Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town ?
One thing I think is working for me about LasDan is the enjoyment its characters bring. I find myself being charmed by several of them on their own terms, very specifically apart from any of the actual jokes they regularly find themselves in service of. The humor here continues to be low-key in the same manner as last episode, but the people propelling it, along with the plot it's built on, are in such effective, constant motion that I'm still entertained enough. I think it definitely helps that this episode's storyline is a lot more streamlined than the more sketch-based approach of last week; there's still a ton of things that happen, but they're more directly connected, with specific sequences to them that lead us from one silly setpiece to the next.
As I said, it's still exceedingly character-based, and that's all to the show's benefit. One major arc this episode follows Phyllo, the stoic mercenary girl I mentioned being entertained by in last week's episode. I'd previously just assumed she was affecting the 'strong, but silent' archetype, but things are made much clearer this go-around: she is specifically the dumb muscle of her team. Once that clicks into place, the character becomes even more amusing to follow, stumbling into the latter half of this episode's sitcom-misunderstanding farcical plot with all the inadvertent idiocy of Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove. She shows some of her first genuine, visible emotions of joy when she thinks she has the chance for a true warrior's showdown with Lloyd, only to pivot back to her deadpan delivery just in time for the classic ‘immediate marriage proposal’ gag when he inevitably defeats her. It's simple stuff, but just starting from the title, LasDan has been a show that understands cliches and how to maximize their appeal for an accepting audience.
That's but one example of how this episode works, and obviously there are other components of varying degrees turning with the gears of this plot. I was initially skeptical as the episode wrapped the tournament arc it had built up barely halfway into its run-time, wondering if it was then going to jump tracks to one of the other stories it had teased last week. But surprisingly, the arc from the tournament continued right along, simply transmogrified into the conspiracy of a poorly-conceived kidnapping on a farcical Fawlty Towers scale. I do feel like I need to stress that for as much as LasDan leans on knowledge of fantasy RPG tropes to maximize the enjoyment one gets out of what it's riffing, the show is, at this point, equally dependently-versed in the language of sitcom storytelling. You can see all the various coincidental points converging on Phylla's earnest abduction of a crystal ball for the stock setup they are, but it's still fun because of that dramatic irony the audience enjoys in having knowledge over all these involved characters, none of which are as clever as they think they are.
I think I let my overanalytics of cartoon comedy run away from me on that one. Perhaps I'm unnecessarily justifying how entertained I was by this episode in spite of myself. And there are still plenty of rote weaknesses to LasDan's efforts this week. Two out of the three fights in the tournament section are pretty one-note, making clear that Lloyd's effortless victories aren't even as entertaining as they were at the start. There's a reason watching him in an actual struggle in the episode's second half is far more entertaining. And any time the show tries too hard for some kind of serious plot-propulsion, it inevitably falls flat. Rol, like everyone else, gets some nebulous backstory dispensed seemingly in favor of setting up a broader story arc with a bigger bad guy for the future, but there's just nothing to it yet. Similarly, for all its utility as a passed-around plot device the past couple episodes, the Holy Sword everyone was after ends up amounting to nothing for now. However, that does result in the most meaningful aspect of this plot actually being Riho's development, making for the sole successful ‘serious’ element that actually lands and allowing me to look past those other misfires.
While I thought Riho's part in the story was glossed over too easily in the previous episode, she gets a chance to shine here instead. Sure, for all the buildup over the inherent challenges of learning healing magic, her apparently getting the hang of it off-screen within a day reads a bit cheap, but it allows for her genuinely surprising utilization of it here. I dig the revelation of her using it to seal magical items inside her body for an attack, because it shows that LasDan really can be clever with its combat when it wants to, instead of simply showing off how Lloyd has Bigger Magic than everyone else. Plus it completes a nice circuit for Riho as a character, finally obtaining the healing magic she'd originally desired, but using it in combat as has become her lifestyle to overcome the corrupt mentor who originally denied it to her. LasDan's deft usage of basic story building-blocks to mine humor from all those cliches and tropes means it also has a solid understanding of their utility in real, ‘serious’ storytelling as well.
That means this episode succeeds overall as a demonstration of LasDan working when it sticks to the basics, whether that's stock fantasy or comedy setups, spiced up with its unique brand of anime outlandishness. It even mines some new entertainment value out of putting Lloyd in combat by showing him struggle in a high-flying arm-wrestling battle against Phyllo. So there are sprinkles of originality to be seen here yet, and that keeps it fun. I feel like I just keep prattling on about how fine a time I had with this episode, but I guess that's indicative of how I think LasDan will be fine so long as it just continues doing what it's doing here.
Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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