KonoSuba 2 – 06

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KonoSuba 2 is again in top-form this week, starting with a wonderful domestic scene of Darkness and Megumin trying to force Aqua to go outside with them, but she doesn’t wanna. She tries to deflect by calling them kids (even though she’s acting more like one herself) then wonders why they won’t ask Kazuma instead. Kazuma is relaxing under his kotatsu…wait, kotatsu? In this wonderful, alternate world? What gives?

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Vanir, as it happens, isn’t dead. He merely lost an extra life, and now he’s Vanir II. I got a big laugh out of that, and Vanir’s constant posing and amusingly over-the-top monologues. It wouldn’t be the first or the last of this episode, though the fact he and Kazuma are in business making items from his “homeland” (like said kotatsu) is an interesting angle, it’s not lingered on long.

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Once he finally deigns to emerge from his cave, Kazuma heads to the weaponsmith to collect the weapon he comissioned: a katana. He also tries on some impressive full plate armor, but can’t move in it, and any attempts to look cool result in knocking other swords down, or whacking the side of the door.

He then has to give his sword a name, and of course all the usual famous sword names enter Kazuma’s head – Masamune, Muramasa, Kotetsu, etc. He lets his guard down, and Megumin unilateraly brands the sword Chunchunmaru, in keeping with her usual moe naming style.

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His sword thus named, the quartet strikes out on a quest—I believe the first non-dungeon quest they’ve undertaken at full strength. There’s a certain triumphant quality to seeing the four out their, under the big blue sky, running their checklists and making sure they’re prepared to take on the vast group of Lizard Runners they’re tasked with taking out.

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Naturally, any enemy in KonoSuba that is described as being “trampling” in nature will, ultimately, end up trampling upon one or more of Kazuma’s party, or indeed himself. I got a kick out of Aqua’s too-late advice and too-soon rash magic that brings the herd straight to their location. The lizards themselves were also hilariously twitchy and neat.

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Kazuma manages to snipe the “Princess Runner” all the others follow, but when she lands she knocks him off the tree and he hits the ground hard. The injury is bad enough to land him in the hereafter with Eris, who he confirms is the true heroine of his story, if only he could spend more time with her.

He tries to do just that, but before long the voice of Aqua permeates the realm, getting increasingly worried and upset Kazuma won’t wake up. Darkness and Megumin also chime in, with the latter doing something to his body that leaves him no choice but to return to them. Maybe he’ll see Eris when she “sneaks out” one day? Probably not.

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Everyone is clearly very glad Kazuma is back, underscoring the familial bond the four share, despite (or because of) all their bickering and sniping.

And that ‘something’ turns out to be labelling his dick “The Holy Sword Excalibur”, which he doesn’t realize until he takes a bath back home. In his shock he runs out to find Megumin, and loses his towel, leading to the priceless reaction shot of Aqua you see above.

This week delivered laughs both clever and dumb from start to finish. I daresay KonoSuba has fully re-attained my interest, and I’m looking forward to what’s to come next week.

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Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon – 06

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The Gist: Amidst the Spring rain, four dragon x human couplings blossom. Riko, whose older sister is also a maid-otaku, invites Kana and company over for a playdate. While Kobayashi and Riko’s sister bond over maids (and Tohru feels left out), Riko introduces Kana to Twister and, as their loli bodies entwine, Kana introduces Riko to lust.

Kana’s objectives are a little vague here. She knows her strengths make her popular in class, but it doesn’t feel like the friendship she see’s between Kobayashi and Tohru. However, she doesn’t seem entirely invested in Riko, dspite Riko offhandedly saying she would gladly marry Kana, and despite Kana mounting Riko and pinning her to the floor…

dragonmaid6_4Ah Twister, the loli’s gateway into awkward Yuri action…

The entire Kana x Riko section is played for laughs, which is a little creepy considering the laughs are about proto-sexual interactions between elementary school-age children, but not nearly as creepy as Lucoa’s relationship with Magatsuchi Shouta

Shouta is the descendant of mages and about Riko’s age. While trying to summon a demon, he ended up summoning Lucoa, who is now living at his house, taking baths with him, and sleeping with him clutched in her arms. How his parents are not involved in this is unclear and beside the point. What is clear is that Lucoa’s only value to him is her physical body, and no matter how much she rubs her breasts in his face, he doesn’t even want that.

Like Kana x Riko, this section is played for laughs. We’re supposed to find it funny that Lucoa, who is the level-headed dragon, is flustered by her lack of value to her partner. We’re also supposed to find it funny that a mature woman is making sexual advances on a young boy, who is obviously aroused by it but has no tools to cope except to call her names and shout objections. In short, we’re supposed to find child molestation acceptable, if not funny, because of the gender norms in play. Nice!

dragonmaid6_1Lolz a clueless sexual predator won’t leave this little boy alone lolz / wtf?!

The final section is devoted to Fafnir and Takiya, which is book-ended by KanaKobayashi and Tohru enjoying the rain. While Fafnir and Takiya are naturally awkward characters, this section is anything but.

They have a routine, if sorts, with the day starting and ending with Takiya making meals for them to share, and lots of online gaming in between. I love that Fafnir always asks if the flavor is ‘mild,’ no matter what type of dish is served. I love that they are making a game together and are planning to sell it at Comiket. I love that their relationship is almost completely inverse of Tohru x Kobayashi.

But what really sells it as a complete and interesting set of scenes is the tiny amount of time we actually spend in Fafnir’s head. He sees humans as hit or miss and finds the amount of effort to decide if a person is a hit too much. He’d rather limit his exposure to the easy misses—the humans who raid his lair for gold—than put himself out there. Except, without explaining what he means, he tells Takiya a hit and lets Tikiya call him Faf-kun.

That added a charming layer to what would otherwise be disposable side-character antics.

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The Verdict: Episode 6 presents a significant challenge in the ratings department. While Fafnir x Takiya’s story provided an unusually thoughtful, well paced experience, and Tohru x Kobayashi’s time watching the rain had a similar effect, the overall experience was just ‘watchable.’

Additionally, I respond poorly to the use of sexualization for exploitation’s sake, and this week’s Kana x Riko and Lucoa x Shouta used it for even less. Introducing Shouta this late in the season with no clear purpose doesn’t help things either.

In the grand scheme of things, those scenes didn’t make the episode hard to watch, though I would argue it did make it worse. Worse and I suspect they will become a recurring theme for some reason, which greatly reduces my interest in reviewing it.

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