach.
As it turns out, the three A-rank agents of the branch are all out, so we only meet three members this time around (if you include pets). First is Rindo Takumi’s son, Rindo Yotaro (Urawa Megumi), a cheeky five year old who acts ahead of his years – possibly from being around agents all older than him. There’s also Raijinmaru, his pet Capybara who likes having his tummy rubbed. Then there’s an actual member of staff, Usami Shiori (Nakao Eri). She gives the impression of a goofy-yet-loving older sister, showing the three guests around, offering them food, and trying to make the best impression she can for their stay at Tamakoma Branch.
Other than that, the rest of the episode is very chill, taking its time with plot progression in exchange for some funny moments. The first, and possibly my favourite, is Yotaro saying he wouldn’t mind marrying Chika and letting her rub Raijinmaru’s tummy – d’aww. Yuma and Yotaro going fishing was a good one as well, even if by the end they were fine working together, with Yotaro even admitted when he made a mistake – that boy is not a total brat after all! There was also the Creeping Pizza Delivery Boy, which was equally bizarre and hilarious. And it also allowed us to see Yuma struggle with some delicious, stringy pizza.
The last few minutes were the crucial part, giving us an insight into Yuma’s past, showing the Neighbour World for the very first time. Yuma had mentioned that he and his father travelled together and got involved in the many ongoing wars over there, but seeing a glimpse of one of those battles has me hoping that we do get to travel to the Neighbour World sooner rather than later; it’s definitely a place I want to see more of. As I said, the action was really well done, and the setting and technology kind of gave me Shingeki no Kyojin vibes. But more importantly, Yuma had black hair! It looks strange after seeing him with his white-do for so long, but black suits him just as much, I’d say.
Overview — What’s Next?
Whilst Yuma does decline the offer, the episode decides to end mid-way through Yuma’s story, so you can expect more of that being continued: more Neighbours, more action, and an explanation for what brought him to the Human World as he is. All in all, a simple episode, but one that was very well animated and yet again hinted at the massive potential the series has in its future.
New Characters Introductions: