「ポンコツxご主人様」 (Ponkotsu x Goshujin-sama)
“Loser x Master”
This week’s installment of Kemono Michi takes a well-earned break from Genzou by focusing on Hanako and Camilla’s relationship. As we learn about Joanna’s rivalry with Hanako that mirrors MAO’s personal feud with Genzou, we also get more insight on Hanako’s past, how she sees her servant Camilla, and how her dispute with Joanna will further feed into the ensuing fervor once MAO gets the rematch he’s always wanted.
It was nice to get more screentime from Hanako in this episode that delves further into her personal motivations than finding the next best meal to nosh on. Joanna’s backstory shows us how Hanako’s desires hadn’t changed too much since then since she still favors the lazy, calm, and gluttonous life over toiling away at her education. However, she also has latent talent that comes out when she’s fully invested in a subject she’s interested in, such as her instinctual ability to constantly beat Joanna in organized duels.
The end result of Rose and Camilla’s one-sided duel gave us a deeper glimpse into her personal ethos as she is willing to bow to her rival to defend her friend’s right to be her servant in spite of her status, and yet defend her family’s honor by unleashing her dragon form to fight in her stead.
This episode also sheds light on Camilla’s investment in Hanako’s happiness and prosperity while fleshing out the lore behind the vampires of this universe. Camilla truly has everything going against her once she took on the role of being the anime’s punching bag, but she also is ranked in the lowest hierarchy of vampires in society. As a lesser vampire, she is looked down on by an elder vampire like Rose and is far below a great ancestor. As a result, Joanna spends a majority of the episode trying to convince Hanako to get rid of her due to her racial hierarchy amongst the vampires.
But Camilla’s weaknesses end up being what ultimately makes her compatible with Hanako as she finds her failings to be more humorous than unbecoming. In fact, what Camilla excels at is how dedicated she is to staying by Hanako’s side, being willing to put herself in harm’s way and get beaten down as much as possible by Rose before Hanako threw the towel.
While the episode continues to mock Camilla’s enthusiasm in the face of constant failure, it also gives her a chance to show her dedication to making Hanako happy, giving us a welcome change of pace by taking her fight with Rose seriously. The duel may have been better settled by Hanako by the end of the episode and Camilla may have been spending more than a few days neck-deep in impure soil, but it was great to see her take on a more prominent role throughout this episode.
The future implications of the feud between Hanako and Joanna are interesting as well since it intersects closely with the eventual showdown between MAO and Genzou. Although the royal family that summoned Genzou isn’t pleased with their hero, Joanna couldn’t have been luckier to have summoned an opponent with a personal vendetta against their hero. And with Joanna swallowing the bitter pill of defeat after Hanako beat her as a dragon, there is an even more personal reason why she would want to hasten the process of reintroducing MAO to Genzou. The spy that is overlooking Genzou’s residence may be the link that ends up bringing them together, but until then, it was great to have an episode that gave the spotlight to Hanako and Camilla.