Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town
by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town ?
Given my disparaging of LasDan's laborious setup of its latest story last week, I guess I can't complain too much when it turns out to only last for one more episode. Indeed, for all its seeds and saplings planted over the course of the preceding half-hour, this one's much more interested in the payoff it can mine in the forms of various gags and farcical indulgences. It also ends up prioritizing humor and entertainment at the expense of its own overt story in a way I ended up appreciating. Don't worry, I'll get on explaining my takeaway on all the various bits of this entry, but mostly I was just amused at how it came off as a course-correction after only two episodes. On the other hand, maybe the show laying that much foundation for payoff punchlines that ended up being mostly just okay still isn't the best sign of its resource management.
Even amongst all its hotel hijinx and treant trifles, LasDan still decides to make time for other kinds of stock shenanigans, such as opening with that most hallowed of romance-comedy institutions: The fake dating plot. Lloyd and Selen seemingly going along with the arranged-marriage interview from the previous episode mostly comes off as a vehicle for Selen to get continued mileage out of her Lloyd-lusting bit, with some tonally-disparate nods to her belt backstory and Lloyd's inferiority complex. It's not really anything new, though it does seem to be here at the behest of clarifying later in the episode that Selen's love for Lloyd as well as her father is a truly heartfelt sentiment from her. I can appreciate that as a way to bring a character like Selen down closer to earth, who might come off as overtly ridiculous too much of the time otherwise.
But despite making that focus the basis for the title of this episode, LasDan apparently tires of the fake-dating plot almost as quickly as it introduces it. Instead it just moves onto a succession of slightly-sexy pratfalls, first with a ‘massage’ bit continuing Kikyou's demon-sapling misunderstanding from last week, followed by conspicuously bringing in nearly every female character so far for an indulgent bathing scene. The former is kind of funny, mostly carried by all the entertaining flourishes from Selen as she crashes what turns out to be a surprisingly raunchy rub-down. Marie still doesn't have much to do this episode, meaning Selen's reactions and face game have to step up to carry the comedy quotient. Her belt also continues to be an element the animators on this show are clearly having fun with; the way it acts as a semi-sentient censor in the bath scene at least slightly elevates what would be a much more rote segment otherwise.
However, it's at this point, right as the treant plot is being explained to us again, that the show suddenly leapfrogs itself in a way I can't really complain about, but must still acknowledge as oddly-accelerated. Minoki, secretary to Threonine who straight-up admits that no one remembers him, abruptly appears before Kikyou and blurts out his sole responsibility for every element of the treant scheme. Given the sheer number of parts that we were presented with previously, revealing them all to be briskly orchestrated by this one guy, with barely a motivation beyond apparently wanting to make Threonine look bad, feels like the show suddenly getting tired of dragging out its own plot and spontaneously deciding to wrap things up here. Admittedly it does work with the show's sense of anticlimax, with Kikyou shrugging off Minoki's explanation halfway through his speech because it doesn't jibe with the farcical Lloyd-focused part of the plot she's become fixated on.
The other issue at this point is that LasDan kind of repeats itself for a moment here, going through the same motions of Lloyd being oblivious to a villain's nature, right down to him thinking he's just wearing a costume again. There's a fine line between effective repetition of a gag and just running it into the ground. The thing is, the series does figure out how to propel itself somewhat progressively as the action escalates, with Marie actually giving Lloyd a clue as to what's going on, resulting in an appreciable step forward for him. This is a fun new punchline: Lloyd thinking he only just actually beat a monster for the first time, and attributing it mostly to the assistance of his friends besides. It fits with the progression of his character and finds a way for him to move forward from simply wallowing in that faux-inferiority. If these characters are mostly going to exist as vehicles for jokes, I'll prefer to see them provide new jokes occasionally.
It all makes for an episode I was mostly fine with. It was definitely more interesting and entertaining than the previous one. I just don't know if it was worth all that setup, especially as the payoff here was specifically at the expense of how little we were actually supposed to care about the plot. It makes me question the series' overall priorities, with characters like the mysterious Shoma dropping in on this one to lay down more cryptic potential beats for later. I'm therefore becoming less interested in the long-term implications of what those supposed story elements will be, and more just checking my watch until they subvert it with some goofy anticlimax. The most I could hope for is that the result is at least kinda funny.
Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town is currently streaming on FUNimation Entertainment.
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