Wise Man's Grandchild
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Wise Man's Grandchild ?
I enjoy Wise Man's Grandchild most when it focuses on its fantasy aspects. For this episode, that means there's not quite as much to love. The primary focus this week is the tepid romance plot between Shin and Sizilien, and I think even “tepid” may be too strong a word for the lack of care and chemistry that's gone into this particular relationship. The two have been making cow eyes at each other for most of the show, which makes their moment of actual confession feel like it didn't need to happen – in fact, if Aug and the others hadn't pointed out that Shin and Sizilien weren't actually dating, I doubt we'd be able to tell the difference. This makes the confession and aborted kiss seem unnecessary, and Shin's avowal that he didn't realize that she liked him back is even less believable than the average romantically dense harem lead. Simply put, the series got them together too early and then decided to pretend that they weren't together for presumably comedic purposes, undercutting its own romance plot. Honestly, I think it would have worked better if they'd played up the insta-love angle much more. (Also, did Shin and Sizilien basically say that all they liked about each other was their looks? That's a terrible basis for a serious relationship.)
Fortunately, the comedy is much more enjoyable this time around. Apart from Aug's fiancée Ellie worrying that he's really in love with Shin – or at least that Shin is a major threat to their future connubial bliss – the ill-planned beach volleyball training exercise is something to see, as Shin's admonition to use their powers on the ball get out of hand real fast. (Incidentally, the beach volleyball itself is one of the few isekai reminders we've had.) Probably my favorite moment is at the beginning, when Shin decides that he too needs to get stronger – Aug's face at that moment is a sight to behold, plus it does a good job illustrating just how oblivious Shin is about his own strength. One of the few decent Sizilien moments also comes during this sequence – she's the last person to put up her barrier when Shin's about to experiment with an explosive new technique, indicating that she trusts him when he says that it'll be fine; no one else believes him for even a second.
These moments aside, Wise Man's Grandchild continues to be plagued by its usual issues. We began to see the flimsiness of its world-building fidelity last week, when a group of in-universe adults were told they needed chaperones for their training camp. That continues this week with Melida breaking up a mixed-gender late-night chat and then scolding Shin for being under the covers with his now-official girlfriend. We could interpret this as her thinking he was pressuring Sizilien against her will, which seems possible, but that simply feels at odds with the show's earlier statements that people are considered adults at age fifteen, which would include all of them barring Aug's little sister May. Also, how did Shin not know he was kneading her breast? Did he think there was an inexplicable stress relief toy in the bed with them? That's more a statement on tired genre conventions than this particular show, but it still beggars belief.
Aug and Shin's friendship and the story's fantasy elements are the stand-out elements of this series right now. Since at least one of those two things shows up each week, that does keep the series from being too difficult to watch. But on the whole, it's just not using its components well in building an overall story, and Wise Man's Grandchild's throw-it-in-a-blender school of story development just isn't working to form a compelling whole.
Wise Man's Grandchild is currently streaming on Funimation.
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