“Man, that ritual lasted forever.” I feel you, Yuuto.
Overview (Spoilers Below!)
We are introduced to two children, twin sisters by the names of Christina and Albertina. Chris has a cold, and she’s heard that the best way to get rid of one is to give it to someone else, so she insists on infecting Al for the sake of her health. Al protests, but eventually gives in.
After performing a long and tedious ritual, Yuuto enjoys a banquet with Felicia and Linnea. Their shenanigans are interrupted by an unexpected party guest: Steinthor, the powerful Lightning Clan patriarch who wants to check out Yuuto. Steinthor killed the Wolf Clan’s last patriarch, and now he insists on insulting various members of their clan. Yuuto learns that Steinthor possesses two runes that grant him incredible strength and speed.
Afterwards, Alexis (high priest of the empire that rules over Yggdrasil) asks Steinthor if he has considered an offer. Steinthor agrees to it enthusiastically.
Yuuto calls Mitsuki after a three-week period of radio silence. She berates him for making her worry but cries with relief that he didn’t die in battle.
Chris and Al barge into Yuuto’s chambers and demand to marry him. Eventually, they admit they just wanted to test his character and are satisfied with the results. Now the twins wish to become Yuuto’s ceremonial daughters. Still unsure of their motives, Yuuto agrees, but only if he can subject them to a test of his own.
At the start of the banquet, Yuuto whines to Linnea, “Man, that ritual lasted forever.” That’s pretty much how I felt about every scene in this episode.
When Steinthor arrives at the banquet, he insults Rasmus, who begins to attack but is held back by Steinthor’s magical abilities. Then Steinthor insults Sigrun, who begins to attack but holds herself back. Then Steinthor insults Linnea, who begins to attack but is held back by Yuuto. Why did we need to see this play out three times? What did it add to the story? The first insult alone would have told us Steinthor’s an asshole. The rest of the generic dialogue attempts to set up the tension, I guess, but it only succeeds in being repetitive and bland. This scene takes up half the episode, but it really only serves the plot in that it introduces Steinthor. Did that introduction need to be ten minutes long? Probably not.
The timing of the scene is pretty weird, too—people wait an awfully long time between lines of dialogue to reply to each other. This might be a fault of the dub, as it’s pretty difficult to work out the timing of English dialogue when the translation is much shorter than the Japanese equivalent. But it turns what should be a tense, pulse-racing scene into one that doesn’t inspire any urgency. This issue comes up a lot in “Twin Runes and Twin Sisters”: when Yuuto is on the phone with Mitsuki, she asks if life is more peaceful now that Ygnvi has been defeated, and a long moment of dead air passes before Yuuto replies. It’s pretty awkward.
A similar problem arises in the final scene with Al and Chris. Nearly every time a character speaks, we’re shown the facial reactions of every single person in the room. Did any of these reactions teach us something about the characters—or were any of them even memorable? Nope. Did they slow down the scene for no reason? Yep, absolutely.
I’m also still consistently frustrated by the number of interesting interactions that happen 100% offscreen. On the info card before the commercial break—this week, it’s a bio of Linnea—we learn that she really cares for and admires Yuuto, and she continued to feel that way even after she learned about his background. Excuse me, WHAT??? Exactly WHEN did Linnea learn that Yuuto is from 2018? Does she know about his smartphone? Does she think he’s a liar because he didn’t really invent all that stuff? And WHY didn’t we get to see that conversation play out? It’s like this show is determined not to show us any interactions that are actually meaningful. (On a related note, the second commercial break title card was about carrier pigeons, which weren’t featured in this episode at all. Am I missing something here?).
Once again, the best moment of this episode is one in which the show embraces the ridiculousness of its premise. Yuuto sits down to a huge mountain of paperwork, which has piled up because he hasn’t had time to do any of it between battles. This concept is absolutely hilarious. Why would the patriarch of an ancient clan be doing paperwork—especially as it’s canon that Yuuto himself first brought paper to the Wolf Clan? Despite its roots in serious military fiction, this show honestly may work best as a comedy. Lines like “You liar—I mean, it’s the truth, but it’s still mean!” and “I can’t take credit for inventing paper, Felicia” are pretty darn funny.
I also enjoyed watching the interactions between the selfish, manipulative Chris and her sincere twin Al (although I would have enjoyed it a lot more without the weird twincest implications, and without Al’s squeaky and annoying voice work). Chris is a lot cleverer than Yuuto gives her credit for, and her underhanded tactics are pretty engaging. I especially appreciate her hint that Yuuto may be hiding something about a city he alluded to in episode one, a city that he supposedly burned. It’s little mysteries like these that compel viewers to keep watching.
I also like that we get to see more development of Mitsuki in this episode. I enjoy that she has a series of rules for working with people (her so-called “three Cs”: contact, communication, and consult) that she relays onto Yuuto. Presumably, part of his success as a leader comes from her aid, which makes their relationship much more interesting. And I’m glad Mitsuki told him off for treating his clan better than he treats her. I feel like a conflict between Yuuto’s duty to Yggdrasil and his duty to his home life is inevitable, and I hope we get to see it play out through Mitsuki in the future.
On that note, I continue to be mystified by everyone in Yggdrasil’s utter worship of Yuuto. Chris and Al decide that he would be a worthy father after one conversation in which Yuuto… says virtually nothing of note? I’m especially frustrated about a scene in which Chris and Al seem impressed by Yuuto after watching him buy a pair of slaves and declare his intention to treat them well. I’m disturbed that Yuuto—a boy from 2018, remember—doesn’t think of freeing these slaves as an option. Why am I supposed to believe this modern boy, who clearly knows that slavery is wrong and yet still owns slaves, is a wonderful leader? I wish I trusted this show enough to believe that the writers intentionally created Yuuto as a morally gray character. I would love it if his subjects eventually grew to question his perfection, and the show explored that in depth. But I don’t think The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einhenjar is that nuanced, honestly. I think it’s just lazy.