You know those cheesier, Silver Age Superman stories where he would, on a regular basis, be forced to juggle his Clark Kent and Man of Steel personae? Where he’d be, let’s say, having lunch with Lois Lane but suddenly he needs to pop out to, I don’t know, save a child frfom a nearby burning building (because buildings in comics have a habit of spontaneously combusting when a hero is around)? Then he’d sheepishly return to his table and Lois will go, ‘Wow, you just missed Superman! He was just here! Gee, Clark, you sure have the worst luck with the Superman scoops’.
That’s basically Kuon this episode.
There’s an implication that there are some who aren’t as easily fooled by Kuon’s costume changes but for the most part nobody has any questions at all about the sheer coincidence of a diplomatic mission of her countryfolk passing by and then soon after Kuon returning. Haku already suspected that Kuon was a bit too well-connected but has no questions for her whatsoever. Everyone’s just simple, trusting folk happy that their prodigal friend has come home. Can’t bllame them, I suppose; Kuon’s great and the team did feel like it missed its surrogate mother (some more than others). And in the anime, at least, we got the week break between her Princess Tuskur and Simple Kuon roles so there’s less whiplash in the transition, whereas in the game it felt like she basically walked out the gate as a princess then walked back in as Kuon.
I have mostly tried to avoid comparing the plot of the anime and the game too much because a) the anime’s story should be able to stand on its own and b) my memory is too shoddy to remember any details anyway. One thing for which I should be praising the anime though, is in its ability to tailor the game’s story to the anime format. It’s not an easy task. The game more or less alternated between comedy fluff vignettes, main plot development, and tactical RPG battles. This structure is, obviously, not possible for an anime, and the game has far too much content for two cours of anime in the first place. And so, to the anime’s credit, it has cut the fluff judiciously, compressed key developments where possible, and even rearranged scenes so that each week’s 24 minutes actually feels like one episode. That the anime is so willing to do this means that someone has actually put serious thought into structure (something numerous adaptations hurt for) and the skill of the execution means that, I suspect, most viewers won’t notice any changes unless they have actually played the game.
It’s interesting, then, to note what fluff the anime has chosen to keep, especially since Kuon is back and she is a one woman fluff generator; she’s the female lead, after all, and with her return so too can the rom-com hijinks. Her personal interactions with Haku stay in, and that’s fair enough, but her scene with Nekone also stayed in. I’m glad it did; with Nekone feeling guilt for causing the ‘death’ of both Oshtor and Haku, the scene was more than just fluff, it was drama, and drama is delicious.
I’m also glad they kept the scene of Mikazuchi toasting his dead friend. We get plenty of mourning for Haku that it’s easy to pass over the fact that Oshtor is the one who had died. It would be twice as tragic if there were none who would grieve it — or worse, if all, like Kuon, are so happy with the prospect that Haku is alive to take in that Oshtor has passed.
Oh, Munechika also turns out to be alive and returns this episode, but the OP already spoiled that so whatever.