「この煩わしい外界にさよならを！」 (Kono Wazurawashii Gaikai ni Sayonara o!)
“Goodbye to This Irritating Living World!”
“I don’t mind if they’re padded!”
With episodic storytelling, trying to pick out a theme when you’re dealing with only a part of the whole is tricky at best. After all, what was the theme of this episode? Kazuma finds his heroine? That’s more of a plot point, but it need not be a theme we’re looking for—a point above and beyond “it’s fun” is what I’m talking about. (Character development, plot development, etc.) That seems about the only candidate, along with Kazuma’s acquisition of Chunchunmaru, which, hah! Way to go, Megumin. He deserves that, always.
The nice thing, though, is that sometimes there doesn’t need to be an identifiable theme or more than a sparse scattering of plot-relevant tidbits. This feels like an inbetweenisode, something to bridge the gap between the team’s successful repayment their debt last episode and whatever comes next. That made it feel a tad insubstantial, like this is one of the episodes we’ll forget—but, hell, it was still fun, right? Sometimes, “it’s fun” is reason enough, as long as that isn’t taken advantage of.
I probably most enjoyed the first part of the episode, especially when the sword and armor were taken karmic revenge upon Kazuma on behalf of the rest of the universe. Sometimes, there’s nothing like silence or a purposeful beat to punctuate a joke! Vanir reappearing was also great, mostly because of what it did to Darkness. Not that I blame her.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I gave a sly, slightly giddy smile when Kazuma started eyeing Eris as his heroine. I’m a sucker for romance, even if Kazuma mostly deserves a swift kick in the arse. Going after a goddess, bold move! Which shouldn’t feel like one, since goddesses are dime a dozen in Kazuma’s life, but going after one he doesn’t live with is certainly gutsy. I don’t expect it to go anywhere all that fast, but giving Kazuma a target to aim for, rather than just three crazy targets to avoid, makes it all more believable that he’d avoid those three, even though he himself realizes that they’re cute. Maintain the tension, and maybe even ramp it up? Sounds good to me!
But the bets gag of the episode was undoubtedly the final one. Not Megumin drawing on Kazuma’s stomach, though that was nearly there. No, it was Aqua’s smirk. Poor boy, poor Kazuma. Your misfortune is richly deserved, and richly hilarious. Hah!
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: The Carcer Principle; Fire, further; Fire; and Starting a story with a bang—and when not to.
Full-length images: 11.