Isekai Quartet 2
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Isekai Quartet 2 ?
It's the week of Valentine's Day, so naturally we're going to have a Valentine's Day-themed episode, right?
Okay, so maybe it's not so natural a choice for an isekai series, but I can perfectly understand why director/writer Minoru Ashina couldn't pass up on this opportunity. After all, the joke potential here is huge, especially when the person most likely to get the most female attention is someone who can't even ingest any chocolate that he's given. Add to that all of the people present who don't fully understand the concept, all the implied potential romances that are one-sided, and all of the potential for misunderstandings involving the very Japanese concept of “obligation chocolate” and you have all sorts of potential for chaos. Indeed, some of the characters (including especially Kazuma) even get in on the action by making a fool out of Weiss over the proper way to ask for chocolate from a girl; I'm not sure that he ever got it in the end, even with Tanya telling him that he'd been lied to, but the dedication behind his attempt was magnificent.
The real genius move here is bringing Betelgeuse, one of the boss villains of the first season of Re:Zero, into the picture as either a teacher or interloper. For those not fully familiar with Re:Zero, this is an inspired choice because Betelgeuse was always preaching about his horribly twisted interpretation of love – and yes, his behavior here is not at all a parody but the way he actually acts in his source series. (In fact, I'd even say that he's toned down a bit here.) In an odd way, him achieving a meeting of the minds with resident yandere Albedo seems wholly fitting, even down to the way that both characters are known for their extreme facial expressions. He was creepy as hell in his original series, but somehow fits perfectly here. A couple of added touches concerning him: the giant handprints visible in the pavement when he's kicked out by Sebas come from the psychic arms he can project, and the surprise of his appearance is enhanced by the fact that the opener's visuals were altered slightly to include him for the first time. That means that future openers also bear watching to see who else might pop up.
Not enough can be said about the wonderful alternate closer, either. The acoustic guitar-driven song is a great tune on its own, but the alternate visuals offer all kinds of juicy morsels. Picking a favorite there is difficult; the Tanya troopers bowing before Beatrice, Victoria and Weiss salivating over the armful of chocolates Yunyun is carrying, all the chocolate that Chris got, the weapon dealer from Re:Zero running the chocolate shop, or Ram giving chocolates to Roswaal are all good, but I'm going to go with Tanya giving chocolates to a very surprised-looking Rerugen. That's all kinds of wrong on all kinds of different levels. It also marks the first appearance in three episodes of The Rising of The Shield Hero's representatives, even if only as a cameo.
I haven't felt that the humor value was as strong as it could be over the last couple of episodes, but it is back here in force. This was maybe the season's most entertaining episode so far.
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