Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
The title of the episode could have very well been the summary, because, if you take out the duel, nothing else really happened in Episode 3 of Grimoire of Zero. It seems that the series has gone to the dogs and relied on overused clichés to tell a side story of sex, slaves, and fashion tastes.
Japanese Title: 決闘
It seems that the info dump at the beginning of each episode is going to be a regular thing. Not that I object, the images are great and the info is much needed. It seems that Grimoire of Zero has a lot of lore to share, and the rain of terms that we experienced in the previous episode was a bit too much to gnaw on. According to this little bit of lore, the beastfallen are a misunderstood species. We already know that they are born to normal humans, but according to the Church, which is, of course, the ultimate authority, they are the result of a past sin, much like our sins are the result of poor dietary choices. Sinful but useful, since their prowess in battle makes them indispensable. Some carefully chosen themes here, but nothing we haven’t seen before. Their heads and blood are sought after sorcerers for reasons unknown, but I guess they make good spell ingredients. Or they look good above a hearth. Who knows?
The little trick that Zero and Albus come with to get through the gates of the medieval town of what-was-the-name-again seems prophetic but I am guessing that it was added after the second half of the story was already decided. Calling themselves sex slaves they are admitted into town without too many questions because beastfallen are despised and feared and of course they are entitled to human sex slaves. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but if it helps to have a trio of big-breasted sex slaves into the story, why not?
Zero is rich. She has a fortune worth of gems and Mercenary, being the good tiger he is, doesn’t take advantage of her ignorance to steal it from her. Instead, she visits the clothing shop of the most perverted high-class seller in town to spend her hard-earned gems into a new outfit or two. Time for some comedy and unnecessary fan service, and the insistence of the creepy seller to accept her old garments as payment for the new clothes. I get it, Zero charm is magic, but this went a bit too far.
Beastfallen occasionally surrender to their beastly nature and have a sudden impulse to eat humans. I am guessing that this specific bit will become important in the future, but for now, it felt forced and not relevant. Unless it was the only way to excuse the fear we see in the eyes of every hotel owner in town.
A few cliché moments later (Zero gets drunk, etc.) and the wolf beastfallen, for whom we learn nothing more than the fact that he can smell witches and likes big boobs, confronts Mercenary for a chance of acquiring Zero for himself. The duel was good, but the gaps left behind by the wolf’s insistence was bigger than any excitement brought forth by the clashing of swords.
What happened to the story?
Duel: This was probably the highlight of the episode. The battle between the freedom-loving cat and the slave-owning dog was the only hint of proper plot in the story and even if I find myself doubting the point of this battle, it does bring an interesting conclusion: humans can be treated as bad as witches. Oh, wait… Didn’t we learn that in Episode 2?
Sexual Slavery: Since we are talking about a Japanese medium, the most famous case of sexual slavery in Japanese history are the so-called ‘comfort women.’ The term refers to the women who were forced to serve as sex slaves in Japanese army camps during the World War II. The majority of those women were taken from occupied countries like Korea, Philippines, and China. The stories of these camps borderline on horror as the estimates talk about women raped to the point of death. If you want to know more, there are various articles on the internet that explore the subject.
Grimoire of Zero is a strange series. The medieval setting and the lore are certainly interesting, as is the relationship between Zero and Mercenary. The story could have gone in a number of paths, but instead, Episode 3 comes with a slice-of-life situation that made sure to include as many anime clichés as possible.
Our dog and cat couple made it clear that the episode was a window inside the rough life of the animal-people: a few decide to embrace their nature and take advantage of their advanced strength while others cling to their humanity. Nevertheless, wolf-man was not the villain I was expecting him to be.
The show is also trying to justify its fan service by attributing it to Zero’s inexperience. A good trick, but fan service is fan service.
The best place to sleep is in the eye of the sleepy, and for Zero it will always be the soft and furry belly of a man-tiger. Who could blame her? It looks really comfy.
Did you like Episode 3 of Grimoire of Zero? Let me know in the comments below!
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