Big Order Episode 5
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Big Order ?
It's official. After 4 wildly uneven episodes, and whatever this week's episode was, I feel confident in saying that Big Order is a legitimately terrible show.
I try to reserve a large-scale value judgement like that until I've gotten to spend some time with a series. Some shows stumble out of the gate before picking up, and others just want to build up to a shift that will shake up their entire status quo. Shows like Steins;Gate, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni all took their time to get going, but ended up blowing me away in the long run. I feel like the 3-episode rule is a fair one to follow, and I usually try to give shorter series a full five or six episodes to prove themselves. If I've learned anything, it's that I never know when an anime will surprise me.
For the past few weeks, I've been pretty hard on Big Order, but episode 4's slight jump in quality was proof that the show could stifle its worst impulses and produce an enjoyable episode of television for at least one week. According to Crunchyroll, episode 5 officially marks Big Order's halfway point, and despite the pessimism I expressed in the last review, I went into this week hoping that the show could continue its (relative) winning streak.
Instead of providing the twenty-some-odd minutes of dumb fun it delivered so well last week, Big Order decided to double-down on everything that doesn't work, while also dredging up entirely new methods of sabotaging itself. I don't really know how else to start other than running it down from the top.
We begin with Rin in the bath, ruminating on how conflicted she feels about wanting to murder Eiji while also developing feelings for him. Given how little time they actually spent together last week, this development feels a little abrupt, while also being utterly predictable. Rin's place as a stock Yandere love interest has never been in doubt, so watching her go through the motions is honestly kind of boring.
Then Taira shows up, also naked, and she proceeds to ogle and molest Rin while our heroine schemes up new ways to murder our hero. Then, as the other female Orders provide some exposition about the girl they captured last week, Taira proceeds to ogle/molest all of them, too. The whole scene is supposed to be titillating and humorous, but it fails on both accounts. It isn't sexy because the scene is censored with shafts of light and steam, which cover so much of the screen that pretty much anything not involving the character's faces is incomprehensible. Even if that weren't the case, Taira's comments and leering demeanor come across as much creepier than I'm sure the writers intended, giving the whole sequence a layer of grossness that renders it as unfunny as it is unsexy.
After that, we rejoin with Eiji, who learns that the Orders have woken Sena from her artificially induced coma. I'll admit, I was actually a bit relieved when this happened, because it meant that maybe the show was going to develop its MacGuffin and give the plot a little bit of momentum. As it turns out, the new game plan is to send her to an Order who has the power to cure incurable diseases. Sure, this is the kind of bad writing I don't think I need to harp on much more at this point, but it also means that something is going to happen, so I was willing to run with it.
Then it's visually suggested that, shortly before leaving on his mission to find the healing Order, Eiji and his younger step-sister have sex. They might not have, but you wouldn't know that from the way she wraps her legs around his waist. The whole scene could just be an exercise in misdirection, but that doesn't make it acceptable.
Maybe Eiji and Sena did not, in fact, sleep together. A later scene even implies that Sena is an Order herself, which could indicate that Eiji wasn't entirely in control of himself. Given that Sena has repeatedly said she'd use a personal wish to cement her relationship with Eiji forever, this could actually make sense. Given my problems with the way the show has handled Eiji's power so far, this could even be an interesting twist worth exploring. Maybe Sena is canonically older than her character design and vocal performance would have you believe, which would make her having sex with her older brother at least slightly less terrible. (I'm grasping at straws here.)
However, none of that saves Big Order from falling flat on its face. Neither Eiji nor Sena's characters have been developed well enough to justify them having a sexual relationship. I don't care how many different ways the show finds to remind us that the two aren't related by blood, it simply doesn't work. At all.
The rest of the episode is the same breed of nonsense that the show usually trades in, but the sheer awfulness of the Eiji/Sena development looms over everything that follows like a noxious cloud. Rin and Eiji bonding as they search for the healing Order might be cute if it weren't for the fact that A) I still don't know how Eiji's powers are affecting Rin's thoughts and feelings, and B) Eiji might be sleeping with his younger step-sister.
The end of the episode reveals that the Big Bad who possessed Rin and forced her to try and murder the team is actually, wait for it, Eiji's father! . On any other show, this would this would just be plain old silly, but an earlier line of dialogue about Eiji's dad would seem to imply that Eiji and Sena are biologically related after all, which is just…ugh.
The only reason this episode isn't straight up getting an F is because, despite my misgivings about pretty much everything that happened in Big Order this week, the whole thing is too poorly written and embarrassing to warrant an F-level of hatred. The Sena/Eiji development is more offensive as terrible writing that it is on any moral grounds I might have. Plus, I feel like an F should be reserved for what I feel is the absolute worst the show has to offer. We still have 5 episodes to go, and I fear that the descent into the bottom of the barrel is only beginning.
By the way, Iyo's apparent phantom pregnancy is completely written off with a single throwaway line, so just forget that ever happened, I guess.
Big Order is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
James is an English teacher who has loved anime his entire life, and he spends way too much time on Twitter.
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