Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho Episode 3: Duel
I felt a lot more comfortable with the subs this week! I know I’ve never mentioned this before, but I’m not all that fond of the font the Anime Strike releases are using. I was pretty dismayed to see Sword Oratoria getting the same hard-coded and slightly lower quality treatment. Besides anything else, it makes it an extra chore to capture some screenshots as I’d have to then go download the raws. But it’s all good now. CR has saved the day.
In terms of the show itself, we’ve been going at a pretty slow pace lately. Apparently the anime will only cover the first volume of the light novels? That’d explain everything if so. Usually the norm is for volumes to be rushed through in their anime adaptations, so you won’t hear me complaining exactly, but it does make me curious as to why that’s the choice that’s been made. I haven’t seen that sort of treatment since Rokka no Yuusha, and given the nature of Rokka’s first arc it kind of made sense in hindsight. I wish I could speculate more, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve read any of the Zero no Sho light novel and I’m not about to go back now, as I want to experience it fresh.
So the focus so far has been on world-building instead of any plot-related stuff. If last episode was to show us what a stereotypical village was like, and what witch-hunting as an activity was like, then this episode was about fallen beasts in general. Or at least, fallen beasts other than Mercenary, because they’ve made it pretty clear by now that he isn’t your typical beast. I can see many of his kind responding to the discrimination they’ve been faced with as a species by just going with the flow – because hey, if you’re going to be scorned whatever you do, wherever you go, you might as well earn your otherwise non-deserved reputation. If you combine what we learned about village settlements last week and fallen beasts this week, you can easily piece together how those slave girls ended up as they did. The wolf dude turned up at a village, may or may not have done anything whilst there, and had three girls fall into his lap courtesy of the other villagers, who scapegoated them as witches to make the big bad fallen beast go away. I don’t even know what’s going to happen to those three now. They were falsely sold out by their own village so they couldn’t even go back if they wanted to, and now they’re stranded in a random city with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Actually, no. I have a feeling I do know exactly what’s going to happen to them.
There were several things that slightly surprised me. The first being that Mercenary poked his nose into that other fallen beast’s business more than I thought he would. When they initially met in the alleyway, he sort of just decided to turn a blind eye even though he wasn’t all that happy about how those girls were being treated. I guess the turning point came when he heard they were apparently ‘witches’, or at least, that they’d been given to him whilst being presented as witches. The second thing was that the wolf dude didn’t stir as much shit with Mercenary than I thought he was going to. The title of the episode was ‘Duel’ and all, so I almost expected him to do something to Zero to piss off Mercenary, or rile him up on purpose to provoke some sort of reaction from him. Which he did for a little while, but then he left. There was that build-up of tension there that fizzled out abruptly, then Mercenary grabbed it by the tail and brought it to its proper conclusion.
Also, I love how he doesn’t even try to stop her from sleeping on him any more. Isn’t Wagahai-chan the cutest and the best? How can any other witch even compare?