In Another World With My Smartphone Episode 9
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 9 of
In Another World With My Smartphone ?
You know, I'm starting to suspect that Isekai Smartphone might not be the most well-written show in the world. As our heroes arrive in Eashen for this episode, Leen informs them that she doesn't actually know where the ruins they need to find are located. Thus the episode sees this crack team embark on a daisy-chain of quests to get in touch with someone who knows where they are, all while Touya completely forgets to just check his smartphone map to see if he can find them anywhere. This isn't the show's usual intermittent case of just forgetting about its title gimmick, as Touya whips the phone out for a variety of other uses throughout this shaggy dog story. No, in this very specific case, just to keep this needless sideplot going, a kid from our modern society manages to totally forget about Google Maps.
This is another one-plot-for-the-episode outing, so like the escort mission a few weeks back, it had the potential to at least be functional. Unfortunately, that establishing failure only sets the stage for some of the most willful avoidance of effort I've seen from this tour de force. The show's in full RPG quest-log format for most of the episode, starting with Touya's A-Team finding out they need to go to a battlefield to assist Yae's brother and father (I do find it amusing that Touya's mostly been in charge of saving people's parents in the series so far.) There's a somber tone over everything as the dire war situation is described, and then the show cuts to one of its abrupt chibi interludes, complete with upbeat music. The series doesn't even care about selling a consistent tone.
The sequence of Touya and company actually arriving to help is impressive in the lengths it goes to in order to avoid anything cool actually happening. The powers and abilities of all the girls are summarily dismissed as not useful in this situation so Touya can solo-teleport in to figure out how he can win on his own. Then he singlehandedly wipes out a whole army of zombie soldiers with a few screen-taps (told you they hadn't forgotten about the phone). Now I'm sure you're wondering why the artists crafting this masterpiece would pass up on the spectacle of a large-scale zombie battle, and don't worry, it's all so they'd have more time to sit around explaining manifold political plot points that we don't care about.
I'm not even trying to disparage the show's sudden backstory infodump because it's boring (though it is), but the feuding lords and backstabbing assistants revealing all their supposed plot twists are people we don't know, so the audience is left with meaningless names being thrown out as we struggle to grasp why anyone is supposed to care. In the end, Touya, Leen, and some ninja named Tsubaki that we just met head over to the enemy's capital to rescue them because it turns out they were actually friends, I guess.
After being around for two episodes, Leen finally gets to do something besides just function as Touya's DLC shop. Using one of her own spells for once, she turns her and Touya invisible (why Tsubaki can't be included isn't explained), and it turns out the lack of cool battles was in service of saving some airtime for that always-appreciated Isekai Smartphone fanservice! I really do not want to harp on the fanservice any more than I already have, since it's just become a thing the show throws out once-per-episode at this point, and at least it's one of the few things they try to animate well. And god forgive me, Leen's cheap blaming of Touya for the invisible groping of Tsubaki did manage to elicit a chuckle from me; it was just one notch more clever than I was expecting the show to be. Lucky for Tsubaki, she doesn't appear to be a permanent cast member.
The rest of the episode is more exercises in anti-climax. The ‘defeat the army in an instant’ sidestep is repeated again, cheating us out of another chance to see a cool fight. Everything Touya's strike force accomplishes (even with the rest of the cast missing) happens so effortlessly, it's like the opposite of how a story is supposed to work. By the end of this episode, I'd genuinely started to wonder if the author had been trying to write a parody this time. There's a stiff standoff with a possessed samurai-armor lord that the other characters can't bring themselves to attack, which Touya ends immediately by shooting him in the face (good news: the gun is still funny!), and it's actually punctuated with a lame one-liner like the end of a Bond movie. Then the main bad guy's immortality gem is stolen and shattered by Touya without even moving, and he just dies on the spot without any fighting. It's all such an affront to dynamic storytelling that it's actually inches away from being an effective comedy, if only it seemed like they were actually trying to be funny. Or trying at all.
I'd almost feel bad for kicking this show's corpse any more, but this really was one of the dumbest episodes of Isekai Smartphone to date. Its whole premise only existed because Touya forgot about his primary power, and then it led us on a wild goose chase avoiding anything exciting happening the whole way, not even making the detour worth our time for entertainment's sake. A whole new setting had the chance for a whole new Smartphone, but so far, they've utterly wasted it.
In Another World With My Smartphone is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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