Binbou-gami ga! Episode 3

This episode was boring. Let’s talk about something else.

Like how boring Sunrise thought this episode was. The bulk of this episode’s source chapter was a bland, sappy, dramatic story you’ve seen a dozen times in shounen manga before. While the dramatic elements of the first episode were its weakest parts, that story was at least trivially engaging and believable. Suwano is established as a real character, and then implicated in drama. Keita and company are introduced solely as vessels for dramatic tension, so their hackneyed emotional struggles fall completely flat. Moreover, Ichiko’s sudden changes in behavior are much too rushed and much too convenient to serve as believable character growth.

Sunrise did their best to streamline and play down Keita’s storyline, and emphasized the amount of time allotted to the more gag-oriented first half. One assumes they couldn’t excise large chunks of the plot altogether, but trimming it down seems like a decent alternative. Throughout the episode, the rushed drama and regular supplements of original humor make it painfully apparent that Sunrise didn’t enjoy this much either.

The rearrangement of the manga’s plot appears to serve a similar purpose: the second and third chapters of the manga were adapted in reverse order. That is to say, Sunrise adapted a more slapstick-centric chapter for the second episode, in order to space out the dramatic moments and attempt to build some momentum. That momentum took a hit this week, but I doubt that all is lost. If nothing else the degree of contrition with which they approached this episode is encouraging.

The visual reference humor was back in full force this week, with one gag—a To Love-Ru: Darkness reference—which actually felt a bit inspired. That, a few quick sight gags, and a surprising concentration of well-executed defenestrations pretty much sum up what this week’s episode has to offer in terms of entertainment.

With the dearth of much in the way of physical humor to propel it forward, the animation in this episode languished as well. The majority of the episode consists of people sitting around arguing about family values or running around melodramatically in the rain, neither of which lends itself particularly well to any fun visuals. Even what minimal slapstick the episode has is relatively uninspired, visually speaking. There’s certainly none of the lively, detailed physical acting that was so crucial to the charm of the first two episodes.

Incidentally, to Sunrise’s credit, the recurring post-credits Nadeshiko ga! gag, which is original to the anime, finally earned a laugh this week. While so far it had been mildly charming in a “poor man’s Lucky Channel way, the short for this week actually included a constructed joke beyond the surface-level silliness of the premise itself.

Next week introduces a new character with a pretty entertaining gimmick, but there’s also more uninspired drama. We’ll see how it goes.

8 Comments

Filed under Binbou-gami ga!, Episodics

8 responses to “Binbou-gami ga! Episode 3

  1. I’mma actually disagree with you a little bit here. I’d agree this is the weakest episode so far, but for me, a lot of the charm of the series has been our two leads, and I felt this fleshed out their relationship quite a bit, seeing them actually work together on something.

    Re Ichiko’s character growth, I can’t really agree. I don’t think her character development was too rushed because I find it hard to see it as character development at all. I mean come on, Ichika looks out for her own interests, but it’s been pretty self evident that she is a big softie on the inside, this was really just a confrontation for her to actually show that more.

    I know I’m quibbling here, but it was just obvious this sort of thing was coming, so it’s hard to be that bothered by it. Tone down the drama and boob jokes and this series would certainly be a fair bit better, but this episode still got a fair few chuckles from me.

    • 8C

      That’s exactly my problem, though: the character arc they’re setting up for Ichiko is just so utterly clichéd and lazily-executed. I’m aware that the vector of character growth here isn’t “changing inside as a person” but “coming to acknowledge some inner trait”, but that doesn’t make it any less boring or played-out of an arc. It’s not going to go anywhere, it’s just going to weigh the show down with more unremarkable Serious Moments like this.

      Ichiko and Momiji are a fun pair with a lot of great chemistry, for sure. What they aren’t is particularly interesting or multidimensional. And that’s perfectly fine, for as long as the show doesn’t go around bringing attention to it.

      Middle-of-the-road comedies that get bogged down in failed attempts at drama or emotional relevance aren’t exactly hard to come by. What excited me about Binbou-gami ga! was the promise (made in the first episode, delivered in the second) of the kind of pure, shameless and unapologetic comedy that Sunrise gave us with Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou. The episode wasn’t horrendous, but it was a far, far cry from last week.

      • I’m not exactly disagreeing with most of that, I just disagree the first episode ever made that promise, with the split second flashbacks to her being all alone and such, I just always assumed we were gonna get some of this sort of stuff.

        I’m also not sure I agree about Ichiko and Momiji not being interesting or multi-dimensional. I think there’s a fair bit of potential there, and I don’t mind too much if the shows tries to explore that. I’m not saying they’ve done a good job of that thus far; however.

        Sorry, I’m pretty tired and typing this up in breaks between cooking dinner, so I’m probably not being particularly coherent or succinct here.

        • 8C

          I figured there would be some of it, too. That’s a completely separate issue from whether I’m happy about it, or whether I think the show can’t do better.

          • Ideally I’d have my cake and eat it too. I’d love to see the show handle both well. Agreed it’s not particularly, but it isn’t obfuscating the humour for me at the moment.

          • 8C

            Oh, certainly, if I thought the show had the writing chops to pull off some engaging emotional plot threads I’d be all for it. Lots of comedies can manage that. But just based on what we’ve seen so far, I’m really doubtful that this is one of them.

            I’d rather it go all-in and be a great slapstick comedy in an underrepresented genre, rather than try to be everything to everyone and end up another mediocre mess.

  2. This is basically what I was afraid of after the first episode — that the show would go full on with the awkward melodrama meant to make Ichiko a “better” person, but falls flat because the scenarios and writing just aren’t that good. Hearing that Sunrise goes out of its way to emphasize the drama as little as it can get away with does give me some hope, though. I guess I can grit my teeth and bear the drama as long as we eventually get more totally silly episodes like the second one.

    • 8C

      Yeah, I still want to believe Sunrise are approaching this in good faith. Judging by the manga, things will be inconsistent but there are some really great slapstick chapters later on, too.

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