Wise Man's Grandchild
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Wise Man's Grandchild ?
There were really only two ways Wise Man's Grandchild could end – by fabricating a definite finale or by leaving our heroes to ride off into the sunset while Schrom and his cronies remain a nebulous threat to the world. I'm not sure which would have worked better, but we got Option Two and it seems to have, if not pulled the series together, at least not made things worse. At this point, I feel like that might have been the best we could hope for.
There is some closure, fortunately, which is always important even in an open-ended series. The Ultimate Magicians do manage to drive the demonoids out of Sweed and forge an alliance with that kingdom, which not only gives Aug a reason to be a part of the main cast, but also shows that this wasn't just an exercise in showing off everyone's battle gear with no payoff. Naturally Shin has to do all of the last-minute saving, but that's par for the Ultimate Hero course; he's the main protagonist and the guy who made all of his friends overpowered, so of course he's going to get the final shot. I was a little more peeved that he swept in and saved the mortally wounded man Sizilien was trying (and failing) to heal, however. That's not because I'm an advocate of killing characters, but in this case it would have been some much-needed character building for Sizi – a moment where she desperately wanted things to go her way and they simply couldn't. She could have doubted her own power, her worthiness of being with Shin, anything, really, that might have created tension in the character. It would have been a bit late, yes, but even I (who [in]famously double-and-triple check happy endings in books I'm not sure I want to finish because I really don't like being sad) could have gotten behind a roadblock to the perfectly happy finale we got, just because this show so badly needs tension and conflict. But no, Shin has to charge in and save everything with his super-duper Earth knowledge of anatomy that somehow survived when his memory of how to conduct a relationship didn't.
Speaking of that scene, it was one of two that wasn't intended to be funny but still made me laugh. I admit that my first thought was that Sizilien was going to try and save the guy with her naked breasts, because hey, Shin seems to really like them so they must be special, right? (Sadly she was just trying to use the healing magic enchanted into her uniform, which I must admit makes a lot more sense.) The other was when Shin was pursuing the fleeing demonoids and the animation kind of crapped out and rather than running away, it looked like the demons were just hopping up and down on a roof in the middle distance. Wise Man's Grandchild has had some suspect animation before, but this was a particularly amusing instance of it, as well as perhaps not being great for the tension it hoped to conjure.
Overall, that's where this series stands: it was not great at presenting its own plot in the best light. Torn between being isekai, magic high school, cheesy romance, and a fantasy battle story, it did none of those things well and instead repeatedly hamstrung itself by removing all character development and obstacles in favor of fitting as many of those stories into one show. It never trusted itself to take a risk – killing that townsman in this episode, making Aug really have a crush on Shin like Ellie suspected, developing any bad guy besides Schrom – and that made this not only a pastiche of many sub-genres, but also more pabulum than anything. It's a shame, because any one risk might have paid off and made this more interesting, but this is a case where playing it bland and safe just didn't do anyone any favors.
So farewell, Wise Man's Grandchild. In the words of Douglas Adams, you were mostly harmless.
Wise Man's Grandchild is currently streaming on Funimation.
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