We ought to codify “steam blow-off” as a term somewhere in our wiki. I’ve seen it so many times, it’s a bonafide anime trope. Whenever an animation staff decides to cut loose with something flighty and whimsical after they’ve just been laboring for a long time on something very dour - - that’s them blowing off steam. The most famous example of this was FLCL. It was a quick bit of nonsense, created by the Gainax staff after they’d spent over a year in EVANGELION’s depressive Apocalypse. DEAD LEAVES was another one, while KILL LA KILL should’ve been one.
And this episode absolutely feels like a steam blow-off.
It’s funny that “jumping the shark” has become our term for series taking switchback turns in quality. In a weird coincidence, both this and JOJO’s have marked dramatic turns with the appearance of sharks. While JOJO’s invisibly-uppercut-a-shark-out-of-the-water stunt seems to have inaugurated even weirder weirdness in that show, B&S’s shark-head cult signifies a turn to some outrageously atonal silliness. At this moment, anyway. Maybe this will turn out to be a one-off.
Still… it felt like so Saturday Morning, I was half-expecting Cap’n Crunch’s battleship to pull in off the cove.
On its own, this was a delightful diversion. All these beautiful women getting lured in by lonely aborigines with a scam that seems even more obvious in this world of scams. However, I don’t think the show really gets away with it - - especially not when Alka just re-appears at the end. Plenty of shonen are able to pull off drastic tonal shifts in the long run, but it’s really too early in the series for this. When your characters have just come off a ponderous exploration of revenge, putting them into a comedy of errors -- and having them somehow forget their bitter grudges -- just feels strained.