Wise Man's Grandchild
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Wise Man's Grandchild ?
I swear, if Wise Man's Grandchild introduces another woman by starting with her breasts, I'm going to have a fit. This week's obligatory boob-intro compounds the issue by having a demonoid man use Lyn and Alice's breast sizes to determine that they must be little girls, because as we all know, there's no such thing as a fully grown woman with small breasts. I absolutely realize that this is a pet peeve of mine that isn't going anywhere in anime (or culture at large), but for a non-ecchi show, Wise Man's Grandchild goes in on this kind of fanservice to an irritating degree, which only compounds its other issues.
Those issues are slightly less in the foreground this week with the focus on the Ultimate squad fighting the army of demonoids Zest has loosed on Sweed, a neighboring kingdom. His reasoning for doing so is, by bad guy standards, pretty sound – he wants to draw Shin out and evaluate his powers for himself. Of course, this means that he's ignoring what Schrom has already told him about the Boy Wonder's skill level, and that's what really bites him in the ass; not only does Schrom turn out to have been telling the truth about Shin's capabilities, but now he's got friends who are nearly as powerful as he is. This spells doom for the Zesty Troops, and quite possibly for Zest himself, since Schrom is hardly in the dark about what he's done.
There's a semi-interesting undercurrent of class warfare running through this episode as well. Most, if not all, of the demonoids are from the so-called peasant class of the Empire, a group figuratively demonized by the nobility, as we saw during Schrom's past. In a sort of pseudo-French revolution, they've now risen up by claiming an unholy power (egged on, of course, by Schrom and his cronies), and their demonoid powers, as well as the physical strength from working what were considered lower class jobs makes them more than a physical match for any knight. They are not, however, equal to the task of fighting highly skilled wizards…who are largely from the nobility. This adds an uncomfortable air to the battle, one that says that in a battle of power, the “good” noble who has been highly trained or the upper class commoner who runs an establishment rather than labors in the fields, is always going to triumph over the “bad” peasant, who has only the power of their anger.
Whether the show intends this is perhaps doubtful, but it is a troubling bit of subtext nonetheless, compounded by the fact that these demonoids are being used by higher-ranking demons, and the clear difference in power between them and someone like Schrom or Miria, who had the benefit of the training available to them as nobles. That the rank-and-file demonoids either are unaware of this or just accept it perhaps says more about the Empire (and the story's world) than anything.
While most of the episode is taken up by battles that are little more than people lobbing spells back and forth and the more interesting fight Aug and Maria have with a particularly strong demonoid, which requires actual strategy instead of just chucking power around, there are a few moments reserved for Shin and Sizilien to fawn over each other (and for him to relegate her to the backlines, which is both sensible, since she's a healer, and selfish, since it puts his fiancée in a position of relative safety) and a few obligatory single-girl oh-woe-is-me jokes. It's certainly a more cohesive episode than any of the training ones, but it almost feels like too little, too late. Unless this show can pull a rabbit out of its hat next week, it seems destined to have made the slide from “isekai comfort food” to “isekai mush.”
Wise Man's Grandchild is currently streaming on Funimation.
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