In Another World With My Smartphone
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 4 of
In Another World With My Smartphone ?
I guess I need to issue an addendum. It turns out that those unique-looking demi-humans from the beginning of last week's episode did turn out to be important after all. The older one turns up as an ambassador in the first of this episode's multiple mini-plots, and while she still doesn't really do anything other than exist in proximity to what's going on, she's still present. Why was it important to this story that she meet Touya beforehand? Maybe that gripping plot point will be tackled in next week's episode.
Instead, in seeming retaliation for my now-standard gripe of Isekai Smartphone lacking an actual plot, this one hits the ground running with a story of Touya being rushed off to heal the Duke's brother, the King, from a poisoning attempt. That plotline is resolved in about five minutes, so a succession of loosely-connected stories can tumble forth through the rest of this episode's runtime. Unfortunately for the show's apparent simplistic belief in this path to success, more things happening definitely doesn't equal more quality.
That premier poisoning plot is packed with predictable problems from the word go. We're immediately introduced to a Count who is definitely not the real villain (you can tell by the scary strings that start up behind him and his trustable smirking face), and after Touya's healed the King with Recovery (as some court mage character explains to us what Recovery magic is for at least the third time), he sets about solving the mystery of the attempt on the ruler's life, and of course it's the Count. It's like an episode of Detective Conan where he didn't even have to try.
Touya doesn't really encounter problems in his life so much as run into incidents that other people are having so he can instantly fix them and endear himself to them. Every woman in the royal court starts blushing and falling all over themselves once he heals the King, which leads to the baling wire holding this shaggy haypile of an episode together: the Princess of the kingdom, having known Touya for a whole four hours, announces her desire to marry him! And she's twelve!
Up to this point, the god-mode wish-fulfillment of Isekai Smartphone was pretty harmless, if also shameless. But we had to cross a line at some point, and predictably, this is it. Even Touya is taken aback by Princess Yumina's proposal, finally managing to display an emotion stronger than mild bemusement. It's all good though, because the girl's father happily explains that getting married at twelve is perfectly fine thing in this totally credible fantasy world. If the absurd gifts of strength, magic, and unlimited night and weekend minutes weren't enough, Touya now has state-sanctioned pedophilia on his side. Even God calls him up to encourage him to bang a twelve-year-old girl! They also slip in that the relationship standard in the world is polygyny (not polygamy mind you, but very specifically polygyny: one dude taking multiple wives only). So hey, at least the show has launched headfirst into territory gross enough that I can finally take it to task without feeling like I was being too hard on it.
Thankfully, Isekai Smartphone does a lot more in this episode to reinforce that it is a dumb show. To his credit, Touya does try to bring up the point that Yumina barely knows him enough to marry him, but that gets handwaved away by revealing that her heterochromia gives her ‘mystic eyes of intuition’ that let her see into someone's soul and judge their character. (You have to assume she just wasn't paying attention all those times she talked with the Count who tried to poison her dad.) After that, the rest of Touya's groupies meet his new fiancée, they run through the ‘mild bemusement’ slate of emotions I expect from this show, and we spend some time watching them go on a Guild mission where they murder a bunch of monkeys for some reason. This part does reveal Yumina's summoning magic, but there's no style or flair to it; her wolf familiars just lazily slide into frame. Other than an odd shift toward the hyperviolent as the pack beheads and dismembers the apes, this chunk is the same weightless routine I'd become used to from Isekai Smartphone before it detoured into this episode's three-car-pileup of pandering. The show just trundles along, happy to exist until it fills up its time slot. At this point in the episode, we're up to maybe four separate plotlines, which you have to assume these worked better as light novel chapters.
And it's not even over there! We get another tacked-on sequence afterwards, where Touya learns summoning magic from Yumina and quickly forms a pact with the highest class of beast available because of course he does! For a brief moment, it looks like he might have to prove his worth in some magic-tiger-fight or something, but no, he just pets the kitty and it's all his. That's the biggest plot twist of the episode: Touya's team of tagalongs now has their mascot, but it's not that teddy bear from the intro.
There's almost a sense of effort to things this week for once, but given the absurdly poor execution of everything that happens in this episode, it effectively acts as a monkey's paw for anyone who wished Isekai Smartphone would develop an actual plot. There's still no weight or meaning to anything that's going on, but now we've got additional whiplash from the sheer number of pointless things happening one after the other. I'll take Touya cranking out shogi boards again next week if it means I don't have to deal with God calling him up and telling him to build a harem of preteens.
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