Wise Man's Grandchild
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Wise Man's Grandchild ?
What I initially liked about this show – its low-key approach to basic isekai tropes – has proven not to be particularly sustainable in the long run, or at least not in the way that this series is doing it. (I could see it working a little better in its original novel format, although I have no way to compare the two as of now.) The chief problem is one that is exemplified in this particular episode: the plot meanders lazily from point to point, mentioning major developments and then pushing them aside in favor of oh-so-wacky hijinks that would fit better in a regular rom-com devoid of fantasy trappings, or at least one without the level of threat Schrom poses.
Case in point: this week Aug reveals that Shin's special training has elevated his classmates to the level of Serious International Threat, and after graduation, they won't be allowed to just go their own way, but instead will be basically conscripted into the military as a unit under the direct supervision of the crown. This means that not only has Shin taken all choice away from them, but they'll also be put up against the worst and most dangerous threats to the peace of the land, which could very well mean that they'll be killed in combat. That's a major plot point, and a very serious one at that, especially when combined with the statements by Shin's grandparents that these are the first actual friends that he's ever had. Would you want to be responsible for the loss of your friends' freedom and their possible deaths in combat at age fifteen?
Rather than work with this, however, the show quickly moves on. Sure, Shin gets a moment of concern over it and Aug apologizes for the whole thing, but who cares about that when instead they could all go on a summer training camp at Sizilien's family's hot springs resort, which was only just mentioned this episode? Obnoxious scenes of girls groping other girls' breasts without their consent or a fun game (for the viewers) of “why do all the guys only have one set of nipples between them?” is obviously far more important in the grand scheme of things than Shin's realization of what he's done or Merlin being concerned that his grandson is being slyly weaponized.
This is Wise Man's Grandchild's issue in a nutshell: it has a serious, interesting plot, but it is far more interested in being a goofy rom-com than developing it. Certainly the sillier elements could be worked into the plot as comedic relief, but as the series goes on, it seems more like the plot is an inconvenience to the show, which would really rather just be a school comedy. Had it initially billed itself as such, that wouldn't be a problem, but the story began as the tale of an overpowered young wizard who could save the world, and while that's not being totally ignored, it certainly is taking a back seat.
The artistic issues aren't helping. We've seen some spectacular fight scenes and appropriately gruesome post-battle images, but for the most part we have off-model characters, two girls who are very difficult to tell apart when drawn well, and this week a horde of demon-dogs who all look like anime by way of Hanna Barbera. There are definitely moments when that laid-back approach to artwork is intentionally funny, like this week's scene of the stack of defeated demon-dogs flopping down in a stack, but more often than not it just doesn't help with the show's other persistent problems.
Wise Man's Grandchild is currently streaming on Funimation.
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