I shouldn’t be really surprised at this point but seeing it over and over, I can’t help but awe at Izayoi’s plot armor
And with this, the curtains close on the Pied Piper arc as well as this season of Mondaiji. Now before I give my final comments, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting that from Mandora.
What I thought to be a typical family feud or throne-grabbing setup isn’t really what was intended. He seem to genuinely cares for his sister and had the purest intentions of showcasing her strength, a symbol of his pride and love for his community. Of course, Sandora may be upset if she found out but I guess that is why this revelation is quite emotional. As Rider from Fate Zero puts it, a king needs not to fight alone. Sandora may never know what really happened but the fact that Mandora is willing to go far to stain his hands and carry the burden for his sister’s sake is something worth praising.
And now, to the main part.
What makes this series amazing isn’t just its good voice cast and absurd characters but the fact that it’s quite linear. So far, the boring elements such as character development and plot progression have been limited, causing the aspects of action and fanservice to flourish greatly.
The notion of thinking about allegiances or backstory felt quite non-existent. Perhaps because Izayoi did all the unraveling or perhaps, the direction never focused heavily in such sorts. Take for instance, this Pied Piper arc.
This arc had so many plot elements and explanations and backstory but it simply laid it bare. There’s no need to tease the viewers that much. Every mystery was solved and every intention was made clear making the viewers focus on the amazing aspect of this show: Fights.
The brawls have been the most enjoyable part of this series. Not only because Izayoi opened a can of whoop-ass each and every time, but because it was well animated and more importantly, it was insanely fictitious. Beams that turn the world to stone or smoke that insta-kills people? FUCK. THAT. SHIT.
Unlike most shounen anime/manga that attempts to realize a fictitious move/skill by explaining how physics or whatever existing force acts upon it, this series does the opposite. It vaguely explains a move by relating it to mythology then have Izayoi Imagine Break the damn thing. That’s right. Thanks to Izayoi’s fucking level of IMBA. There’s no need to bother understanding squat. No need to explain shit. If Izayoi’s fight is up, you don’t have to even listen how a technique works.
It may sound hilarious, absurd even, but it works! This approach is quite effective that I can’t really help but chuckle upon that realization. Mondaiji is one of those series that “challenges” the foundations of shounen meta. Complicated attacks based on rules and requirements that have been foundations of shounen have been existent. It was there in Dragon Ball, in Naruto, in Bleach, in One Piece but only Mondaiji was capable of ridding away that nonsense (there’s also To Aru but that shit is more of a discourse than ass kicking).
While this series is more suited to be named “Izayoi and friends”, looking at it from the perspective of the other characters, the rest of the cast balances the feel of the story.
Not to be taken quite literally though but rather, their presence implies some sort of character development and backstory on their end. If Izayoi keeps the action aspect of this series interesting, the rest of the cast, the other two problem children specifically, follows the typical template of shounen meta. For instance, Asuka.
Asuka’s perspective always involved how she’d be able to improve her abilities. To make proper use of her gift that allows her to manipulate anyone or anything. And I like this side of her story. Contrast to Izayoi who seem to have reached max level, Asuka is still leveling up her game. And this is one of the core growths of shounen anime. Heroes train a lot and improve their abilities and I like how they envisioned this characteristic in Asuka which is a frail, defenseless girl who’s only ability is to command those below her. If Asuka ought to dominate higher-level beings, she needs to work her ass off.
While I admit that I am not fond of Kusakabe’s performance, her narrative shows how she interacts with people which is yet another key component in shounen meta. The sense of alienation may be prevalent among these three problem children but Kusakabe seem to portray this more. Nothing wrong with it but developments like these really do start slow but snowball greatly later on. If there’s a second season (which I do pray for), I hope to see Kasukabe interact more openly rather than stay being reserved.
It was quite a short 10 episode series but it was damn worth it. I do hope they get funds for a second season. The seiyuu cast are amazing though I felt Megumi Nakajima was… underused(?) thanks to the soft-spoken Kusakabe. Sarah Emi Bridcut also did well voicing a pompous ojou-sama. She really stood out despite being a rookie. Hope she lands on more roles.