Wise Man's Grandchild
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Wise Man's Grandchild ?
I was going to start this by discussing the uneasy blend of plot elements in this episode, but all of that will have to wait until I get this off my chest: what the hell was that new ending theme? Was it supposed to be Maria? The singer? Why is she dancing poorly in an empty Medieval room in modern clothes, and who can I blame for the choreography? Was it all just a distraction from that aforementioned uneasy blend of plot elements?
Anyway, Wise Man's Grandchild has never been entirely certain what tone it wants to strike, and in the six episodes that have aired thus far, it's been most successful when focusing on the danger that only Shin's astounding powers can get the cast out of. That's largely because Shin is so much stronger than everyone else in the show, so while we can be reasonably certain that he'll manage to bring down whatever threat comes his way, there's still the knowledge that if he screws up, no one else can protect people from the one threat that slips past him. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean that it won't, and this week reminds us that Schrom is not to be trifled with – the kind of villain who can turn most of a city into demonoids is not one you want to assume can be taken out by one guy, no matter how powerful he is.
Overall, the opening minutes of this episode are the strongest. Not only do they go to show us the extent of Schrom's strength yet again, but they also remind us that he's got zero scruples and his real plan appears to have been to take over Blusfia while distracting them with false goals of fighting the Kingdom. In other words, he's not a one-note villain; he's got major plans and each action he takes is meant to further his end goal. While he's still over the top in terms of his outward nefariousness, he's also revealed himself to be coldly calculating, and now that he knows just how powerful Shin is, we have to assume that our hero's being worked into his plans. To that end, he may be orchestrating some of what happens this week in the Kingdom from behind the scenes, like the joint training exercise between the magic and knight schools. It does make sense as a perfect way to see more of Shin's capabilities; Schrom lets some Kingdom guys escape his city of the damned to report back on it, they organize the training exercise (which he'd be able to assume from his time there as a teacher), and then he unleashes a horde of 100 demons on Shin's group. If Shin takes them out, he has a better idea of his power level. If Shin doesn't, that's ten fewer enemies he has to worry about.
But as usual, the episode slips up with Sizilien. In this case, only one of the scenes is her fault – when she gets all squirmy about feeling safer with Shin there to protect her and then gets surprised when he points out that she'll have to fight too. Then there's the fact that boys in this story's world are powerless against girls with large breasts, soft voices, and healing skills, leading to a dip in the middle of the episode where the knight boys all fall over themselves to get close to her while Shin seethes on the sidelines. There are some funny faces made, primarily by Shin, but the whole thing feels like a distraction from the plot of learning to work together to fight demons, and once again it seems as though romcom elements are being shoehorned in to make the show more appealing.
Wise Man's Grandchild needs to learn to trust in its interesting fantasy hooks. It doesn't need romance or isekai trappings; when it allows itself to just be a fantasy story about a super-strong teen fighting a worthy bad guy, it's perfectly fine. Hopefully its second half will pick up on that, because right now the story's need to be all things is bringing it down.
Wise Man's Grandchild is currently streaming on Funimation.
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