….that pause, though…(clip has sound)
|Come sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful ship…Here on Yamada’s Isllllllllle! (Just assume the rest of the song is somewhere in those three dots)|
Masamune Izumi and Younger Senpai or Harem Times
The show doesn’t forget it’s continuity with the last episode.Elf was pressing the advantage she had with Masamune from their late night walk in the moonlight. But on top of that we had Muramasa coming in to demonstrate that she is the latest catch in the harem round-up. I love the “Emily” gag, as it very much puts the control in Masamune’s corner just after these two had their tiff, that is for sure. From the get-go Muramasa is just taking the scene from Elf left, right, and center. Yankee is a light insult, I guess, but it’s enough to put Elf into the reactionary zone, which gives the power right back to Muramasa. It’s fair play, and payment right back at Elf for the previous episodes, “leave her with nothing but a bikini” incident, plus other playful yet mild incidents. Heck, even Chris is cracking the whip and getting Elf back into literal game-form – she must hate work that much, I would enjoy working on a game version of anything that I wrote, that became popular. All in all…advantage Muramasa this time for the time being. Even if control was elusive at moments, that just made the end of the show pay off well…
There are a lot of reasons to revisit previous, dead, characters…
I mean, it’s still going to be home turf advantage to Elf, that’s why they saddled her with all the work that she hated to do, she took advantage last time, so it’s appropriate to balance the scales of the harem. But in swinging back to the sempai we basically just get more of the same from her. She’s enamoured of Masamune both on a professional and personal level, she’s a writer because she feels that it’s the only way to find interesting things to read, and that she finds Masamune’s work to be cutting edge enough – only it’s not – to make her consider what her own work really means. I’m a bit put off by that, but I think I’m supposed to be. We already knew these things about her, and they even hang a lampshade on that when Elf and Shidou point out that her entry into the LN contest was a thinly veiled love letter from her to Masamune, and who couldn’t figure that out. I wanted to complain about this, but I think they very much wanted to put the new girl in her own place, with her own sort of reveal, so that it could be a proper parallel to Elf’s.
Has the pecking order been established?
But it terms of harem, this establishes Muramasa credits. She different enough from Elf and Sagiri, and any other element they choose to spoil with in the future. Elf envisions the relationship one way, Muramasa, in another. Sagiri in another still. All three can progress along their own path, and as we’ve seen in many other harems, it’s the route and the characters that fans become enamoured of. It’s never about who is objectively the best girl, but where you find your version of that, and how much you want to argue? For Muramasa, she’s the quieter one, but those still waters run deep. In that, in contrast with Elf, she has her own sense of lively that doesn’t quite match up with her rival, but it would be a mistake to call her not as spirited, even if she prefers to be more reserved. So the end reveal is important, as she has a strong connection to the boy’s past. The fan letter was an interesting approach to an old trope, that being a competition with Sagiri as first girl – and they just nailed that point with Sagiri helping the gang find out that Masamune goes commando; her whole panties schtick become a bit of a character point. If your bring the embarrassment, you have the power. Something which was brought up time and time again this episode. So we might just be Sagiri>Elf>Muramasa as this point? Well I’m still on the Elf-Train….
More Extra Elf and Others….
So who will they feature next episode….
When I was younger, we didn’t have streaming anime, or even the internet itself; by younger, I’m mean, the age of the characters in the show, that would take us to approximately the mid-80s. So we really had to make our own entertainment when we gathered. Sure we could discuss stuff that we liked and that was new to us, but when it came to really getting the crowd going we had gaming; again, no internet connection, and computer games at the time were not as immersive or as crowd friendly – well, two player console – as the were today, generally speaking. By gaming, I mean old school D&D, the pens, the paper, the rule books, the two-liters of Mt. Dew and bags of snacks and the camaraderie. In many respects is was as competitive as it was cooperative. That is what I enjoyed about this episode. These four enjoying themselves with the thing that was still new to them, that they enjoyed. It’s the thing that made them compete, it’s the thing that made them cooperate. Even if it felt a little off balance compared to last episode, my take away is the fun they have with each other. Tropes will always be tropes, after all…