「異世界の守護者」 (Isekai no Shugo-sha)
“Guardians of Another World”
If there’s one thing to be said for the Queen, it’s that she gets things done. All Naofumi had to do was teleport to the capital to inform her about the dragon glass and he had an entire armada on his hands to face the oncoming Wave with. Plus, while he and the other heroes were sailing to the Wave’s location, the locals were being evacuated. Talk about efficient. With that said, though, as admirable as it was for the Queen to join in the fight herself, the risks of her participation seem to far outweigh the benefits. After all, who would arrange for evacuations and executions and supplies if anything were to happen to her? Probably Melty, but Melty was almost drowned by a fish. Still, I’m glad the Queen and Melty are supportive of Naofumi. It almost makes up for him still not cooperating with the other heroes. Almost.
It actually feels as though they’ve gotten progressively worse. Motoyasu, I understand, but Ren and Itsuki swooping in to take drops they didn’t earn? After Ren spent most of the battle hugging the mast and none of their attacks did anything to faze the boss monster? At this point, it’s like they’re being purposely flanderized so that L’Arc and Therese can look better in comparison. Leaving everything with Naofumi aside, after an entire arc spent having it pounded into their heads that their levels were too low because of their abysmal teamwork, they’ve effectively been relegated to comic relief. Now that that’s out of the way, though, I did enjoy seeing Ren and Itsuki shed some of their cool facades a bit. For his part, Itsuki seemed to have taken of something of a ‘mysterious patron in a bar’ roguish persona, so it was nice to see him open up enough to properly lead his archers. And as for Ren, well, he did manage to pry himself off the mast long enough to use a sword attack, but why is he suddenly afraid of boats?! He was on a boat in the previous Wave and was fine. He took a boat to Cal Mira. Sure, it’s a funny visual, but when you actually think about it, it doesn’t make a lick of sense. On the other hand, Motoyasu’s characterization was on point. If it’s too late in the game now to hope for these characters to grow any more than this, then the best thing to hope for is that they sit back and let the grown-ups do the battling, because the upcoming confrontation between the very much missed Glass and Naofumi is going be a sight to behold.
Unfortunately, it’s not just Glass facing up against Naofumi, but L’Arc and Therese as well. The episode telegraphed the betrayal pretty heavily, what with the characteristically cheerful L’Arc refusing to look Naofumi in the eye, though I can’t say I minded it. I’d much prefer seeing shadowed eyes or clenched fists than have the characters loudly declare their intentions… Okay, L’Arc did that too, but listen it’s part of who he is – a straightforward, stand-up guy. A straightforward, stand-up guy who wants to kill the main character. Apparently, Naofumi is the only real chance his world has of defeating the Waves, which would be bad for other worlds, so L’Arc, Therese, and Glass traveled from their dimension to eliminate the only chance the Four Cardinal Heroes have of winning. Even so, L’Arc and Therese aren’t willing to harm anyone other than Naofumi, and don’t seem that enthused about harming him, either. L’Arc especially goes about the fight to the death almost like it’s another friendly spar, and if Naofumi were fighting seriously, it would have gotten him killed. Seeing Naofumi psyche them out by announcing his attacks and then using them in an innovative way – for one thing, he managed to do L’Arc significant damage with an Air Shield – was leagues more interesting than yet another Iron Maiden. Ultimately, I just don’t think L’Arc and Therese really have what it takes to doom another world to save their own, not when they’re intent on fighting fair and unwilling to hurt anyone other than their intended target. Glass, though, she absolutely will, and she might even enjoy it.
Now that we’re nearing the end, I’m realizing how invested I still am in Tate no Yuusha. I’m excited to learn more about L’Arc, Therese, and Glass. What kind of world do they come from? Is it filled with monsters? And with the Queen in charge, there’s so much that can be done. For instance, Naofumi can finally start traveling to other kingdoms to help out with their Waves. I could easily watch another season of this, but at least there’s still one more episode to go.