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Handyman Saitō in Another World
Episode 11

by Christopher Farris,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Handyman Saitō in Another World ?
Community score: 4.5

The diversification of Handyman Saitou's character portfolio has been a selling point of the series since its beginning. Even though a singular dude and his gimmick are right there in the title, Saitou has hardly been the full focus of the series, with the whole of the Another World routinely filling out the stage. This eleventh episode alone devotes its opening minutes to explaining the backstory of the double-sided duo demon the characters got to fighting last episode, filling out the series' "Everyone has a story" thrust as well as demonstrating a somewhat twisted take on the theme of "family" which has driven this odd-yet-epic little arc. But even covering all those corners, as we did in the previous storyline, we once again arrive at Morlock of all people being the anchor of both the emotional and action-oriented segments.

Whether that's because this story is in fact Morlock's last hurrah (which is still left a little uncertain by the end of this one) or because author Kazutomo Ichitomo had fully committed to the idea of the old wizard actually being the coolest dude to have ever lived, who's to say. Morlock has a whole bunch of lore tying directly into the fibers of this world, as well as some of his own still-technically-unresolved issues, which are really only loosely alluded to as he goes all-out in what winds up being another Big Fight Episode for Handyman Saitou. That's fine, actually. Morlock's baggage was really only compelling enough in that last arc, with the more focused family theming for this one coming off more tangible. Okay, his whole thing in that previous storyline also was about family, but there's a difference between that manifesting as a tragically deceased daughter we hadn't heard about before, and seeing it embodied instead in characters like Saitou and Raelza where the show has really done the legwork to make us care about them and their relationship.

They're also just coming off as compelled to give Morlock more to actually do, showing how strong he is when his incantational abilities are unchecked by memory issues and power limiters. There have already been multiple new looks for the old guy over the course of the past few episodes, including his straight-up skeleton status and the zombification levels in between. So this one adds a version with adorable doggy ears and tail, and later a temporarily youthful version. And while part of me wants to reflexively request that they never show me Hot Morlock ever again, there's another part that can't help but appreciate the fulfillment of him, at last, managing to rewind time, after a fashion, to save the family he has now, as he had previously wished to do.

That feels like it would be an effective place for Morlock's life journey to end here after this clearly titled "Final Battle." Him expending his replenished life force not just at the behest of others in his family, but the demon dog's family as well, makes for a clear reversal of his selfish pursuits which set him on this path so long ago (which he can't even actually remember at this point). And as predicted, it makes the case for his tacit wing manning of Saitou into his daughter's hand in marriage, letting him unambiguously refer to the handyman as his "Son" and solidify the parallel with the hunting dog's own puppy progeny.

Even with those chewier themes baked in, Handyman Saitou still makes time to go off on an episode with "Battle" right in the title and squeeze in more of its fun irreverent indulgences. The magic spell sequences sell the central mechanics of incantation speed in a way that's compelling for fights, and there are more Morlock show-offs as part of his possible bow-out here, like letting him summon a golem mecha Stand. As I said, they're really trying to make the old guy as cool as possible. Though not too cool, since we get very brief silly asides involving his temporary puppy play goofiness, or punctuating the battle with the wolf puppy itself dramatically communicating via largely rendered Dog Subtitles. It's the sort of tonally clashing concept that only a show like Handyman Saitou could get away with.

All this going on does mean that the episode mostly just forgets about Gibungle, even though you might think his past connection to Morlock or interactions with his own beloved doggy companion might make him a natural fit for integration into this story. Similarly, throwing Franlil and Ninia into the fight at the last minute is appreciated, I think they're cool. But their inclusion is superficial as the story still barrels ahead with only Morlock focused on, the likes of Saitou and Raelza even reduced to props capping off his emotional arc.

Cramming all that in results in an ending that seems to be trying to punctuating and emotional, but comes off just a bit abrupt as it runs out of time. I'm left rather anticipatedly waiting to see what kind of coda the series will follow up with for its (presumably final) episode next week since that will likely define the feeling this latest Morlock indulgence is supposed to leave us with. That might be the final say overall on Handyman Saitou as well, a series that started weird and developed even more weirdly. I still don't feel like I have a solid handle on it, even though we're nearly at the end, but I've mostly enjoyed the journey getting there.


Handyman Saitō in Another World is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitter, and irregularly updating his blog.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.

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