What’s the show? Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight, Episode 9.
So how’s this episode? In any given anime there can come a time when “the wheels fall off” that’s to say an anime is just driving along (to continue with a vehicle based analogy), maybe not perfectly but adequately, a few bumps along the way maybe, and then the wheels come off and the whole thing falls apart!
Oh dear, this doesn’t sound good… To further this analogy I will say the wheels definitely came off this episode but rather than crash and burn it was more of a controlled braking into a shallow ditch. This is the worst episode of the show (so far), it’s the worst it’s looked, it’s the worst it’s sounded the pacing is atrocious, a lot of it didn’t even make sense and to make matter worse it wasn’t even a fun experience to watch it fall apart, it wasn’t a total catastrophe with the likes of ‘Marchen Madchen’ Episode 9. No, what this was was a series that’s stretched for cinematic action sequences beyond its time or budget and so every available corner was cut. Likewise the story moves in such an odd fashion that it times it felt like I was watching a trailer with events rapidly cut-together without consideration for common sense, while other times it felt like I was watching the equivalent of a first draft of certain scenes with questionable scripting and directing.
Yikes! I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this focused critically before, usually your either full glowing review, full ‘I don’t know what to say’ or full rant-mode. Say what you will about this series (before this episode) it at least was an entertaining ride, flaws and all. This, however, was just middle-of-the road mediocrity with the added un-bonus (what’s the opposite of bonus?) of feeling rushed and amateurish. Full apologies if there were production issues behind the scenes that led to this like with ‘My Sister, My Writer’ but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case here because on a technical level its still sound. It’s just that it feels like there was nowhere near enough money in this show’s budget to accommodate the scope they wanted to achieve.
Okay that’s enough about the problems, what’s the episode even about? So Jeanne, fresh from her revival from near-death rallies the French troops and heedlessly flings herself into battle–against the wishes of all her companions. Why? Because there’s no re-revivals, that last ‘get out of death free card’ was the last–if she dies again she’s dead for good! Despite this the cocky ‘Ulysses’ version of Jeanne leaps into a battle against Black Ulysses who has the ultimate death wish. They fight, Black Ulysses gets the upper hand and a volley of arrows comes straight for the helpless Jeanne. Montmorency, not content to watch Jeanne die again swallows his half of the philosopher’s stone and uses his newfound powers to rescue Jeanne in the nick of time! Astaroth is furious because as she told him “bad things” would happen if he swallowed the stone. Right on cue, the sky opens and giant Cthulhu esque tentacle monsters begin to descend–that’s right folks, it’s the end of the world!
I mean… that sounds ridiculous but that doesn’t sound ~bad~ necessarily. On paper it’s not bad. I mean it’s ~insane~ but that’s hardly a reason to dislike an anime. But it’s just so slap-dash and haphazard that it drains the energy out of the experience. That said if the show just goes full on sci-fi, Lovecraftian crazy next episode I’m almost willing to overlook this derailment here.
Previous Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc and the Alchemist Knight Reviews:
Full French Alchemist – Episode 1 Review
Blood Is Thicker Than Saliva – Episode 2 Review
A Potent Concoction – Episode 3 Review
Stoned To Death – Episode 4 Review
Purity, Divinity and Power – Episode 5 Review
The Heartlessness of War – Episode 6 Review
The Tower Maiden – Episode 7 Review
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder – Episode 8 Review
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