April 21, 2010

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou -- ep 3, censored

I just watched the censored version of ep 3 because I was curious to see what, if anything, they thought deserved censorship. I only saw four times, plus a couple I thought they'd censor but didn't.

But that's not why I'm making this post. Care for some wild-assed guessing? Spoilers below the fold.

The school is bifurcated. There are students who believe in doing good, who study normal magic. Junko is the acknowledged leader of this side.

And there are those who cleave to black magic. Amongst them there is a leader of that faction. Some may think it's Fujiko. I think it will turn out that Riri (the eventual fifth haremette) is on that side, and some will suspect that she is the leader.

Myself, I expect it to eventually be revealed that Hiroshi is the leader of the black magic students. He's the blond-haired kid who became Sai's fanboi and calls him aniki.

I think he knew about the ambush, and cooperated in letting himself be beaten up and taken hostage. Why? To try to push Sai over the demonic edge, and it worked. If Junko hadn't shown up when she did, Sai might have lost himself in the dark side.

If, as I expect, Hiroshi is really a scheming genius, then consider one of his master strokes: Sai wanted to visit Junko in the evening to try to make amends. Hiroshi told him where she was and told him how to visit her -- and what he told Sai was the way that guys try to visit girls when they hope for sex.

Junko knew it; Sai did not. And thus it was virtually guaranteed to infuriate her. Which was the goal for Hiroshi. He was working to try to make sure that Sai failed. Junko is Hiroshi's biggest opponent, and he needs to make sure Sai doesn't join the good guys.

And there have been other times, too. Hiroshi has been an ongoing source of grief for Sai, yet has been so jovial and friendly and apparently inconsequential that Sai doesn't suspect a thing. (Consider how Hiroshi publicly announced that Sai was taking Korone up into the forest in order to seduce her, as a lesser example.)

The most brilliant part of his act is that he's never made a secret of the fact that he thinks Sai is evil, and approvingly interpreted everything Sai has done in the worst possible terms. Plus calling Sai aniki.

Yet he has also managed to do all this without alerting Sai at all. Sai sees the result but assumes that it's just that Hiroshi is under a misapprehension about Sai's motives. Sai doesn't suspect that Hiroshi understands Sai altogether too well and is trying to corrupt him.

Or so I think will eventually be the big reveal in the series -- if, indeed, there is a big reveal. IUnD is based on an ongoing series of light novels, and they may not want to give us a complete story.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 03:45 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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1 Going under the spoiler tag   It hasn't captured my attention the way Railgun did, but I'm really liking this show, and have re-watched episodes 2 and 3 a couple of times. It's fun in a an almost-but-not-quite-out-of-control way, thanks to good pacing.

Another thing: since its origin is a light novel I'm suspecting that several pieces are going to fit together at the end, such as the lecture about mana, the fate of Fujiko's older brother, Keina's bird, and the war from 100 years ago.  Also, everyone is assuming that Sai, as demon king, would bring a reign of terror.  He could also be a benign king that keeps other demons in check--and the difference in his destiny may lie in the girls, of course.

Posted by: ubu at April 21, 2010 04:22 PM (RPHPb)


He has tremendous power, and the clear destiny of developing far more. But he also clearly has free will and the ability to choose what he'll do with that power.

Part of why I expect what I said is that it fits with the kind of story telling I'm seeing, which is to say that it's uninspired and formulaic. "Hiding in plain sight" is the standard way of doing this.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 21, 2010 04:35 PM (+rSRq)

3 On the other hand, it's far better than waiting until episode 10 to introduce the big bad, like too many manga-based anime do. 

One of the things I'm liking about this show is that the feel also hearkens back to Maburaho, in that we have an entire school of magical teens, and magic is everywhere -- though it developed the secondary characters better for the first few episodes, I think.   Before it turned into dreck, that is.

Posted by: ubu at April 21, 2010 04:57 PM (RPHPb)


For me the real mystery is Kena.

Sai himself wondered about that. But it'll take time to find out. The other possibility is that Kena really did think it was a friendship drug, and expected it to make everyone stop fighting. And as to why she wasn't shocked, maybe she's too silly. Or maybe it was an act.

If we're looking for another illuminati, maybe she's it. Junko is thought to be the leader of the good team, but maybe it's really Kena.

Maybe she's really powerful and capable. Why wasn't she even slightly harmed when Sai let loose his nuke in ep 2? She was right there at ground zero, and ended up at the bottom of that crater, yet her clothes weren't even slightly singed. Junko, on the other hand, was down and needed healing by Korone. Maybe Kena didn't get hurt because she was able to protect herself. (If so, she would be the only one around strong enough to do so.)

Korone knows things, and Korone actively cooperates with Kena and follows her orders. Why would Korone do that?

Like Hiroshi, maybe Kena is playing a part. Maybe what we're really seeing  is a big chess game between Kena and Hiroshi, each trying to recruit Sai for their respective teams. He's the prize; whichever team gets him pretty much wins... whatever it is they're competing for.

I don't think that Kena is the "childhood friend" who is herself in love with Sai. Reason is, she's trying to set Sai up with Junko. If she were the stereotyped "childhood friend" then she'd be just as jealous of Junko as of Fujiko, but she doesn't seem to be jealous at all, of anyone. To the extent that she's foiling Fujiko's plans, it doesn't seem to be romantically motivated.

But like Hiroshi, she seems to be hiding in plain sight. Her actions are clear but she's hiding her motivation and seeming to be inconsequential. And like Hiroshi she's manipulating Sai, in subtle ways.

I won't be at all surprised if it turns out that she's the other leader.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 21, 2010 04:58 PM (+rSRq)


A bit more about Kena:

The point being that she's telling Junko that the plan is to try to recruit Sai for the good team, rather than to kill him in order to deny him to the bad team.

If so, then that explains Junko's sudden change of heart. She just received her orders, and is obeying them.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 21, 2010 05:04 PM (+rSRq)

6 So, was it  a plot point, or just lousy writing? I hate it when I have to consider that question.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 21, 2010 05:42 PM (+rSRq)

7 My money's on Keina (that's the spelling in the subs I'm downloading) being a the ditz.

No harm?  Stupid is invulnerable. (I was sure that was a trope)
Says odd things that make people go "waitaminute, that makes sense.."  Genius Ditz.

I might have come up with more, but I got lost in TvTropes again..

Anyway, I think you're desperately trying to find meaning behind meaningless things. There is no method here....more importantly

Posted by: ubu at April 21, 2010 08:34 PM (RPHPb)



If you notice, when Korone fires it, Kena doesn't look worried. (Of course, you could argue she's too stupid to be worried, but I think it's just as likely that she had other reasons for not being worried.)

A few more episodes will tell. But you are right that I'm trying to make this into a decently told story. As I mentioned above, these things could be plot points but they could also just be incompetent story telling.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 22, 2010 12:39 AM (+rSRq)

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