Murphix kept asking how a blatant cash-grab like this could be so good, and I think the answer’s the same as it was for BLADE & SOUL. The crew’s used the funding to tell a good story, and have cleverly managed the license requirements so they only take up a minimal amount of screen time.
The only time BLADE & SOUL broke down was when it had to start “world building,” and I suspected those scenes were bad because the crew was reluctant about them - - their hands noticeably forced by the licensors. I get the same feeling here. All the portions that deal with Bahamut (and all the hierarchies feuding about him) are definitely the weakest, but they go by with a conspicuous quickness. It’s as if the crew wants to hurry up and get it out of the way so they focus on the story they prefer.
Anyway, to pile another comparator on, this show’s often been reminding of ESCAFLOWNE. Aside from the mash-up fantasy setting, the pacing really seems to be of the same speed - - particular in how it balances told-in-ones with the larger serial arc. A lot of shows tend to lean too far in one direction or the other, but the show’s find the right middle option, so far.
The zombie town episode had a great TALES FROM THE CRYPT concisety, while the pirate one did an excellent job of revealing Kaisar and Favaro’s back-story through an active plot that never got too bogged down in monologues or flashbacks. We’re seeing this larger tapestry get woven, but without little sub-arcs that run on too long (which was one of MAGI’s major failings).
And our leads are already imprisoned! The stakes have been ratcheted up that quickly. No time wasted. Whenever we get to the last episode, I’m sure this season will feel like an actual epic, and not 22-episode clock puncher.