The Day I Became a God
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 6 of
The Day I Became a God ?
Gotta say, The Day I Became a God, it's a real bold move to wait six weeks to have your first legitimately good episode, especially when you're only working with a dozen total. I don't know if you can afford to be taking the long-running shonen approach to storytelling, guys, but at least I feel better about where this story might be going now.
Snark aside, “The Day of the Festival” is genuinely the strongest version of this show so far, both in comedy and drama. For one, there's no central wacky scheme or supernatural shenanigans driving the plot down a sitcom shaped tunnel. Instead the bulk of this episode is just Yota and his friends (and the mahjong lawyer lady, for some reason) going to their local summer festival and acting like some approximation of actual teenagers. They play carnival games, hit up the haunted house, try horribly unhealthy fried foods, and just generally have a good time together. It's not only way more grounded than previous setups, but also the first time most of these characters have seemed to actually enjoy being around one another. Heck, for the first time in this whole show I actually enjoyed seeing Izanami and Yota together – turns out a good way to make your teenage romance endearing is to just have them spend time together where both parties actually enjoy the company and conversation. Who'd have thought?
This also winds up a solid episode for Hina as well. Unburdened by the responsibility of being a looney toon, she's allowed to just act like the excitable little kid she is, tentative omniscience notwithstanding, and it manages to make her shrill and angry side a lot more tolerable in the process. There's still some of that here, like a bizarre bit where she runs into a character from Charlotte and loudly accuses him of being a lolicon, but overall her throwing a fit and running off because big bro Yota isn't paying enough attention to her feels like the character's first genuine display of emotion since she appeared from the ether. The part where she gets accidentally locked inside a moving truck is classic sitcom nonsense, but it at least resulted from an organic emotional conflict instead of supernatural contrivance. More importantly, the ensuing rescue mission allows the true central relationship of this whole show to finally shine: Yota and Ashura's unbridled bromance.
I'm not joking – Yota's clear and uniformly supportive relationship with Ashura is super endearing throughout this entire episode. They're totally in-sync, down to even using the same over-the-top pick-up lines when they see their crushes in yukata, and aren't above teaming up to scare all their friends half to death in the haunted house. There's something about the way Maeda writes so many of his protagonist's guy friends that just works, and frankly if I was in a shipping mood I'd put these two as the closest to OTP status. They certainly have the best chemistry, as exemplified by their chasing down the truck on a motorcycle and having a heart-to-heart about Ashura's tragic injury and aborted sports career in the process. It's undeniably silly, but the energy and earnestness of it all manages to click in a way none of the series' previous attempts at humor or drama have. This is the kind of stuff I love to see from Maeda, and I'm hoping this episode's success portends more of the same going forward.
That said, this is also largely an isolated episode, and as we go longer without checking in with Hacker Bro I do worry just how much time we'll have to get to whatever the meat of this whole story is. There's 9 days left on that doomsday clock too, and I don't think we can stretch that mystery too much further without at least a few concrete hints. Yota's ominous inner monologue at the end suggests things are about to get heavy, and how that shakes out will likely decide whether this episode is the start of something good, or the peak of the whole story.
The Day I Became a God is currently streaming on Funimation.
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