Wise Man's Grandchild
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Wise Man's Grandchild ?
I don't know about you, but I certainly didn't see that one coming. The transition from “Kurt is a mustache-twirling jerk” to “Kurt is actually under the influence of an evil mage who turns him into a demon” is astoundingly fast, but when you think about it, it does make sense. Kurt really was too malicious for this show on a surface level, especially when everyone else basically falls within the lines of relative normalcy in terms of character types. That made him feel distinctly out of place, so revealing a deeper reason for his animosity and attempts to molest Sizilien is a good sign for where the story may be headed. While it makes slightly less sense that no one told Shin how much Kurt had changed between the time he began frequenting the evil mage's workshop and now, the fact of the matter is that they've known each other for years while Shin is the (overpowered) new kid, so they didn't have much reason to confide in him.
That Shin wouldn't necessarily welcome the manipulation he faced when not put forth by a buxom girl he's crushing on seems evident this week. On the first day of school, the Class S teacher takes his students around and makes mention of “study circles,” groups somewhat akin to the clubs of Shin's old world where everyone researches a specific area of magic. When Shin is less than thrilled by what's on offer, everyone encourages him to create (and lead) a new group, and before he knows it, he's basically stuck doing so. He's clearly annoyed but too polite to decline the plan. Unless he gets over that meekness, I suspect that Shin's going to find life more annoying than it needs to be.
At the very least, Aug seems keen on making sure that Shin gets full credit for killing the demonoid that Kurt has become, knowing well that his “cousin” won't welcome it. Whether this is because he honestly wants his friend to be recognized (because they'll need all the help they can get if this becomes a recurring problem), or because he's bitter about Shin sending him away isn't clear, but he's definitely up to something. As the prince, he really should want Shin's skills known, because now that the connection has been made between Kurt's change and the true bad guy, it can't be long before they figure out why he was demonized. But even a little space between now and the full realization is enough time for him to create more demonoids, and the kingdom does not want to be caught without defenses.
Shin is a good guy, that's for sure, and it doesn't look like the show will be pulling its punches on the demonoid fight. I think it was more effective that we didn't actually see Shin cut off Kurt's head; the implication of his head beside his body and the bloody sword allowed us to see the whole scene in our minds, letting each viewer frame the scene in the way most effective for them. I do hope that more time is spent on Shin realizing that he has ended the life of a classmate, because this moment was cut off by the return of the rest of the gang, but in order for him to be a developed character, he does need to spend some time dealing with those emotions. It would also give us a chance to get back to his grandparents, because they're the only people who might reasonably understand what he's going through. Re-involving his parental figures would also remind us that Shin's powerful, but he's still in a situation beyond his understanding.
On a less serious note, there are two very silly things that consistently bug me in this show, and both have to do with names. The first is just a nitpick, but having the prince's name abbreviate to “Aug” instead of “Gus” feels awkward and unnatural. It isn't the first time anime has used what seems like a counter-intuitive nickname for an English name – Fran for Frankenstein in Code:Realize comes to mind – but it is an unappealing choice. The same goes for the romanization of Sizilien's name. Both presumably went through the original creator, but they stand out in a not-great way. Of course, if those are my chief complaints in an otherwise perfectly decent show, I'd say things are off to a good start.
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