Ichiban Ushiro No Daimo Episode #11 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, June 11, 2010
Release Date: Friday, June 11, 2010

With everything thrown into confusion in the last episode, will this one turn the tide into making sense or will it muddy the waters more?

What They Say
Sai Akuto takes flight with Peaterhausen, having sworn to kill the Gods to protect Keena, but the imperial aircraft carrier "Black Crane" makes it debut and due to the work of 2V, an agent of the Cabinet Intelligence Magick Office, Sai Akuto is flattened by the Black Crane. At the same time, the troops that are under the command of Teruya Eiko raid the school to destroy the monsters infesting it, but the student council president, Riri Shiraishi, repells them. Eiko uses Hattori Yuuko to protect herself, and orders Junko to take out Riri! Meanwhile, in the school, Fujiko is taken aback by Sai Akuto's apparent death, but Keena is convinced Sai Akuto is still alive. Bouichiro appears once more and kidnaps Keena...

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The previous episode feels like it could be best summed up by asking what happened to the dozen or so episodes that needed to precede it in order to set it up properly. It felt like it leapfrogged over a ton of necessary material in order to give it the right build-up and flow. With it playing out as it did, it felt like we were watching a very different show with only a mild connection to what we were watching before. While this series has handled the balance of fun and serious well, it went too serious too fast and left most viewers wondering what the hell just happened.

That feeling permeates this episode as well, one where it eschews a traditional opening in order to squeeze in more of the show itself since there's apparently a lot of ground to cover. Keena is assuring everyone that Sai is still alive but he's kept off screen for a bit as most everyone is preparing to deal with Yamato and the apparent invading ninja army that he has set up. There's a definite rush for certain surprises to be revealed as well, such as Eiko's true role her family and whose death she's responsible for. It felt like things did in the previous episode where things were just thrown out there for the heck of it. The supporting cast, the third rank characters really, are out in full force here as they try to stem the wave of the attack ninjas by defending their school as best as they can. It's all decent action material with a touch of humor mixed in, but it is the third stringers for the most part so it's fairly forgettable.

Ichiban goes mostly for the action this time around with lots of big scenes where things are tossed around, characters act larger than life and the posturing reaches a whole new level. It's a fairly predictable routine for quite awhile and honestly, while it makes sense, it's all just style over substance because they're making it epic at a time when the show should be nowhere near that. Everything turns and hinges on the abduction of Keena and the return of Sai to deal with it. You have the usual changes in some of the characters such as Teruya now deciding that Sai will be the one to save the day so she aligns herself with him after all she's done trying to get after him. It's just such a poorly executed piece of work in the previous episode and this one that you're watching it all play out and any connection you may have felt to these characters seems like it's been wiped away.

In Summary:
I've likened this show to Kyo Kara Maoh on several occasions and right now it feels like what that series would have been like if after the eighth episode if they then shifted to the last three or four episodes of the seventy-plus episode run of the first two seasons. There's familiar characters, settings and situations, but the disconnect is too large to bring it all together. Everything simply went too big, too fast. I like the characters, I like the designs and I like that they're still doing the silly fanservice moments at times. But it's not a show that has been able to manage the shift to this storyline this quickly. There's even a big reveal toward the end of this episode involving the Teruya family where I literally rolled my eyes and was ready to close the browser because it was a jump the shark moment. This show had a lot of potential for great fun during the first five or six episodes and then it slid downhill and hard.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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.

Mania Grade: D+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maō