Jolly good time.
Last week on Virgin Soul, we had an episode that was mostly just the characters talking me to sleep regarding their motivations and shopping and not having any action and – as Rita puts it – just being disappointing bores in general. From what I’ve seen, a lot of people seemed to like the episode, despite agreeing it was too talky. One guy asked how I could be engaged with Re: Creators’ exposition whilst making his stance on Virgin Soul itself unclear. Here’s my problem with the dialogue in Virgin Soul’s latest episode: it’s mostly just been character interactions and clarifying what we already know, only with a little more detail like how the current king has anti-demon prejudice because he grew up during the Bahamut war. You cannot possibly tell me you didn’t know that before he said it out loud, the same way you couldn’t possibly have noticed Kaiser’s conflicting morals regarding his stance on anti-demonism and being a member of the Orleans Knights. And the other thing is that none of the conversations actually went anywhere beyond those clarifications. It was incredibly obvious setup, and since it’s setup we’ve seen before, it comes off more as padding.
As for the whole “liking the character interactions” thing, I’ve made it clear in the past that I don’t care for the whole Tales-like skit stuff when it has to stand on its own as substance. Virgin Soul has its chuckle-worthy moments, but it’s not a funny show. And everything the fanbase considers flat-out hilarious to carry an episode like the very idea of Nina needing to get horny to transform stops being appealing to me after two seconds. It’s like how a small section of the anime community likes Yosuga no Sora or School Days because of their hilariously stupid sex scenes and yandere moments, somehow ignoring that they only take up a small percentage of each episode in either show and the rest of it is really banal dialogue and drama, not so dissimilar to how Christopher Walken was the only good part of The Country Bears.
And of course, the big achilles heel that’s tying all these faults together is that Virgin Soul is an anti-racism show whose only appealing detail to stand out from the crowd of anti-racism stories is that the prejudice is porn out of post-war trauma. That’s enough to get me interested, but the show hasn’t really expanded on that entry point since the beginning, and I’m not expecting it to because Bahamut as a show has always been more about embracing the fantasy tropes than subverting them. Unfortunately, the parts that it’s embracing are the more tedious parts of high fantasy rather than the exciting parts of high fantasy.
But hey, it still looks nice, so whatever.
- Alright, this doesn’t have to do with the actual episode itself, but this is what the Amazon summary says happens this week:
Nina is out shopping for supplies to prepare for the evening festival of the war commemoration. She bumps into the handsomely disguised Charioce in the city once again, and invites him to the food stand she is helping to run.
- Well this should be eventful.
- You know, it really is weird to see Rita hanging around the town like it’s no big deal. I know she’s not exactly the weirdest inhabitant, but I still think people would raise their eyes at seeing a clearly zombie-fied girl walking around.
- Way to foreshadow that the dude who looks like Barnaby from Tiger & Bunny and barely had any screen time prior is going to show up this week.
- Somehow it didn’t occur to me that the Barnaby look-alike was actually the king until just now, but then again it’s hard to tell with those glasses and that turban covering up his hair. And given how he put up an even fight against Nina in that arm-wrestling match, I’m guessing Charioce has special powers too, although I’m not really sure what kind.
- How the hell is this guy still alive? I would have thought his former demon slaves would have him on a crucifixion stick by now.
- Oh for fuck’s sake Nina. You seriously can’t keep your hormones in check when the guys assaulting you are handsome? Who the fuck conceived this stupid gimmick of yours again?
- I guess that means we’re deprived of another opportunity to see her kick ass again. But don’t worry, I’m sure someone will step in to save her any moment now…
- …of course. How convenient. It’s like this episode was written by the authors of “How to do Easy Storytelling #101”.
- So Nina decides to invite the king to her booth for saving her and…oh my god this Bahamut episode is so stupid. The cliched nature of what’s going on is just dull and induces more groans than watching Guy Ritchie’s own take on medieval fantasy. And before you’ve asked, no I haven’t seen the film myself, but given how I’m not a fan of his, I’m guessing King Arthur isn’t going to be the one thing of his to change my mind.
- Agggggggghhhhhhh! I’m literally sticking my tongue out at this scene. Can this watch get any worse?
Unknown: …loo loo loo loo…
Unknown: …Every day’s a sale. Every sale’s a WHALE!
Me: Wait, is that?
Me: …oh god no!
Emil: Hi there Mr. Flawfinder.
Me: Emil? What are you doing here?
Emil: Well business has been slow as of late, so I drove over to the world of Mistarcia to see if I could sell any festival goods.
Me: I don’t think your wares are usable by the inhabitants here though.
Emil: Oh don’t worry about that. I’ve upgraded my supply since we last met and now sell consumable foods. I’ve got all kinds of pork, fruit salads, tacos, and pies to go around.
Me: You can cook?
Emil: Yeah I can. It was tough at first given how I can’t taste anything, but I never gave up, and after years of practice, I finally managed to get on a level that Gordon Ramsey would be satisfied with.
Me: That’s a pretty high level dude.
Emil: I know. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go off and sell things food cart-style.
Me: Okay then. See you.
*Emil drives off*
- …back to the show. We discover that Azazel is going to be using the festival parade in order to launch a surprise attack on the king. He also apparently plans to use his douchey charms to turn Nina into a dragon in order to tip the scales in his favor, but quite frankly that part of the plan has such a large margin for error that I’m finding it a miracle these demons are cheering him on. They’ve never even seen the dragon before, so how the fuck can they trust Azazel so blindly?
- So they do bring up the fault in relying on Nina. Unfortunately, they decide to just put their trust in Azazel anyways because…the plot says so? Seriously, how could they not question this more?
- By the way, there’s a scene where a mouse is getting eaten by a snake. I’m not going to show it because I can’t handle animals getting fucked the way I can humans.
- After commercial break, the festival is underway and Kaiser notices that Demon Douche is walking around. Unfortunately, he loses him in the crowd, but at least now we have time to see these girls sell wings.
- Okay I’m sorry, but I am not seeing the appeal of this episode, and consequently this new Bahamut iteration, at all. In fact, with the exception of Attack on Titan, I’m not seeing the appeal of any of the sequels this season, period. They are boring. There’s nothing going on in them that feels important. From the sports festival in Hero Academia 2 to the “let’s get emotional over personal matters that don’t lead to any semblance of a narrative and don’t have much in terms of stakes” writing (edit: I’d only seen up to Episode 5 of Hero Academia 2 before watching this week’s Bahamut, so I wasn’t aware of the severity of Todoroki’s daddy issues) that sums up the Uchouten Kazoku and Saekano sequels quite nicely, it’s like I’m watching the first half of that godawful Shakugan no Shana 2 anime all over again.
- I mean they’re not even focusing on the anti-racism plot all that much now. They’re just focusing on the characters having a good time. I could understand if you were taking a short break from the plot, but not only has there been little plot so far, the setup is so obvious and lacking in imagination that I’m wishing Emil would just drive in and start shooting the place up.
Emil: Hey, did you just steal an apple pie from me?
Me: Wait, Emil. I know I said I wish you’d shoot the festival up, but I didn’t think you’d actually do it.
Emil: You may be a high-ranking noble around these parts, but you must still be punished.
Me: No Emil!
Me: Holy shit!
*Kaiser notices the explosion and runs to the scene, only to see a giant crater and several very dead, very unrecognizable civilians*
Kaiser: Who are you? And why have you murdered all these civilians?
Emil: This man here just tried to steal an apple pie that I worked so hard to make.
Kaiser: What man are you talking about? All I see here are…oh my god is that an eyeball?
Emil: Huh. I thought that was one of my Oreos for a second there.
Kaiser: Foul fiend! You must be punished for your treachery.
Emil: Oh yeah?
*Emil and Kaiser start partaking in a laser vs sword battle that MAPPA refuses to animate because apparently action is foreign to them this season*
Kaiser: Grrr. What is this power?
Emil: It’s the power of friendship motherfucker! The power of all the people who’ve stood by me over the years, and who time has claimed the lives of. They may be gone, but their power still rests within me!
*Emil starts doing his multi-face attack, which if you’ve played Nier: Automata, you’d know that Kaiser has no chance of withstanding*
Kaiser: No, this cannot be! Nooooooooooooooooo!
Me: …okay you guys take care of your own business. I’m just going to go back to the horny dragon now.
- So while that nonsense (that nobody in this show seemed to notice given how huge the explosion was) is going on, the king shows up at the wing booth, Bacchus persuades him to walk around the festival with Nina, he does some unfunny sexual harassment, and then we get a montage of these two guys going on a date whilst I play the Mortal Kombat theme in the background just to get through the inanity of it all.
- Glad to see that all the time and money we could have spent on one good fight scene in this show was instead prioritized to these two dancing. Seriously, even with some of the obvious camera shortcuts, this dance scene is actually pretty neat to see.
- Oh you liar!
- Seriously guys, Nina running like a maniac after getting embarrassed and/or suppressing her dragon transformation isn’t funny anymore. It wasn’t even all that funny at the very start, and yet the show keeps milking it far past its expiration date.
- Okay, so I think the king is at least aware of Nina’s true nature, because why else would he be so interested in her? I’m not really sure how exactly he came to realize something is up with her, but given her frequent nude sprints around the area, he probably didn’t have to piece too much together.
- You serious Azazel? You wait until now to get her involved with your plans? How on earth were you planning to contact her to begin with? And what happens if she doesn’t show up. The holes in your plan are so big I could fit three train wrecks through them.
- Kaiser (who apparently survived his ordeal with Emil without a single scratch on him) and Azazel meet. Nothing comes from it. Next scene.
- Oh god, this plotline is not going to go well, is it?
- A whole new world! A new fantastic point of view!
Well this week broke the feeling that each episode felt like half a full-length one that got chopped to fit into Japan’s anime timeslots. Episode 6 was definitely a standalone thing. And it was so fucking boring. I’ve never been in favor of Nina’s constant blushing and horny dragon transformations. I thought they were stupidly conceived ideas that stopped being amusing two seconds after they were introduced, and at this point they’re just insufferable. Even if you take into account the king doing this on purpose, I find it hard to believe that Nina just happens to fall for the main bad guy, which will also just so happen to put a wrench in Azazel’s plans.
Really though, I’m just fed up with Nina in general. She’s like Vash the Stampede levels of annoying, completely out of place in a semi-serious environment and dragging the whole fantasy setting down whenever she’s on screen. If there’s a reason for her to be this stupid like how Hajime represents idealistic hope (and like a hundred other things that the fans love her for) in Gatchaman Crowds, please clarify so in the comments, because I’m not seeing her as any more than the fool thrown into a conflict far bigger than her, except without a personal goal to justify her as a main focus. Not that I want her to have whiny daddy issues or something retarded like that, but these constant horny attacks she suffers from is just plain dumb.
Even if I could accept all that though, there’s one other big problem that we have to take into account: nothing is fucking happening! From Re: Creators to those shitty light novel shows to all the other sequels this season (although I’m pretty sure Attack on Titan’s lack of an overarching plot is done on purpose, and by the way, I’m watching the Adult Swim dub, so no I don’t know what’s been up with the plot twists and cliffhangers as of late) to this…I can’t believe people are saying that this season is rich in quality. Okay fine, I know a lot of anime fans are binge-watching addicts who can accept slow plot progression as long as they like the characters and what they think is on the horizon, so I can believe that people like this season to an extent. And I do appreciate that the new Bahamut is trying to be different from the first one. But I can’t think of one thing in this sequel that’s an improvement from Favaro’s adventures apart from more consistent animation, which hasn’t gotten as much mileage as I’d like.
The only thing that was kind of amusing this week was the dance scene, which isn’t exactly a replacement for Bahamut’s action, but at least it was the show using its visuals for something resembling actual fun. Other than that, I’d rather sit through the sixth episodes of either season of Sound! Euphonium than sit through what’s basically the Japanese equivalent of The Legend of Korra ever again.