English Dub Review: Dances With The Dragons “Revelation of Malice”

Do you play chels? Didn’t think so.

Overview (Spoilers)

G&G enjoy a nice lunch with Largonkin and his adviser. The investigators’ trade information on the Magatsushiki attacks that have been going on. They seem pretty scattered, but if attacks over the last six months are factored in, they’re all over the map. No discernible pattern. Fortunately, the two Great Magatsushiki decide to jump in for a table beside them. They reveal that their Evening Party has already begun, and if the investigators want to play properly, they have to look at the game board very carefully.

The other investigators are called off to a different scene, but Gaiyus receives a tip about the Aurora Hammer operatives in the city. He and Gigina arrive at the hideout and run into the mooks from Dragon’s Maw. They all get treated to a holographic presentation by Zulu. Apparently, The genius from Razel Corp didn’t just join Aurora Hammer. He was present as they were raped, murdered, and exiled into the desert. He’s also got a bone to pick with the Dragon Empire and Razel Corp. They created the situation in there and hung him out to dry. So, he is unleashing a horrible curse that is going to kill tons of people in the most painful way possible: Plague Demons.

Courtesy: Funimation

G&G take this data over to Largonkin, and figure out the mechanics of the spell. It’s more than a little complicated, but let’s cut to the chase. The Magatsushiki summonings are all a part of the curse. They’ve been summoned to parts of the city that map to moves the genius used for his world-championship chess match… sorry, Chels match. Now that they know that, they realize there is only one move left to make. If they prevent that move from occurring, they can stop the curse!

Oh, and Jiv is on Razel’s island, so she’s gonna die if they fail. Thought you ought to know.

Our Take

This episode is victim to the show’s love affair with shallow world-building. The game of chels is basically an analog of chess, but with different pieces. Why is it different? Just for the giggles. Neither is it all that well defined. They then wrapped all of the episode, and the plot of the story arc, around this game that is ill-defined and just a re-skin of chess. So, why not just make it chess?

That’s been the issue with this show’s writing for a while. It’s so dead set on having a “unique” world that it simply re-skins a bunch of junk, but doesn’t explain any of it properly. This brings on sudden savant episodes from Gaiyus who links a bunch of crap together and solves the whole thing. All the things he links get obfuscated by the facade or never get revealed in the first place, so we just sit there as he goes off on a tirade.

Real detective stories present you with all the facts, bit-by-bit, over the course of the story. This then leaves the viewer to piece things together themselves. If it’s good writing, you don’t figure it out because it misleads you as to the nature of the clues. If it’s bad writing, you don’t figure it out because you never received the clues. That’s where we’re at here. The information we get about this world comes from Gaiyus and his monologue.

That alone presents a problem because the voice actors in this show are terrible. They have next to no personality and are obviously just reading straight from the page. That only makes it more obvious that the crew writing the English script gave up long ago. The characters words don’t even approximate the movement of their mouths. I guess this doesn’t matter too much, because the animation and cinematography were so bare-bones, it might as well have been an 80’s anime.

Score

Summary

This series started ho-hum, and now it's gotten to the point it doesn't even hum. It's descending into all the worst tropes of anime, and not even giving us good characters or plot to go with them. I give this episode four plague demons out of ten.

4.0/10

Marshall Daley

One part best-friend/philosopher, one part creepy mad scientist. Shaken, and sprinkled with geeky factoids, quirky humor, and a major case of skepticism towards the world and you might just find a cocktail that changes the way you see... Everything!

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