Isekai Quartet 2
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Isekai Quartet 2 ?
Throughout Overlord, Momonga demonstrated that he may have some strategic skills but is far from being the most intelligent person around. Hence him not having a very advanced education makes sense. Still, according to this, he never finished middle school? That seems incongruous with him being a salaryman (even if just an ordinary one), as that nomenclature indicates someone who has joined a company out of college. Is this just a translation quirk, or is there some detail I'm forgetting out here which is relevant? Otherwise this seems like a significant inconsistency for a series which has otherwise done an impressive job of keeping its details consistent with its source settings.
Regardless of what's going on there, Momonga's secret lack of being a caliber student is part of him unwittingly stumbling into a test score challenge against Aqua. While Aqua hardly represents an academic threat, having to put on a good face for underlings which regard him as infallible, and others like Tanya who have a high opinion of him, is nonetheless a significant stress point for the inwardly-unconfident supreme ruler of Nazarick. And hey, a test just happens to be coming up, too!
While a few snappy exchanges are involved in this and a later study session featuring members of the Re:Zero cast, this is all kind of slow burn with only a low level of humor value; the one true chuckle comes when Ains' aura, which overwhelms just about everyone else, doesn't faze the dimwitted Aqua in the slightest. The other little treat here is that Chris (from KONOSUBA) and Felt (from Re:Zero) both make their first appearances of the season, where they share a meeting of the minds because of being fellow thieves. One reference which I couldn't quite place also comes up: Beatrice's observation about Subaru not remembering a previous study session with Emilia and Rem. I can't think of what she's referring to here.
Fortunately the lackluster first few minutes were all just a set-up for the first of the two major jokes of the episode: what happens when Ains uses the top-tier spell Time Stop with the intent of cheating and discovers that he isn't the only one unaffected. Who all else resists it makes sense: Aqua is a genuine goddess, Tanya's encounters with Being X were all part of time stoppages, and Subaru is a bit disconnected from normal time due to his Return by Death ability. What's inspired about it is that this weird commonality actually occurred to someone on the creative team. Aqua messing with Kazuma with the pencils makes for an amusing add-on, too. The finishing move in the atypical epilogue at the end – that a gridded test created by the screwball Pandora's Actor would grid out to create a dot picture of his face – and how that ironically worked to Ains' advantage was also a sputter-worthy touch. Another significant note is that this is the second straight episode without a Shield Hero team appearance. Guess an earlier announcement that they would be appearing in five episodes is looking more and more accurate.
So the lesson learned here is that if the jokes don't seem to be coming together right away in an episode of this, just give it time. They will eventually.
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