Time to look at episode 2s, starting with Noumin Kanren no skill etc.. We start with Fal in disguise taking Al to the adventurer’s guild, greeted by some guy, and Helen, your nice, average fantasy series receptionist. Al’s sent off to gather some herbs for a first test. I’m actually grateful that when the massive, love-struck orc goes after him he doesn’t just throw a carrot or whatever, but has no idea what to do. He’s rescued by the adventurer Jake and his party. Then there’s a mysterious dragon scale found, followed by said dragon, “Malevolent Dragon Ouroboros,” who walks up to our terrified group (again Al, unlike last time, is too terrified to fight) … and walks on by. Meanwhile, Helen keeps having strange dreams, develops amnesia at night, and faints during a debriefing at the adventurer lodge. Obviously she’s our dragon, probably looking for the ghost of her brother, whom Al meets later on. The show thus shifts quickly out of introductions and to a decent enough story line. But meanwhile I wonder how Al is going to get the crops in when he’s off adventuring, and, to his credit, he wonders the same thing. But sorry, I’m dropping this.
Akuyaku Reijou etc 2 feels like it’s actually midway through a story arc and we’re just catching up to it. Aileen cooks up various schemes to recoup the money that Cedric stole (via cosmetics) and to refit the castle, which would fall apart if not for Claude’s magic. So she brings in some guys to help, and we’re treated like we should have met them before, like there was a season one before this. So we have the cosmetics, the castle, prepping for the ball, and finding out where the embezzled money went to. All sorts of plans in full swing and it’s only episode two. Plus, someone has been sending Cedric’s new fiancee Lilia threatening letters, and Aileen is pegged. With all this going on, no wonder she has bags under her eyes a lot.
Episode 3 has that same, slightly busy feel, even though the scenes were more extended. It’s time for the ball, and it pretty much goes as planned, with one snag: Lilia has gone missing. In the game, Aileen had kidnapped her, but here in “real life” she has nothing to do with it. Turns out Lilia went to Claude’s castle, because she claims she’s worried about him and wants to be with him, basically what a maiden would say when they want to get in good with a guy. But she’s engaged to Cedric, not brought up in her speech, so she has something up her sleeve. It’s revealed that she has the holy sword power in her–that might have something to do with it. Or she’s a two-timing schemer trying to screw something up (but what?). Or, as a fun possibility, she’s sort of a puppet, the heroine character who has to move the story in a certain direction, whether she wants to or not. An NPC a slave to the movements of the game is a tasty possibility. Anyway, the threatening letter scam is revealed, the kidnapped Lilia is found, Cedric is humiliated (under the same chandelier we saw to open episode one) and all is well in the world for now.
SpyxFamily 14 is more serious and frantic than the usual cute spy hijinks we expect. Anya has figured out that Borf the dog can see the future, and since she can read minds, she sees a future with her “father” dead in an explosion. The bomb is booby-trapped in a room near the “pointy clock” tower and she frantically rides Borf to the location. The following scenes are a mix of genuine suspense with Anya’s cuteness. How soon until the detonation she saw in the future? She can’t tell time! It would be worse if we didn’t know that the show has no intention of killing her, or Loid, but it’s suspenseful enough. Meanwhile Loid and other agents track down all of the terrorists save one, but that one is especially suicidal and has some explosives AND a dog. SO just when we think we can breathe easy Loid has to disguise himself as the target and lead the terrorist and dog on a wild chase, and so the episode ends. I thought this story would be done by now. I feel sorry for the dog with the explosives though. But why couldn’t Loid just take the minister’s clothes with the scent and dump it somewhere, and spring a trap?
Turns out the serious stuff is handled quickly in ep15. Loid doesn’t shoot the dog but the bullets cut the straps to the bomb harness, which he flings into the river. And Yor dispatches the fleeting terrorist by kicking his car into a lamppost! Yor gets scarier every episode. Good thing she’s on our side, or at least Anya’s. After that it’s just the matter of adopting the dog, Handler showing a softer side for once, remembering her past. Both she and Loid have moments where they think about how close the countries are to fighting and losing precious lives in this episode. However, they’re inserted into more innocent moments, like a visit to a dog part and trying to think of a name for Borf. Sadly, Anya choose “Bond,” for Bondman, so I can’t use my name for him any more. So it’s the happy story-arc ending we expected, AND with Bond, Anya has another angle for school. “I got a dog!” works on both Becky, and to a lesser extent, Damian.
In Shinmai Renkinjutsushi no Tenpo Keiei 2, Sarasa, over the shock of her dump of a new home, gets to setting it up. Magical spells help a lot, so we’re spared the tedium of cleaning. After that she goes into the village and meets Lorea at a furniture shop, and is shown around by Elles. Remember that Sarasa never had friends before, though she’s social enough to get by, but everyone in the village is friendly and grateful to have an alchemist, well, they prank her once but it’s all in fun and they feel bad afterwards. While she’s surprised by all this, she’s not overwhelmed. Sarasa’s anxieties only show when she’s alone and lonely. I don’t think she’s as dysfunctional as she thinks. By the end of the episode, she and Lorea team up and share a bath AND a bed. As for repaying all this kindness, we get a crisis at the end, so she’ll get her chance next episode.
Pretty eventful episode 4. First Sarasa has to heal a wounded gatherer named Iris, then they (including some gatherers) go after a hellflame grizzly, and we learn the other grizzlies in the area are going to go berserk and destroy the village, so Sarasa organizes defenses and helps rouse the village, then a big fight, where Sarasa kills most of the grizzlies by herself. Really, her esteem in the village can’t get any higher. It’s sad, actually. I wanted to see the villagers do more of the fighting. They’re game and do kill a few, but Sarasa still comes off as the overpowered superhero in this episode. Two amusing things: first, when Iris is brought in with her severed arm and they beg Sarasa to heal her, her first lines are to the amount of “How much money you got?” She’s got a business to run after all, and we later get a couple speeches about balance of trade and value given. While it sounds callous, I appreciate that Sarasa has a business to run. In fact, the end of each episode shows a tally of money spent and received. The second is Sarasa’s almost gleeful slicing up of bear organs. She plunges the knife in without a thought and removes a liver … and the eyeballs. While it’s nice to see Sarasa willing to get her hands dirty, or mucky, c’mon! Taking out the eyeballs made me flinch like I was watching Made In Abyss.
Then two episodes of Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakute!, where our boy Kageno or something, after meeting truck-kun, wakes up as an infant in a fantasy world. He grows up in the shadow of his amazingly talented older sister Claire, but, still determined to be a shadowy mastermind, works magic on his own and manages to get a harem, er, squad of sexy elf girls, determined to take down the evil force that he had made up on the spot. Claire is kidnapped and Kagano and the girls go to the rescue, Kagano meeting and defeating the boss by accident, or is it. It seems that things keep falling into place for this kid. Then in episode 3, at a prestigious school where he is a low-level side character, he gets the top girl in school, but it’s deceit on her part, and she and Kageno both know it; she doesn’t want to marry that other guy blah blah. However, it leads to some nice honest scenes between the two, Alexia detesting her life as compared to her sister, Kageno knowing all the tropes of this world. While there’s animosity between the two, their scenes where they drop the facade feel refreshing. But, where the hell is this show going? I like how they’re messing with the isekai background, but is Kagano going to goof through life and make stuff up the entire time? I can’t figure this show out, but I like it so far.
Do it yourself! proceeds with the accumulation of new members. Episode 2 brings us Takumi, that shy, mousy girl who Serufu befriends. She gives Serufu the idea of making the clubroom cuter, and maybe that will attract more members. So she works on a new sign out of tiles while Serufu continues to damage herself. Naturally, Takumin is pleased to get praise for her work (she has a good eye for color and design), and she’s adopted into the club before she even realizes it. Pretty straightforward. Ep3 presents Juliet Elizabeth something-or-other, twelve year-old-genius from America and tsundere about DIY stuff. She keeps popping into the clubroom to go “DIY is so moldy and old-fashioned, hmph!” until Takumi figures out that the kid is lonely, and they entice her in. Meanwhile, Miku observes much of this through school or bus windows, obviously displeased and perhaps jealous that Serufu is doing just fine without her, not knowing that Serufu would dearly want to see more of her. Oh, they make a bench out of skis. It’s still a little slow-going, and I wish they would get more into the carpentry side of it.