It’s the much-anticipated Akihabara Raid!
— Unfortunately, for such a pivotal episode, the experience is marred by the often subpar animation (among other things).
— Right off the bat, we get a lot of awkward stuff that might make sense in a video game, but I’ve nevertheless been reminded that the world of Elder Tale is supposed to be as real as can be. We thus have our heroine screaming out the names of her attacks (e.g. “Death Stinger!”) for no reason other than that it’s an anime convention. Then afterwards, her partner explains to nobody in particular — or the audience, I suppose — that Akatsuki had just applied a poison DoT onto the big, bad baddie.
— A glimpse at the amazing exchange between Kyouko and Rieze:
“That’s why we’ve put a curfew in effect.”
“The only people in town are the twenty-four members of the full raid.”
Who the hell are you guys talking to? It can’t be each other, ’cause both of you should already know this information. And likewise, it can’t be us, because we already know this information too!
— And it becomes quite apparent that the episode can’t really sustain this effort. As such, it feels the need to repeat the same information it had already established in the previous episode. The story frequently cuts to Ryouko and Rieze as well, ’cause they’re all the way over here. I know why they’re there. I know Akatsuki is supposed to lure Nelreth to these two girls’ location. Nevertheless, the show sucks all of the energy out of the episode whenever it cut to them. From this vantage point, pretty lights being the only things to animate. This is thus a great way to cut costs. As for the audience’s enjoyment, well…
— It always tells me the studio has given up when they have to resort to this kind of storytelling. I might as well just read the light novels (I won’t).
— The episode continues to dawdle as the focus remains on Kyouko and Rieze. There’s a raid going on, but so far, we’ve spent more time on some roof than actually fighting Nelreth. I don’t know how to react to that…
— Then immediately afterwards, we cut to Lenessia and Kinjou. I mean, yeah, this scene is necessary. I’m not disputing that; I’m not saying, “Hey, let’s just cut this conversation out of the episode completely!” After all, this is where these two important characters come to an agreement with regards to disabling the city’s magic circle. I just question the person in charge of storyboarding this episode. Who came up with the idea to follow up one long and boring conversation on a rooftop with another goddamn conversation? Anyway, long story short, both sides accept responsibility for failing to protect the city and its adventurers.
— It almost looks like this girl is some mystical four-legged centaur. Alas, Studio Deen has merely opted to draw her pose in a rather peculiar way.
— Where did Akatsuki’s body go?
— When Marielle gets pinned to a wall with ice, she just stays completely motionless, staring at nothing in particular as the characters in the foreground carry a conversation with each other. This lack of effort is just hilarious.
— Suddenly, our heroine stumbles upon her special ability, which, not surprisingly, is just the ability to attack a foe from multiple angles. But oh God, this looks so cheap. Maybe this would’ve looked amazing ten years ago, but yeah…
— I think you have to choose. If you want this to be real life, why are you constantly throwing the characters’ HP bars and status windows in my face? If death hurts in this game, and that’s why everyone’s too gunshy to poopsock or go on difficult raids, then just show me that. Show me the painfulness of death. Don’t be lazy and resort to a low HP bar. Just let the agony on Akatsuki’s face tell me that she’s in grave danger. I mean, you can at least animate that much, can’t you? If you don’t want me to see this story as a bunch of nerds trapped in a video game, then stop acting like one. At the moment, the story is sending mixed messages.
— Anyway, it turns out Akatsuki’s special new ability isn’t quite enough to put our heroes over the top. Of course not! Remember last week’s Chekhov’s gun? Our heroine can’t win until she gets to wield the fancy new katana that Tatara’s about to give to her.
— Yep, Tatara is right on schedule.
— Really? They have to worry about aggro?
— Eventually, Akatsuki does get Nelreth to the right location, the magic circle goes down, and Rieze gets to look cool casting a single spell. With Nelreth immobilized, Akatsuki then destroys the Byakumaru once and for all. The raid is a success, boys! I just wish the act of destroying the Byakumaru lhad ooked cooler than, well, this. Everything is just so low effort in this anime.
— Celebration scenes commence, but I’m not particularly interested in any of them. So I’ll just mention one last thing: Shiroe calls our ninja to congratulate her. As for our glasses-pushing hero, he and his group are about to retry that raid boss that had defeated them. In other words, we’re finally done with Akatsuki’s story. That’s great news, because I’m more than ready to move on from her arc already.