|35 Shoutai, like all the other Fall shows, is coming into the mid-season, so it’s time to round out the harem a touch more and introduce new characters and plots. So how did this one work out?|
Don’t Call Me Usa-chan!
Eyecatch One! She has a team to back her up!
Our cold open leaves little to guess at, as Usgai is placed front and center. As the directionally challenged sniper, and the one most easily flustered, this wrinkle to her character is not all that surprising. Some folks shine when put on a deadline, other’s balk. Still, other’s need a helping hand to work out the problems. Since she hasn’t been performing well in school, her rich family has decided the old fashioned way if for her; an arranged marriage to another prominent family, and by the looks of it, it’s not only unwanted, it might also be harmful to Usagi in the long-run. Something that also struck me hard in that cold open was not only how bitterly she took the idea of leaving school, but how crest-fallen she was at being rebuked for calling that woman her mother. Both of those stings struck her deep.
Secret Dick? and Secret Bunker…
But we also get a few more wrinkles in the plot-lines as two new features have been added. One is the newly-announced Witch-Hunter’s Festival, the other is a back-room development, and it doesn’t look like they are unconnected from each other. It’s stated that for all intents that the Witch-Hunter’s Festival is “just like a normal school festival”, like such an animal even exists in anime-land, so how that will work out we can only guess at; my guess is that it’s going to be a horrifying experience on quite a few levels…
But there is both cold hard cash and school credits on the line, so despite Ouka’s protestation, each member of the Small Fry Platoon has their reason to participate. They even have a good reason to take on Ishida’s 25th Test Platoon as partners, as more hands can make for less work. Yeah, it’s also less credit for each, but getting a small portion is better than the nothing either group would have to settle for. Or, you know. The 25th could be eaten by whatever monsters come up during the festival; either in the form of personal embarrassment or….actual bloody monsters!
Not at all unsubtle…way to smoke those tropes, Reima…
So this looks like a welcome boon to Usagi, as she needs to pull up her grade average to stay in school and to avoid an arranged marriage. But it gives with one hand and takes with the other, as new character and “not-at-all-suspicious” transfer student Reima Tenmyoji is not only sponsoring and in charge of the Festival, but is also the man Usgai is engaged to.
Nothing about the chance meeting between the two in the show even tries to suggest that this isn’t subversive and terrible. While he isn’t as obvious in his creepiness as Haunted, he is very much of that tree. Usagi’s reaction to him is not butterflies in the stomach, but cold and absolute terror. It’s not unsubtle, but it doesn’t exactly give it’s tell right away. But man, she feels like a lamb that realizes her time for the knife is sooner rather than later…
The Plot Thickens
The most refined of LOLi…
For that we have the next part of the plot and that introduces us to a new character in Nagaru Hoshijiro. I like this LOLi, but that is hardly surprising. In addition to being headquartered in a hidden weapons bunker complete with kotatsu and her own potential spy-master in Shizuka-chan, she’s got that laid back-but in charge attitude that you see in finer LOLi School Council Presidents. She’s large and in charge, and just looks comfortable with her position.
In that regard she has a special offer in mind. I like the idea of Mephistopheles; that even a group that is hard-wired to acknowledge the super-natural has their equivalent of a boggy-man say quite a bit about them, and makes the world’s background a bit richer. So seeing as Ouka is not at all interested in the Festival, and would rather engage in real hunting, this looks like a welcome retreat for her, especially when lives are already on the line. Plus they just roll out the suspicion train in regards to Tenmyoji sudden transfer and the timing of the Mephistopheles attacks.
Well, she gets to pass down that ribbon…
Then, with but one departure into Mari’s ongoing school adventures involving the very cryptic anti-magic experiments, we are back into Usagi’s story. I like how Ikaruga is able to go on about the girl’s personality this episode; it keeps her involved as more than a background character and it shows how much she both cares and is willing to be involved in her friend’s life. She has that insight that Usagi wants to be called Usagi as it let’s her have a semblance of a normal life, in addition to knowing that the sniper’s trademark headband is a keepsake. She also loves to tease like anything when it comes to love.
Then we pretty much move onto the fait accompli; or in anime-language, “it can’t be helped”. This was pretty much pure ecchi harem, with all the built in over-reactions brought on by unsaid plans or situations. “Stay at my place tonite, and I’ll invite the rest of the platoon so we can have a planning session”. How hard is it to complete a thought, Mr. MC? Or to set out a spare shirt for her while you’re on the phone with the others? But there’s enough blame to go around as Usagi could have towel’d off better and not slipped. Still, it was an a sweet little reaction on Usagi’s part.
But hey, comedy is made of the unexpected. Ecchi comedy doubly so! And I do love some ecchi comedy, as you will soon see…I especially love how the three other girls had their own unique reactions, Ikaruga’s “I wanted this to be a threesome” reaction being the best. But this brings us to the nitty gritty of the episode and that is the Usagi Rescue Mission. I’m glad to see this is a team effort, and that it might not devolve to Kusunagi having to repeat what he’s done for both Ouka and Mari.
So much left unsaid…
Well, I do go on when it comes to the first part of these two part stories. So I’ll wrap it up quick in me final thoughts. I really enjoyed this episode. It was a bit by the book, but I felt they played the cards close enough to the vest to “leave room” for some guessing. I’m hoping they are able to resolve the plot line a bit better than last episode. Usagi needs to have her own agency, not just a “best effort for the MC to take over and finish it”.
They have a pretty decent, “enemy within” situation going down, and it’s looking to be quiet intriguing. I like how they are able to suggest that the Anti-Magic Academy is not one unified whole, and instead can cast it as a battleground for different ideas and agendas, as they battle the witches. Mephistopheles at this point could be anything, and if I’m going to guess, I would say it’s a witch that is under the Tenmyoji family control; a great device to wipe out internal opposition. This could very well tie into the Saionji family and what they have to bring to the game. So, I’ll see you….
…for the Big Bite!