Events slow down a bit for this episode as it dabbles in relationships and overly sexual monsters having fun with Fujiko.
What They Say
Hiroshi gets the legendary blade, and becomes the hero Brave. But he didn't tell anybody his true identity. Meanwhile, Akuto starts to think about Keena more as he wonders if the hairpiece she wears is something he gave her when she was a child. Bu Keena herself is as easygoing as ever, still skipping class constantly. Akuto decides to try to persuade her to go to class. Junko watches him unhappily. She's been acting odd since the seaside school. And then Korone tells her to have a marriage interview with Akuto at her family's home...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the things about Sai that amuses me is the way he's able to go from a slightly goofy character in a way, such as he was in the first episode and some of his more mellow moments, to a character that exudes confidence and charisma. Whether it's his inner demon king coming out or just his suppressed real self, the disparity between the two is something that makes me smile since seeing which is operating at any given time can change the way and entire scene comes across.
This episode of Ichiban is a bit more setup in general for the larger events going on regarding Sai. With his awakening moving right along, especially with his taking on the dragon now as its master, other beasts are starting to wake up as well. Fujiko is trying her best to take advantage of all of this near the dragon's lair as she hunts up a particular item, but for the dragon it's all about realizing that more and more creatures near the capital and the academy are moving about. The first half of this episode is pretty laid back about things in general though as Sai is learning more about the people in the academy and the general make-up of the land in regards to who gains positions of power in the government and why. For someone who wanted to be a Grand Priest, having this news be a surprise to him is kind of a surprise, but it's another peg that helps highlight how he's becoming dissatisfied with the way the world works.
The other half deals a fair bit with relationships in a really awkward yet subdued way. Sai obviously has a number of women close to him but the relationships aren't all that clear in a way. Keena is definitely interested in him in some way, but it's hard to tell if it's a childlike way or something more. Junko wants it clarified since she has a subconscious interest in him and is trying to figure out the competition without realizing it, though she does have some bad reactions after the fact about how she's acting. And of course you have Fujiko who just wants to use him and Korone is something of a wild card considering her origins and what she can actually do and perform as well as what she can truly feel. At this stage, while it seems like Junko is the obvious choice, I'm amused by the fact that I don't think any of the women are really suitable for him in the long run. They all have different things that are appealing, but none feel like the right package that you'd hook up with for any significant amount of time.
Though there's a fair bit of action toward the end, it's done in a way that I'm still not entirely sold on. The introduction of Brave in the last episode certainly had its moments, but the whole superhero angle is something that I can't quite reconcile with the show as it's been presented up until this point. Thee's a nice mix of comedy and action to everything before Brave shows up, but after he gets into the picture it just feels� juvenile, I guess. Not that the show hasn't had that feeling before with its censored buttons, but that's a different kind of humor. This episode felt a bit weak overall compared to the fun of the previous ones and Sai himself comes off kind of badly during large chunks of it, either for his simplemindedness or the way he interacts with everyone. Most of what we get here is fairly forgettable, so hopefully the next episode will make it even more so.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.