by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 3 of
While the first and second episodes of Plunderer were centered around introducing us to the world, our protagonist, and our heroine, the third focuses on introducing us to two more members of the main cast.
The first, Lynn is a sergeant major at a military outpost near a small village in the mountains. But while her job is technically “searching for criminals,” she instead spends her time just helping out the local population. Is a ball stuck in a tree? Is your wagon wheel stuck in the mud? Do the children need a playground? She's on the case.
In this world where most people act in a way to increase their count—and thus their social status—Lynn does all these things simply because it's in her nature to be kind and helpful. Technically, her count does increase when she helps people—but only when in the direst of situations. None of her day to day kindness raises her count at all.
The downside to her personality is that she is incredibly naive—she sees only the best in people. Moreover, her drive to help is so extreme that when she sees someone in pain—be it physical or emotional—it's hard for her to focus on anything beyond helping them
Pele, on the other hand, is all smiles on the surface but it's quickly clear that it's all an act. His comments of praise for her are all sarcastic and, once in a while, his true exasperation with her shines through in a snide comment under his breath.
The fact that she doesn't realize his disgust with her only seems to make him more annoyed—and bolder. When they encounter a wanted criminal, instead of cluing Lynn in, Pele forces her into embarrassing situations—both before and after he attempts to kill her (along with the criminal) by luring her on to a rickety bridge and shaking it.
Together, Lynn and Pele show us the best and worst of the military in this police-state. One is hard-working and kind, doing her best for the local population, the other looks down on the common man and views kindness in general as a waste.
And then there's Licht. In this episode, we find him in a new silly mask and wearing a pudding costume. Supposedly, he is depressed because he isn't popular with the ladies. However, this is obviously not the case. As we learn earlier in the episode, Lynn's count goes up only when she helps a person who is in a grave situation—life or death, basically—which being popular with the ladies is clearly not. The fact that her count does go up when she does date-like things with him implies that something is bothering him—likely to the point where he is potentially suicidal. Perhaps everything involved in his parting with Hina has affected him far more than he expected. Perhaps there are other things in his past that haunt him. Either way, getting fake, pity love—i.e., a distraction from his own inner thoughts—is genuinely helping him on a life-saving level. It's an interesting way to expand and explore the mystery that is Licht without ever explicitly talking about it.
It's just too bad it is actualized in the form of one big, long, sexual harassment joke.
Over the episode, Pele and Licht exploit Lynn's kindness towards those in pain to an extreme degree—forcing Lynn into one uncomfortable (read: sexually exploitative) situation after another in an attempt to garner cheap laughs from the viewer. Whether it's Licht trying to steal a kiss or Pele commenting on the fact that they can see her panties when she fights, the two of them act like pigs. I mean, when it comes down to it, the recurring joke is literally “look at this kind girl being forced to do sexual/romantic things she doesn't want to do.” ...And it goes on for around half the episode.
Not only does the joke go on far too long but it also does nothing to endear us to our hero—quite the opposite actually. It's almost character assassination for Licht at this point. While Pele is doing this because he actively loathes Lynn and gets some sense of twisted pleasure seeing her uncomfortable, Licht is doing the same thing—only for nothing more than his own self-satisfaction.
Coming out of this episode, I could only feel bad for Lynn—not only for being the butt of so much sexual harassment humor but also for having to be in this episode at all.
• Am I surprised that a dystopian police state's military, where the majority of members seem to be male, force female members to wear microskirts as part of their uniform? Nope.
• It's a welcome addition that the kind, ditzy girl actually turns out to be a physical powerhouse. It's a good way of separating her from Hina in our minds.
• Did anyone else notice that literally moments after a Licht steals Lynn's sword it's back on her hip? I can't decide whether this is an animation mistake or if Licht is so fast that he returned it to her waist without her—or us—seeing any movement at all.
• If your number is on your skin, how is it we can see Lynn's update if it's covered by the uniform? Is the area that updates on her uniform actually just a window to the skin beneath or do uniforms have a special feature that displays your count in real-time?
Plunderer is currently streaming on FUNimation.
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