by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Isekai Quartet ?
The very premise of this motley bunch going on a field trip to the beach held all sorts of potential for amusing shenanigans, and the execution of that trip definitely does not disappoint, with the added bonus of a little extra fanservice along the way.
Director/head writer Minoru Ashina and his crew are so thorough in mining the content for jokes that even the fanservice scenes are full of fun gags. Cocytus's effort to have the Gym Club set an example with push-ups backfires spectacularly when Tanya's male minions get distracted by Darkness' swaying breasts as she energetically does her push-ups, allowing her to use this opportunity as fodder for yet another masochistic fantasy and leading to Cocytus's great punchline: “what should I be doing here?” The following scene with Subaru, Ram, and Visha has less impact, as just a riff on how Ram refuses to name Subaru properly in a sign of ongoing disrespect, but another gem follows in the actions of the discipline committee against peeper-wannabe Kazuma.(1) We already knew that Tanya and Demiurge played well off each other, and this is further proof of their chemistry. Not all of the jokes are so obvious, though. One brief shot of the grills shows a dressed-down version of Ains in the bottom right, while Kazuma uses one of his other important skills – Steal – to win at Capture the Flag in a later shot.(2)
Of course, the main event is the Test of Courage, but that doesn't quite turn out as expected. The pairings for the test are wonderfully diverse, with Mare's gender being revealed in one amusing moment where even the girls didn't realize he was a boy. (Conspicuously, he was never shown in a swimsuit on the beach.) Visha gets a cute moment as she protests admitting that the Test of Courage wasn't scary because Tanya is scarier, but the feature team puts Aqua, Subaru, Tanya, and Ains together. Aqua shows one of her characteristic rare bursts of insight when regarding each of the others as being transplants from Earth, but that just leads to Tanya finally registering her as a goddess and thus associating her with Being X. I hadn't considered this possibility, but it's a natural extension of Tanya's situation.
Though tense at first, the scene is ultimately comedy gold. Aqua gets dissed once again for the gap between her ridiculous actions and status as a goddess, and Tanya gets another chance to chastise her underlings. Arguably the best joke could get lost in all of the onscreen text, however: Ains' observation about how calm Subaru is in the face of Tanya's power release leads him to wonder what kind of mental stress he's used to living under. When you've come back from being killed multiple times, rebuilt yourself after completely falling apart mentally, and stared down the monstrosities that Subaru has had to deal with in Re:Zero, something as meager as Tanya's power release isn't going to faze you. Ains' additional comment about how he would rank that power release in his world's terms also provides some additional insight on relative power levels.
The hits just keep on coming for Isekai Quartet, and I don't doubt that it will continue to deliver in the weeks to come.
- In Konosuba, everyone's abilities are defined by their skills, and Kazuma likes to thoroughly abuse his Stealth skill.
- He normally uses this to filch panties from female targets, so this is one of his more mundane abuses of power.
Isekai Quartet is currently streaming on Funimation.
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