Pacing problems galore.
The first half of the episode was largely what I expected after the decision to invade Tusukuru became obvious last week, with some bonuses that I didn’t necessarily expect, but which largely worked. I expected the sheeple of Yamato (open your eyes!) to be all for the invasion of Tusukuru, with the added bonus of the studio firmly reminding us just how damn big Yamato is. I also expected the drama surrounding Kuon, as everyone steps on eggshells around her since her homeland is being invaded. I did not expect the war effort to take place off-screen, though it ended up working, and I honestly cheered when Oshutoru told Haku that the invasion effort had already ground to a halt. Welcome to Tusukuru, bitches! You better believe they’re good at this. They’re been preparing for your dumb asses since Hakuoro exited the stage.
Then there’s the mission for Haku to deliver supplies to the invasion force, and him agreeing to do it. To anyone who thought Itsuwari no Kamen was going to be like Utawarerumono, and Haku would turn into a general/strategist (like it looked like he would after episode two), this is an intriguing development. It was also strange because he agreed to A) go to war (which he hates), and B) help attack Kuon’s homeland, which is a big dickish. But his speech to her, at least, was heartfelt, though I wasn’t surprised that she wasn’t there. Though it turns out I wasn’t correct about why.
—To Spinning Our Wheels
The second half of the episode, on the other hand, was an effort in spinning our wheels. It was bizarre. I thought for sure that Kuon had left for Tusukuru, that the adoptive daughter of many of Tusukuru’s heroes would, ya know, go help her damn country. For her to be hiding upstairs with Karura is weird, and for her to ultimately go on the resupply mission with Haku and the others is even weirder. I know this is based on a game, as some commenters noted, and presumably they didn’t want to split the party, but I’ve played JRPGs where the party got split before! It’s fine, it works! This just feels so wrong, that she would do anything to help her country’s enemy, even if some of her friends are from there. I can see her being conflicted and staying on the sidelines. I can see her fighting but holding back. But helping her enemy kill her own countrymen is just weird. And I can’t imagine why Karura hasn’t left to go beat the hell out of some Yamato generals either.
As for getting there, it felt like a massive waste of time. I like that Kuon is the one person in the world who can spur Haku to action, but much of the second half was concerned with wasting our time when I just wanted to either find Kuon or learn that she’d gone to Tusukuru. And then Haku spent the last part of the episode drunkenly complaining, which, er, isn’t very attractive. Especially since he’s been extraordinarily lucky, both to survive the apocalypse and to fall into such an important position with such great comrades after he awoke. It’s not endearing. As for him not wanting to work, while I’m sure we can all relate (to a point—I’d much rather blog anime and write novels than do “real” work, but those are work too), it just comes across as whining. To quote a wise man:
“If you don’t want to work, you have to work to earn enough money so that you won’t have to work.” -Ogden Nash
Ya hear that, Haku? Now stop whining about how bad your life is when it’s actually damn good and get to work. Though maybe don’t help invade your friend’s country, you idiot.
Despite spending half of this post berating Haku for being such a damn idiot, I’m still cautiously optimistic about where this is going. Getting the story back out on the battlefield is where the drama lives, and we need some of that to prevent this from turning into a slog. Make it happen, Itsuwari no Kamen. This is your chance to prove the haters wrong.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Half heartfelt potential drama, half wasting our time #utaware s2e18
- To those who were saying that, because this is based on a game, they won’t split the party, some counter-evidence: Maroro is going off with Dekoponpo again, and Kiuru is already on the battlefield. Maybe they’re not party members in the game, but I have a feeling they are.
- “I’m sure there’s a reason beyond our understanding for it.” I hate that reason. Nekone might be right—is right—but saying such a thing is to cut off the chance for understanding, and to let those in power dominate your life. Though that certainly fits the setting.
- Apparently Haku’s party is getting their trap ideas from looney tunes. Let’s catch that wascally Kuon!
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Introduction, What Star Wars: The Force Awakens did right, What Star Wars: The Force Awakens did wrong, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens – The Conclusion.