Well, here’s another case where a dub would’ve really helped out…
I read something a while back about how sequential art (manga, comics, fulmetti, etc.) is supposedly the only art form that requires the use of two parts of your brain at the same time - - one to process visuals and one to process text. Seeing as how I don’t usually get the opportunity to re-watch these, I’ll confess to having a tough time processing shows with as dense mythologies and narrative as this. It’s even tougher when the plot’s non-linear. I had the same problem with BACCANO and actually had an opportunity to do a honest-to-goodness experiment with a control to figure out what that problem came down to. Switching to dub in the latter episodes yielded an absolute night-and-day difference in intelligibility which I chalked up more to the aural memory being a lot more powerful than the visual one. I just had a much easier time holding all the intricate plot details in my head as it unfolded that way.
So, here we are with a show with a really fascinating mythology, and I’m sure I’ve only grasped about half of it. I’m sure it doesn’t help that this is apparently a prequel to some larger franchise I have no prior experience with. There are certainly plenty of intriguing scenes - - the “heretical” student getting humiliated about his theories on magic, the set-up with that poor girl in the worm pit, the vow in the fatal delivery room - - but I’ll fess up to having no idea how they tie together. There are a lot of faces here and not too many names I can put with them.
Which is a shame for me, because I get the sense of something really appealing, here. There’s a lot of build-up - - maybe too much, actually - - and, even while I’m not going to criticize the show too much (for once) for taking it’s time to set things up, I do think it could’ve benefitted from a less deliberate place. The notion of the Pendragon coming back as a young girl is certainly a clear enough of a hook; perhaps introducing that earlier might’ve offered a stronger throughline for me? As is, I've looked at about forty minutes of things happening even when I was rarely sure what was happening.
You know what? I'll put this on me. I just wasn't in the right mind set for this. One day, I'll delve back into this well of mages and conspiracies and spells and swim to its base where all the secrets lie.
Watch this episode, "Summoning Ancient Heroes" here and decide for yourself.