Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! ?
It's nice when a show and I are on the same wavelength. I needed a break after the three episodes of intermittent downer drama that was the previous arc of Average Abilities, and the characters themselves agree at the beginning of this one. It's time for a vacation as only super-powerful adventurers can give themselves, and a reminder that low-stakes faffing about is something I think this show is above-average at. Just being able to chill with her friends is still Mile's primary goal here, after all. Though we are also clearly gearing up for another major story arc by the end of this episode, so it's just generally important to have some pure levity for breathing room in-between.
So to answer this usual question when it comes up in shows like this: What do these average adventurers do on their day off? Rather than spend its entire time-slot on separate vignettes, the series wisely only affords a few minutes apiece to the characters on their own in their downtime. Pauline balances the checkbook. Mavis takes in a cafe's atmosphere while nearby girls take in the view she provides. And Reina shows off her cute side shopping for accessories. Reina is notable in that dialogue in this episode acknowledges how she got put through the emotional wringer recently, but still lets her engage in just as much endearing silliness as everyone else. And compared to that previous melodrama, seeing her perform goofy asides like impersonating her party members or going shopping with Lenny is a welcome relief.
But of course Mile is the main one we're following here, and coming off the previous weeks, it's kind of a revelation to be reminded how well she works once she's re-centered as the focal character in less serious circumstances. It's to the point that, in hindsight, the previous arc's tonal problems could be blamed on focusing too much on Reina, whereas Mile is just a significantly more uplifting, endearing presence. The episode even parlays her portion of the goofy time-wasting into showing off some central-conceit character development: Mile initially makes the oddly depressing boast of being excellent at wasting time by herself owing to a previous lifetime spent without friends. But after just a few minutes, she realizes how accustomed she's become to the presence of her party members, and can't come up with anything she really wants to do alone. It's not treated as a major revelation just halfway through the episode, rather a natural checkpoint on the path Mile's character has treaded so far. Plus the whole scene is cute and funny and an example of the kind of content I think this otherwise-average show actually excels at.
The second half of the episode is a less-understated, more typical take on anime downtime: The beach episode! The big driving joke here is that, absent her friends pushing for it or even knowing what it is, Mile takes it upon herself to create her own frollicking fanservice-fest. There are a few moments in the setup that are a bit eyebrow-raising, like Mile's overt enthusiasm for measuring her friends and putting them in modern-world-style swimsuits, but mostly tows the lines of taste. The real idea, of course, continues to be Mile ‘making up’ for missing out on the experiences of her Earth-born youth, though in this case there's a mild commentary on how some of your perceptions can be warped when you only know things from anime and manga. It's probably the most overt genre commentary Average Isekai has engaged in so far, and it's not even its primary genre! But it's still an amusing-enough aside on the expectations we have for how anime girls play at the beach, and another notch in the show's belt for demonstrating how the ‘fantasy’ of an isekai situation varies depending on the person. It's also another case where the slightly unique setup is a boon: In a more traditional male-led show, things might seem skeevier about the guy pushing to place all his party members/prospective love interests in swimsuits. But Mile here is solely doing this out of a desire to fulfill the hallowed quirky cliches she grew up on in lieu of real friends. That adds a bit more charm.
Its average abilities have been outstripped by its ambitions more often than it needs lately, so a low-key episode like this reminded me exactly what I found charming about this series early on. It's a nice, pleasant episode that fits in with themes and concepts it's been pushing, making points in character development without having to tug too hard on our heartstrings. It's definitely a bit slight and slow in places, and it's easily the most simplistic the show has looked, animation-wise, in a while. But I was less bothered than I might be otherwise, because the few things it was doing, it was doing with successful confidence.
Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
discuss this in the forum (31 posts) |