TenSura – 38 – In Conference

Holey moley, I hope you like people sitting around either introducing themselves talking about stuff that’s already happened, or planning what’s going to happen next, you’re gonna love this episode. MAL clearly does! As for me, it left me fairly cold, in contrast to last week’s warmer, more familial atmosphere.

We start with the return of Kagurazaka Yuuki, still flipping through the manga Rimuru made for him, who is hanging with Kagali, formerly the Demon Lord Kazaream now in a new Elven body, and Laplace, member of the most annoying bunch in all TenSura, the Harlequins. I honestly forgot the guy, but he and his friends have plans for “the squishy one”.

Speaking of His Squishiness, Rimuru commences a great meeting under a big gazebo that resembles the meeting where the Fellowship was forged in Rivendell. As if admitting there are just too many damn people at the meeting, both Dwargo and Elalude have a private meeting with Rimuru in his office, after learning Veldora Tempest is now free and has human form.

Rimuru explains everything that happened since he was reincarnated as a slime and met Veldora, and both leader decide they’ll back Rimuru’s play. After all, he’s essentially a Demon Lord and BFF to the Evil Dragon; if it were my kingdom, I’d probably hitch my wagon to Tempest too!

With that settled, the meeting moves back outside, but switching the setting back and forth doesn’t change the fact that this is an interminable episode. There are some interesting notions brought up here and there, but at the end of the day it’s all talk. The only action is recycled from previous episodes, like Rimuru’s battle with Hinata, which only serves to remind us what TenSura is capable of when its not dragging its feet.

This method of slowly, deliberately building up the stakes and having long meetings to discuss What Must Be Done is absolutely nothing new to the series. It’s always a little sluggish out of the gate. I was almost ready for a little nap when Ramiris splatted on the glass gazebo roof, then approaches Rimuru to warn him that his capital is “doomed to fall”.

I’m not under any illusions this will suddenly lead to an action-packed third episode—it will probably start with Ramiris elaborating while everyone stands around and listens—but it is at least something.

The Duke of Death and His Maid – 02 – Moonlight Waltz

The third member of Bocchan’s family, Rob, makes his first appearance, and proves to be your typical jovial, dependable old butler who might just be a bit long in the tooth for the strenuous work of maintaining a mansion. Even so, he gives it the old college try, which incidentally leaves Alice with little to do but toy with her beloved duke.

She eventually agrees to behave herself and sit quietly as Bocchan plays some of the new piano piece he’s working on, which is indeed both somber and beautiful. Alice’s rush of emotion during the piece precedes the good duke telling her he composed the piece for her; as a reward she leans in to kiss him, her lips stopping only an inch from his.

Bocchan may be relatively content with Alice and Rob, but a member of his original family does come to visit him now and again, treating it like a special service and act of welfare on her part, but visiting him nonetheless.

Viola (Minase Inori in Adorable Squeaky Mode) may not be as overtly honest as Alice about how she feels about her brother—she wants him to break the curse so he can return home—but it’s clear that unlike her mother she does care.

When a black cat appears in the mansion, Bocchan is terrified, not because he’s scared of cats but because he’s scared of killing it if it touches him. So he runs from the cat, Rob mistakes him for the cat, and Alice makes much of the fact the cat tore her dress in just such a way.

They find a note with that cat—”Forgive Me”—that Bocchan takes to mean it was abandoned, as he was. As for me, I wondered if that black cat wasn’t sent by the witch as a messenger; maybe the curse wasn’t intentional? It would explain why it was cast upon a five-year-old boy who no one had reason to curse.

The pièce de résistance of the outing is the ending, as Alice finds Bocchan in the deserted ballroom and the two dance inches from one another under the gorgeous, massive full moon, a scene lifted from a storybook. Like the music Bocchan composes, it’s sad, beautiful, and with just enough of a touch of hopefulness.