Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest Season 2
Episode 3

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.2

Cutting off the previous episode of Arifureta with Hajime getting blasted by a random giant laser beam was decent as far as base cliffhangers go, but let's be real, we all knew he'd be fine. He's the world's strongest, it says so right there in the title! In fact, Hajime's vaunted strength is the reason behind the big fight that takes up this episode, with a new demon dude named Freid Bagwa expositing that Hajime is just such a well-known badass at this point that the villains are specifically gunning to stop him now. The price of fame.

The upshot for us is that this means the languid cave exploration of the preceding episode now gives way to a battle that's more engaging on a moment-to-moment basis. One of the tagalong characters even gets some development, although that has the side effect of further highlighting how sparse things were on that front last week.

Resident dominated dragonborn Tio is the focus character here, and I'll talk about her in a moment. But it's worth noting that prioritizing her at all seems to have pulled Arifureta's focus so much that everyone else feels just a bit flat. There are gestures at established elements: Yue flashing back to Hajime taking a hit for her way back at the beginning of their relationship, and Hajime throwing out remarks that indicate he's quite aware of what Freid and the rest of the Demon faction are about. But so many of those little bits barely feel like garnish. They're just minor acknowledgements among a larger collection of battle banter written to make everyone sound as cool and badass in the moment as the author can manage.

Playing for maximum cool factor just seems to be the modus operandi here. The fight mostly escalates by piling on over-the-top moments: Freid shields himself with magic monster turtles riding dragons. Hajime pulls out a rocket launcher to try shooting him before he can finish casting a spell. There's a suite of floating mecha crosses that get summoned to work as a makeshift barrier. It theoretically translates to an upswing in intensity you would expect from any "Second Season."

That's only in theory, though, because the various gambits and counter-counters feel more procedural than anything else. They can't even let us believe that Freid is a genuine threat to our heroes, regardless of the unresolved nature of the fight by episode's end. His sneak attack was the only reason for his initial advantage, and prolonging that required made-up new details about how the magic volcano apparently works.

So in the midst of all this, a Tio-focused episode comes out of nowhere. With basically no preceding setup, she starts worrying about Hajime's squishy human body and has a flashback to her tragic past. It almost feels like payoff to character development she never actually got, given that getting drilled up her dragonic derriere was still the most notable thing she's done in the story (look, I don't want to mention the dragon sodomy in every review, but this is what the show keeps giving me, alright?).

But mildly unearned payoff is still payoff. It's entertaining to see Tio unleash her full power to get one over Freid's poser dragons. And they do manage to tie things into the more overarching ideas of Arifureta: the power of Hajime and friends comes from their insistence on survival. They are all, on some level, outcasts who had to band together in order to survive in the face of the indifferent in-groups that shunned them. That flashback to Tio's past thus affirms that the Dragonborn race were outcasts from everywhere.

That thematic element has always been the (comparatively, for a given value) strongest one I could pick out of Arifureta, so invoking it here is fine by me. I may get mildly annoyed by Tio's one-note masochism streak, but making it into a specific buff in a major moment for her? I'll let them have that one. Alongside other little animation flourishes this episode, it lends flavor to what's otherwise simply yet another fight. Does the episode then undercut itself a bit when it abruptly transitions to Shizuku playing with a cat for five minutes and a retread of the old plot point about Hajime's classmate who tried to kill him? Sure, but that's also a clear signal we won't be sitting in a volcano watching Hajime trade quips with demons forever, so I'll let them have that one too.

Rating:

Arifureta - From Commonplace to World's Strongest Season 2 is currently streaming on Funimation.

Chris is a freelance writer who appreciates anime, action figures, and additional ancillary artistry. He can be found staying up way too late posting screencaps on his Twitter.


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