「私の撃墜王」 (Watashi no Gekitsui-ou)
“My Ace”

And all is well that ends well—or at least if you’re an anime-original Plunderer ending. As to be expected given all the hints and teasing previously, Doan was beaten down through the power of friendshipTM, the good guys won, and enough left in the open to convince those interested to give the manga a spin and see what they’re missing. Was it good enough an ending for everyone to sleep tight? Jury is out on that one, but no denying Plunderer played it straight and true until the end. After all, when you’ve got Pele going full housewife and Hina giving a new meaning to jumping bones, it’s hard not finding some measure of satisfaction in the end. Even if the results are, well, less than impressive. Train wreck or not, Plunderer always made sure it never fell far from the tree—anyways, onto those final impressions!

Final Impressions

Simply put, Plunderer was nothing special. Shock inducing story and mind-bending twists aside, the show we got was little more than a pseudo-shounen couched in lewd dressing and propped up a narrative structure seen many times before. While undeniably fun in parts and making the most of its conventional storytelling, Plunderer is yet another example of a series which took the mantra of source material advertisement and ran with it to its logical conclusion. From characters to plot it was all about getting to the final destination, and the destination—no matter how disappointing—was most certainly reached.

Arguably the major problem with Plunderer (at least adaptation-wise) is its dichotomous atmosphere. The jump from serious story to incredibly lascivious fan service is made almost at a whim, with Licht in particular showing how any moment is apparently a good moment to throw mood to the wind and indulge in more primal urges. Now to be clear fan service itself is not a bad thing; narratively similar series like Needless and Sunabozu feature it in abundance. The difference is the manner of its use. Whereas the latter examples either keep it tastefully ridiculous or go all in and use it as the plot driver, Plunderer attempts both, seemingly using it as comedic relief, only to overplay its hand and let these moments to bleed into its more serious aspects. As a result key moments (particularly in the show’s first half) suffer from narrative whiplash as critical character developments and major plot points are overshadowed by attempted humour. Few who dropped Plunderer early on would’ve guessed the history behind Licht or Alcia for example, or the intrigue such twists could create, but thanks to the manner of its presentation, such interest was lost. Because Plunderer couldn’t seemingly keep its pants on when it mattered, it lost out when the attention truly mattered.

The other primary issue with Plunderer is its derivativeness. For all the twists, turns, and time travel (spoiler alert) involved, the series was relatively predictable in plot and wholly simplified in characterization: from the moment the key details were revealed it was easy to guess where things were heading and how they would play out. Of course, like fan service such things aren’t problematic on the surface—plenty of shounen and shounen-influenced series have the exact same structure. The problem is what’s missing. As with many other adaptations, Plunderer passes over, rushes through, or otherwise creates anime-exclusive versions of developments and events which leave many critical details either missing or lacking. As a result backstories like Licht’s or Jail’s become near caricatures, missing many of the nuances and subtleties which help to turn otherwise simplistic narratives into fleshed out, “organic” stories. Plunderer’s adaptation may not be as bad as, say, the likes of Index III, but it’s arguably just one more adaptation which would’ve benefitted from a little more script ingenuity and attention to detail.

Overall while I cannot say I didn’t enjoy my time covering Plunderer (Lynn is perfection, fight me), it’s certainly one show I’m unlikely to return to anytime soon. With too many series to catch up on and new shows consistently appearing to seize one’s attention, Plunderer is just one more example of a “decent, but not great” adaptation which will inevitably fade into the woodwork over time. It’s certainly not the worst we’ve ever seen by far, but as Plunderer shows any adaptation seeking its spot in anime’s collective memory needs a little more than fan service and shocking twists to go the full mile.

9 Comments

  1. I salute you for your reviewing this whole series from start to finish, Sir Pancakes.

    It’s weird given DxD is more adult than Plunderer given the former is quite the open pervert he is along with clothes-tearing transformations. Not that I’m planning to watch DxD but I think I’ve seen positive reviews about its equal and timely pacing in putting ecchi elements.

    As for Plunderer, it still hasn’t learned except the bathhouse and EP 19 has timely ecchi IMO regardless of my gender. Nevertheless, I agree this is just decent adaptation. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t think I can forgive the author for giving the worst first chapter/episode given times are changing especially for consent and respect.

    Another crime he did was throwing darts on his “What Random Plot Twist Shall I Write Next” board. Now, I’m not hating him; I’m just NOT GONNA forgive him for ruining the serious plot progression that’s been ruined or overshadowed by a certain plot twist that should’ve avoid its own plot hole.

    *Cue me rolling my eyes about Tsukina (Hina’s irresponsible mother IMO) not telling her daughter about SSU and that Tsukina was born years ago. Sorry, Hina but it’s your mother’s fault at the end of the day.

    But I also found out the screenwriter for this adaptation is making more misses than hits. Well at least, this finale is way better than “extended groping at the cabin the woods” episode.

    Yet, I don’t regret watching it though it’s big thanks to the skip button god. In fact, I believe the only saving grace for this series to be remembered sometimes is Jail-Bo and speculative fiction it has represented. I’ll be surprised if manga and DVD sales do well after this first season has ended.

    Still, count me in if a renewal is approved though can’t put faith in that 100% like what Hina’s faith in her hero.

    Random thoughts: So is it possible if I could vote this anime as “Exceeded Expectations”? Just so it can prevent me from pushing that “Worst Anime of the Year” button. I’ll hate myself to do that for I don’t want to ignore the efforts put in by Jail and Lynn especially. She still looks like the main heroine in my eyes. I guess I’m glad to see that heartwarming moment she has with Pele. 🙂

    RK
    1. Thanks for the enjoying the coverage, even if it remained a little quiet here; this show certainly slipped under the radar XD

      The nature of the plot twists wasn’t a bother for me personally as much as their balancing against the fan service. Because the show went for crude and blunt force T&A at multiple inappropriate times it really interfered with the impact and intentions of major events. I’m fine with making these elements front and centre, particularly for comedic reasons, but not when it becomes the main thing you take away from an episode. Just a little bit of control earlier on would’ve helped a lot when it came to Licht’s character and his later developments.

      And I’ll just say Plunderer may be mediocre, but it’s not the worst anime of the year (to date), far from it 😛

  2. I saw the key visual 6 months ago and thought it had potential to really rock the boat with how epic and intense the storyline was. I followed the blog posts and realized it is the Animeiest Anime That Has Ever Animed.

    starss
    1. You mean how being an 9-in-1 multi-genre makes it the anime-est in the world? 😅

      Go to Baka Updates and you’ll see I’m right for having almost 100 themes they’ve covered.

      RK
    2. Hah in hindsight it does give off that impression! It’s probably why I enjoyed it for as much as I could, it was a show hard to take serious from the start and that helped significantly later on as things hit the fan.

  3. With a review like that I can’t expect another season turnout. There’s something about Plunderer that kept me to continue watching it until the end. And I felt like waiting for an answer to a question I can’t put into words right now. I don’t know exactly how to explain it but I can’t look forward to something that’s been built up only to realize that a big fight happened. Or that I’m thinking they still have the same amount of allies so yeah what’s next (looming enemies? not intrigued…)? Maybe it’s just the ending which got me feeling this way or another; I got the wrap-up closure for this so I can move forward. Maybe there were some outstanding episode here and there but even then I can’t pinpoint it. At least I know all the pairings of who goes with whom and what the future “mission” or direction of where the story may go towards. Very mixed about what I can say about this one (I think I just can’t decide where I stand on Plunderer). Nice review by the way with the criticism, very well put together.

    random viewer
  4. Mediocre is probably a fair description. It’s hit or miss in several aspects. Can’t tell if it’s the underlying story or the adaptation (perhaps both). No regrets watching though, but do wished they tied up a lot more of the mysteries.

    One of those is definitely the aces. They kept that one mask unvoiced in the black hole. And certainly the question on why Alan/Alexander is the only one that actually aged. Though it’s interesting how off the mark the legend at the start was. The only thing correct was the number and capabilities.

    That teaser near the end. Can guess who they are, but I suspect they’re clones. David was reassured that his genetic information was safe after all. No reason not to do it with the others. Considering they showed the girl with the odango instead of the long brown haired girl, it probably means the whole of class was revived instead of the primary ones in the opening.

    Finally, Hina what happened to you? She turned into a sekuhara demon. XD
    What the heck did her mother teach her? Nothing like Tokikaze at all. lol

    theirs
    1. Definitely they skipped a lot of exposition/explanation regarding the surgery’s effects. Could’ve use that during the serious conversation in EP 11 but instead, we got a sudden-cut to groping scenes which by the way didn’t exist in source material. I still can’t hate the screenwriter, but I won’t forgive him for being inconsistent in screenwriting’s pacing.

      I believe ep11 might be the worst anime-original episode in regards to the cabin fever scene.

      So yeah, a lot was cut out just so he can put unnecessary and untimely ecchi that I can’t get angry at the original author for starting the dreadful first chapter.

      As for Hina, I believe in the source material she’s written like that unfortunately. And sad to say, I’ll be expecting personality flip switch of hers like one moment she forgets then one moment she remembers and so forth. Heard from other readers that chapter 46 is the worst character development she has gotten in it.

      Nevertheless, I’m willing to watch another renewal if that happens miraculously due to my curiosity on what kind of reactions Jail and Lynn will portray along with their world’s origins being revealed to the public someday. So random plot twists won’t be turning me off as long it’s not going Riverdale-ish. 😅

      So hopefully the 7th Ace’s identity is revealed naturally. I hope.

      RK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *