by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Big Order ?
Since Big Order first premiered, I've seen a lot of people enjoying the series as an ironic watch, or at least a semi-ironic one. Personally, I've been happy to see that people can take Big Order's ridiculous characters and insane story in stride. I love sitting down to revel in some So-Bad-It's-Good entertainment myself. Unfortunately, so far, Big Order has remained entrenched firmly in the territory of So-Bad-It's-Difficult-To-Get-Through for me.
Until today, that is.
This isn't like episode 4, which was just an unexpectedly competent episode of television. No, this week's episode of Big Order is just as hackneyed and sloppy as the last one; in fact, it might even be worse on a technical level. Continuity errors abound, the action beats are (mostly) muddy, and the animation is probably the most stilted and lifeless it's ever been. On paper, absolutely nothing has improved from the nadir of quality that Big Order has been giving us for the past five weeks.
This week though, I saw the light. The scowl that's plastered my face since the first episode ended was transformed into a giddy grin. My frustrations with the show still absolutely stand, but they seemed so inconsequential in the face of the absolute ridiculousness unfolding before my eyes. Finally, after five episodes of mind-boggling incompetence, Big Order has broken me, finally transcending its own failures to become So-Bad-It's-Actually-Kind-Of-Incredible.
Not that it started off with much promise. As the episode opened, it became clear that this week was going to be all about Iyo's infatuation for Eiji, which was puzzling. From the moment she was introduced, Iyo has been flagged as Rin's romantic foil, but despite the obvious signposts, I was legitimately kind of baffled when she started waxing poetic about her deep love for our leading man. I actually went back to previous episodes to see if I'd missed some key scene the two shared that might explain this leap in development for their relationship. After the pregnancy cliffhanger that capped off episode 3 though, I could barely find any dialogue the two shared that wasn't directly related to exposition. The two have barely had any interaction since then, so Iyo's newfound desperation for Eiji comes out of nowhere. By the time she literally strips naked to beg for his attention, I was actually getting uncomfortable with how much the show was pushing the idea.
Then the rest of the episode happened. Kamimusubi arrived, and the lackadaisical, buxom priestess declared she would only help our heroes if they could beat her at a ball game. As Eiji and Iyo fail to best Kamimusubi, they open up to one another about their feelings. As it turns out, despite all laws of human behavior and basic storytelling dictating otherwise, Eiji might actually love Iyo back. With their doubts washed away, they proceed to take hands and, using an intricate language of subtle finger twitches, they are able to beat Kamimusibi and earn her respect.
This is, of course, ludicrous. This week though, the nonsense entertained me instead of actively repelling me. Divorcing Eiji from his odious relationships with Rin and Iyo worked wonders for my enjoyment of the show. I was able to forget about everything that makes me mad at Big Order and instead focus on embracing the lunacy. Sure, Eiji and Iyo's romance is dumbfounding, but it is easily the least offensive pairing we've been given so far. If Big Order is that desperate to build a harem subplot into its already incomprehensible plot machine, I'm at least glad to see Eiji flirting with someone that isn't his mind-control slave or younger sister.
Besides, Eiji and Iyo's new bond provided the show's main set piece, which is, without exaggeration, one of the funniest things I've ever seen in an anime. Right when they're attacked by a wet-suited surfboarding Order that can manipulate water, Eiji and Iyo discover that they can combine their Orders together to give Eiji's Domination powers the added bonus of Iyo's Future Sight. In any reasonable story, this would culminate in some kind of spectacle-driven showdown that emphasizes the godlike strength such powers would provide. Of course, Big Order is not at all reasonable, so Eiji and Iyo use their precognitive, reality-warping superpowers to pummel the man into submission with hundreds of fish.
Some other stuff happened after that. Rin reappeared, along with the other villains, and everything ended with explosions and another Big Cliffhanger. If I'm being honest though, everything else was overshadowed by the Fish Gun. I had to watch the last five minutes of the episode twice, I was laughing so hard. I know everything else that makes Big Order such a slog isn't going anywhere, so my elation probably won't last. For now, however, I'm pleased as punch. Eiji and Iyo used their love to fuse their powers together and beat up a bad guy with a bunch of fish.
Majestic messes like this make assigning a grade an exceedingly difficult task. Everything that I found so entertainingly off-the-wall this week might easily be seen as obnoxious and amateurish by someone else. You could flip a coin, with an A+ on one side and an F on the other, and either outcome would be an equally valid evaluation of the episode. Still, at the end of the day, I had more fun with this one episode of Big Order than I've had almost all season. That alone has me feeling pretty generous.
Rating: A+ levels of F
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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