We find out this week that Queen Latifah has been afflicted by an animus-draining curse. If the park doesn’t get enough visitors, she will die. That’s sad and all, but… gosh, how can I put this delicately…? I just… don’t care? Yeah, I just don’t care. Of all the characters in this cast, Latifah doesn’t actually do anything. She just sits there and looks cute. Everyone else works hard to save the park. On the other hand, Latifah’s just kind of there. No, that doesn’t mean I want her to die. It just means that her precarious fate does nothing for me. Okay, she’s too weak to physically help out, but she doesn’t even support the rest of the cast in any significant way. She herself doesn’t have much of a character at all. Not only has she not grown over the past nine episodes, she hasn’t helped anyone else grow either.
I mean, here’s the thing. This show can either make me laugh or make me cry. It is a self-proclaimed slapstick drama, after all. Well, we can ignore the slapstick part right off the bat, because there’s nothing funny about Latifah dying. You might see me as a cynical, anime-hating blogger, but I take no joy in some random character’s misery. I don’t want to kill a random character off just because I can. So all that’s left is the drama, right? Latifah’s precarious fate should make me cry, right? But why should I care about Latifah? Just because she’s a princess? Just because she’s petite and adorable? She contributes nothing to the story, so likewise, this subplot does nothing for me. Upon hearing it, I’m just like, “Oh… well, that’s too bad.” If you could somehow delete her from the story, I don’t think I would notice.
Honestly, I think the story would’ve been better off if it had combined Fiddy and Latifah into one character. Instead, we get a half-baked love triangle and two girls who are woefully underdeveloped.
Stray notes & observations:
— The start of the episode is kind of a recap of everything our heroes have accomplished. And thanks to these new additions, the park is more popular than ever, but of course, it’s still more than a hundred thousand visitors short of the target with the deadline fast approaching.
— Plus, Latifah is just so boring. She has no range of emotions. She’s just… nice. Even when she’s supposed to be sad, she puts on a smile. She’s like a soggy bowl of cereal, all sweet and mushy and nothing else. Even Kanye is like, “How can you remain so calm?” Sure, freaking out won’t help her any, but goddamn, give me a little something to chew on. Instead, Latifah feeds us the expected answer: she has hope, you guys. She has lots of hope. Seriously, Latifah is the one of worst types of anime characters. I always groan when I see a Latifah in any story. People nevertheless love these characters, because they’re so safe. The Latifahs of the anime world are cute, nice, and most importantly, safe. They’re not complicated. They’re not demanding. They simply believe in you no matter what. You can totally do it, self-insert hero! Go on! Do what you gotta do, ’cause no matter what, you can’t disappoint Latifah!
— Look at Kanye, by comparison. He gets to be happy, bored, frustrated, angry, tired, elated, determined, etc. He gets to embody one of these emotions at any given time. Meanwhile, Latifah is on autopilot; she has the personality of a cardboard cutout. Most importantly, Kanye gets to be flawed. He takes his anger out on the rest of the team, because he’s desperate to save Latifah’s life. It’s not right for him to treat them that way, but you can understand where he’s coming from. Latifah never gets to be flawed. She’s like this weird, plastic character that just smiles and looks cute all the time.
— And the sad thing is, these characters are nearly coming to blows over such a thin character. Their emotions are wasted though, because Latifah doesn’t hold up her end of the bargain. But it’s not really Latifah’s fault that she’s poorly written. It’s not her fault that she’s been pigeon-holed into this cloyingly nice anime archetype that isn’t allowed to affect the story in any other way.
— Even now, Kanye goes to his sister for support, a character we haven’t seen since what? The first episode? For all this hubbub over Latifah’s impending death, I just want her character to actually have a function within this universe.
— Even Moffle has changed over the course of the story. And at the moment, he’s bonding with Kanye, a guy he never really liked before.
— So Kanye’s met Latifah before, and he promised that he would save her. Meh. It still doesn’t change anything.
— Apparently, Latifah’s been stuck as a 14-year-old for a decade now.
— There are just ten days left, but the park would need to average over 10,000 visitors in each of those ten days in order to hit its target. Is the park even big enough to hold that many people? Oh well, Triken seems hopeful as he delivers the good news to Kanye at the end of the episode.