Episode 2: Aquileia's Shrine Maiden
Summary: King Joseph has developed a weapon of mass destruction and needs the help of a void mage. With three mages to choose from, which one will become his unfortunate pawn?
Air Date: Jan. 15, 2012 (Crunchyroll Premium) Jan. 22, 2012 (free)
Run time: 23:42
Warning: This article contains spoilers. We recommend watching the episode here first.
Alright I’ll admit it! The introductory sequence at the bazaar was cute as well as touching and I liked it. That aside the next scene between Louise and Saito makes no sense whatsoever and I have no idea what the purpose of it was. Was someone on the writing or animation staff on LSD? Did David Lynch guest direct this episode? Is the gum I like coming back in style? What happens is Louise puts on her shrine maiden clothes and Saito starts acting weird and the two get into a position on Louise’s bed suggesting Saito is going sexually penetrate her, but he doesn’t. Instead Saito calls Louise a “cute lemon” which Louise interprets as a compliment and Saito babbles on about lemons and how Louise reminds Saito of lemons. Then they start to cuddle. Was the whole point of this scene that Louise and Saito would get awkwardly interrupted or caught by someone else giving Louise an excuse to blow up Saito? Because that’s what happened… I think. I thought everyone agreed that flailing around and babbling like an idiot does not qualify as dialogue. Am I wrong about this? This show is lemons.
After this mess of a comedic set piece we finally have a scene with the villain of this series Saddam Hussein… wait no I mean King Joseph. King Joseph shows a desire to turn magical marbles into “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Then we have the subplot about the anniversary of the ascension of the Pope. Other than giving an excuse for Louise to dress up like a nun this scene opens up the plotline that Saito could be Tiffania’s familiar. Unfortunately when Tiffania gets the chance to be alone with Saito she botches the whole situation by not clearly stating her intentions and moronically tries to force Saito to kiss her. Things end up poorly with Saito and her ending up in an awkward position that of course other characters waltz in on and make assumptions about. Is there anyone out that that get’s my complaint that this show is too repetitious with its gags? The second comedic scene in the show… is exactly the same as the first one. Give me break.
Then at the 13:25 mark we finally get some of that plot I was asking for. Louise follows someone posing as a person in need separating her from Saito… because she’s had great luck with that. She get’s poisoned and Saito is unable to reach her gets caught up in a delaying attack from another lackey. This fight scene with an evil musketeer just like the first episode becomes the designated action sequence. After Saito realizes he’s failed to protect Louise, but incorrectly blames himself, he and all of the other characters (who have so far have been haphazardly integrated with the story) come together to the Pope. Tabitha deduces that her uncle Joseph would be the only person that would do such a thing and the Pope reveals that Joseph is also moving his navy of flying ships towards them. With this ominous army looming over their shoulders it appears that our characters are going to war and the episode ends with a scene that finally adds some much needed stakes to the show.
I think the opening scene works so well because of how genuine it felt. On the surface it looks like a typical case of; girl sees pretty thing in store, boy buys thing for girl, girl feels loved, success! But there was actually much more to it than that, specifically when Saito mumbles that he can only buy her a shiny model mansion and not a real one, sending Louise's imagination wild. It was very sweet. Not long after, Queen Henrietta and Agnes are discussing the enemy and safety precautions being put in place. While walking away, Henrietta starts to show distrust towards the Pope, which I've been feeling since he was introduced. He seems completely unfazed by everything and I don't like it. For someone supposedly so virtuous, I hope he's not manipulating Louise and the others. He seems like a master plan sort of guy sitting in his throne all day.
I have to mirror ZombiePie's thoughts on the "lemon-chan" scene, though I did find it funny. The whole scene was far too silly to convince me they might actually get it on though. Meanwhile King Joseph is up to no good, having his Elf friend make "Fire Stones" for him. Joseph asks him about the potential for using them as weapons of mass destruction, which Elf-boy apparently did not sign up for! Seriously, what did you expect Baddie McVillain to do with crystal balls literally packed with fire-power... decorate his fireplace?
My suspicions about Saito becoming Tiffania's familiar are all but confirmed this episode when the two finally get a moment alone, and she goes in for the kiss. This presents me with a dilema; part of me is very happy with Saito actually being with Louise in this show instead of acting like the typical hopeless harem guy, but I really want to know what will happen if he becomes Tiffa's familiar! I've convinced myself he'll get a new power, but I won't know until it happens. Unfortunately the show continues to tease me as the two are interrupted and Tiffa runs away.
I may not have got the kiss, but I did get another great fight in this episode which just about makes up for it. I always wished Saito would do more fighting in prior seasons, after all, the power to freely use any weapon he touches is pretty cool, so I'm happy to see his abilities being put to the test this season. That said it was a shame the fight was really just a distraction while Louise was being kidnapped. She really needs to stop wondering around on her own.
ZombiePie: Honestly I have to give the writers credit for finally ramping up the plot in a way that’s genuinely interesting though I equally have to criticize them for waiting thirteen minutes into the second episode to develop a clear villain. That said I’m interested to see what happens next even if this interest is fleeting and derives from less the comedy and more from the intrigue. If it weren’t for the fact that the Pope was introduced in the first episode and other plot elements such as Tiffania being a Void Mage being established I would be tempted to say that fans should start with this episode instead of the previous one.
Daniel Newton: Man, they're packing a lot into each episode, I actually had a hard time keeping this article at a decent length! That's certainly not a bad thing though and with so many light novel volumes to get through (I don't know the number, but I understand it's a lot) it makes sense. It hasn't overwhelmed me yet and I feel like I'm getting almost everything I could ask for from this show. I look forward to every episode.