In Another World With My Smartphone Episode 8
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 8 of
In Another World With My Smartphone ?
The first half of this episode's title is “Daily Life”. In a series that already trades in the banal actions of uninteresting characters in a fantasy world, dedicating a whole segment specifically to that waste of time is a brazen threat indeed. It all starts with Isekai Smartphone attempting another fanservice scene, and while I honestly don't want to dwell on this part, it is odd to me that Touya pointedly expresses no romantic interest in his party members, but still seems pretty keen on ogling them in various states of undress. Either the writing is inconsistent or Touya is secretly the most complicated anime character of the past decade, but I just can't get a read on this guy at all.
Thankfully, that's just the quick cold open, and the show opts to spend the next six minutes or so on bicycles. Touya, the guy who can create instant-transportation magical portals, crafts a bunch of bicycles because he thinks they'd be handy as fast transportation. As you begin to wonder if they're actually going to make us sit around and watch these fantasy anime characters learn to ride bicycles, it might start to dawn on you that one of the main ‘jokes’ of this series seems to be Touya introducing things from his world to the fantasy world with ‘hilarious’ results. The smartphone, Shogi board, guns, and now bicycles all seem to be geared around provoking humor from the dissonance of fantastical characters fiddling around with ordinary things, but apart from some unintentional comedy last episode with the guns, everyone reacts with only mild bemusement, so nothing lands as funny. This bike business might be the first instance of that element kind of coming across, as all the characters (including the Duke) racing for Touya's attention reaches for the heights of absurdity I think they're seeking.
This thread gets cut off to go into our next example of normal daily life: shooting some pickpockets in an alley to save a young girl. Honestly, this is the second time it's happened in as many episodes, and I don't think Touya just whipping out his new gun to shoot people (with rubber bullets!) as an instant solution to every problem will ever not be funny. The pacing is just so absurd on its face. Am I supposed to be laughing at the meaningless composition of this sequence, or has Isekai Smartphone finally transcended that ethereal barrier between Bad and So Bad It's Good? This bit with Touya capping a couple of idiots in a back alley was a good starting point, and I found myself chuckling more than usual at Smartphone's oblivious antics this week.
Anyway, the girl he rescues ends up becoming a maid in his mansion. It's a very short sequence, and we don't see her again for the rest of the episode after all that setup. Look, I don't want to throw accusations around, but given the show's history, it's easy to suspect that this was all in service of adding “tiny cute maid girl” to the list of Isekai Smartphone's author's fantasy possessions. The show makes a hilariously lame attempt at tugging our heartstrings with her backstory about her dad leaving to
buy a pack of cigarettes defeat a monster, but after that it checks off “little girl maid” and goes on its merry way.
The next segment is the highlight of the whole episode. Oh sure, Isekai Smartphone thinks it can pander to me by focusing on Olga and Lyon, a pair of good kids with actual romantic chemistry who I'm happy to watch play out their decently-constructed romance. And it would be right. This is less about me actually liking this plot and more just taking whatever I can get at this point. The “date spying” plotline that ensues is nothing anime hasn't done before, but Olga and Lyon are cute together (his 'Yahoo!' reaction to successfully asking Olga out is genuinely great), and the comic beats it goes through are at least funny on paper. The attempts at action is less than great as usual, and all the cuts to black this episode when we're supposed to be seeing things happen doesn't bode well for the show's already meager animation resources, but I won't worry about that now. I think I just want Olga and Lyon to get together so they can go off to a better show somewhere else.
The rest of the runtime is dedicated to setting up an actual story arc moving forward, and if it wasn't the fifth micro-story detailed in this episode, it might actually come across as ambitious. Leen returns with her apprentice Charlotte in tow to assign Touya and his team a big mission in fantasy-Japan. From what I understand, Charlotte has a bigger role in the source-material novels than her intermittent appearances in the anime would indicate, so her suddenly having a character and dynamic with Leen here makes more sense in that context. Sure, the awkward “master” and “punishment” dialogue they skirt around is rather off for the show's tone (the fanservice in Isekai Smartphone always feels at odds with the rest of its presentation), but at least there's some actual character in the delivery of these points, rather than rote explanation that people show mild interest about. Leen on the other hand hasn't progressed much, as her job still seems to be just dispensing power-ups for Touya. In this case, she removes one of the few limitations he still had by letting him teleport wherever he damn well pleases through reading people's minds.
So one magical ritual later and the party is transported to the far-off mysterious Eashen to kick off an honest-to-God story arc. Will this spell some development for Yae? Probably not, given that all these girls basically have the same personality. But hopefully a change in scenery and some narrative focus allows Isekai Smartphone to more successfully do…whatever it's trying to do next week.
In Another World With My Smartphone is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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