English Dub Review: Wise Man’s Grandchild “An Emergency Arises!”

Demons. Not even once.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Shin and his classmates are continuing their exciting, idyllic magical life at the magic academy. Shin has already surrounded himself with good friends and beautiful women, so things are working out just great for him. With this initial moves into the academy taking care of, he expands his list of friends a bit and his crew considers starting a study group. They end up deciding that they should start the Ultimate Magic Study Group, so they can perfect their magical skills.

Kurt, the arrogant noble who nobody likes yet seems to have some degree of power, is still proving to be a thorn in Shin’s side. He tries using his influence at school to gain respect, but ultimately pays the price when his dad, who apparently isn’t an asshole, finds out. However, Kurt is approached by a mysterious mage named Schtrom. This evil fellow seems to be capable of some demonic magic, and uses Kurt to serve his own ends.

The next day, Kurt, who has been corrupted by demonic magic, starts terrorizing Shin and his friends. With intent to kill in his eyes, he goes for Shin at full force, but Shin doesn’t back down against the corrupted noble. The two of them duke it out in an intense magical battle, but Shin is ultimately the victor by means of decapitation. Kurt falls dead on the ground, and Shin’s friends come running to see how their pal is faring. They lament their inability to save Kurt, but accept that if Shin hadn’t stopped him, he would have been an incredible danger to the rest of the academy.

Our Take:

Well, I’ll give credit where it’s due, this episode has a lot more going for it than the first two episodes did. Namely, this week’s iteration of Wise Man’s Grandchild has something resembling a conflict, and an actual plot to try and keep me interested. I’m still not on board with Shin, who is so much of a Mary Sue it makes me think this anime first started as a “Harry Potter” fanfiction, but the last ten minutes of this episode is some pretty good viewing. All the present problems still remain here, with some notable exceptions that give a little more meat to the story. If you’re on board with this cotton candy fluff of a show, then you’ll be overjoyed to see this episode, but if not, I don’t think this is going to bring you on board.

So what’s the panacea that makes this episode actually fun? Some good old fashioned magical violence. Out of nowhere, Kurt and Shin fight in this beautifully animated fight scene. It’s not perfect or original, but it has excellent use of color and motion to make the magic that Kurt and Shin use as realistic looking as possible. Kurt’s demonic possession also has this grizzly element that makes him actually fearful to watch. It’s strange to me that this show can find budget in it’s animation to deliver such action sequences, but I’ll take what I can get.

However, in terms of story, this fight doesn’t really have any drama going on with it. Kurt is a character who has been developed to be despised since he first showed up on-screen, so I’m not shedding any tears for his loss. If the show wanted to go for a darker tone, then they should have developed Kurt as more than a thuggish, arrogant dirtbag.

At the end of it all, I’m still confused as to what this show wants to be. It’s first two chapters made it look like this screwball slice-of-life comedy with characters as thin as and flimsy as a piece of American cheese. Yet, now, it takes this weird turn towards the violent with a decapitation and demonic possession. It’s fine if the plot wants to go somewhere, but tonal whiplash doesn’t do the audience any good, it just make the show confusing. We’ll have to see where we go from here, but I think this episode has taken at least one step in the right direction.

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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