“Of Creatures and Men”
Headkeeper stops at a village for car repairs and come across the remnants of an Imperial research camp.
Between the previous episode and this one, the Magatsu Wahrheit mobile game released in Western territories. While I haven’t played it, I did watch a gameplay video or two and did a bit of research which has given me reason to be a lot less excited about this show. But first, the actual episode.
Of Creatures and Men is a pretty standard bottle episode focusing mostly on Headkeeper coming across a village being attacked by a creepy monster; normal fantasy type stuff. The more important element is that this is an opportunity for every member of the squad to finally assert themselves as more than random goons. A fascinating element of Magatsu is that there are about three (four, with Yasmin’s introduction) characters whose designs shout “I am an anime character!” while everyone else – including nominal protagonist Innumael – looks like a background dude. But after this episode, I can actually attach personalities to names and faces.
“Beady-Eyes” Ben is the cautious one, and probably the idea guy. “Blondie” Klaus is the scrappy one, quick to get in a fight; he has both a rifle and a sword. “Afro Samurai” Arnold is the leader, serious and calm. Then there’s “Anime Waifu” Schaake, who’s clearly the bleeding heart of the group. She’s also implied to be nobility (which makes sense, seeing as she’s the only magic-user) and their financial backer.
And of course, “Delivery Boy” Innumael, who is an anxious coward through and through. That said, it seems like he’s trained at the Jacuzzi Splot school of cowardice: he cries, gets scared, and musters reckless valor multiple times this week. Dude has some fuckin’ moves for a random truck driver, handily escaping from and later killing the monster.
As noted, the plot is pretty standard. Something is on the loose, and there’s an abandoned Imperial research camp nearby with some empty canisters of Grape Kool-aid, plus some “Coldfire”. Something here is corrupting normal people; the monster is heavily implied to be one of the missing children, her painful wailings ignored because she is now a weird creature. The main characters must leave, because anything they do to help this village will not help the dozens of other villages exactly like this one. Et cetera, et cetera.
On the dueling protagonists front, Leocadio gets barely any screentime. He receives his new assignment to detain Innumael’s sister, and heads out to do just that. Regardless of the lopsided amount of attention so far, Headkeeper comes out looking even better because their motives are more clearly underlined. That is to say, if there actually are creepy monsters randomly attacking normal people out in the boonies, maybe those people should have access to grenades and machine guns. Just saying.
Alright, the potentially-spoilerific elephant in the room, albeit one that would have been obvious to Japanese viewers (or anyone who bothered to look at all the promo art): this anime is firmly a prequel to the mobile game. By the time you’re rolling the gacha, Leocadio is a grizzled cool old guy Warrior-class team leader. Random little girl Yasmin – who showed up this episode with the conspicuous purple ponytail – is the big-titty Gunner specialist (not sure how that happened). Older Innumael (who apparently just goes by the dramatic-sounding El) is dressed up in belts and fur and has shadowed eyes like a stereotypical Shady Assassin type.
I looked up a couple of news posts (through Google Translate, admittedly). Apparently the current story arc involves exploring the busted capital, which presumably was destroyed in the flash forward in the first episode. There’s some text about multiple factions, including the Imperial Army and our buddies Headkeeper, an “extremist organization plotting to overthrow the government”.
While not necessarily inherently bad, this is something that I’ve been apprehensive about since the first episode. Anime tends to support maintaining the status quo over revolution or change. No matter how sympathetic Headkeeper currently is in the anime, I’m willing to put down money at this point that they will pointlessly do something beyond the pale (like set off a magic nuke in the capital, for instance, hmm) that is meant to make the audience go “well, that was too far” and swing the needle back in favor of the Empire, which merely runs creepy human experiments, tortures people, and imposes draconian limitations on the lower class. But at least they’re familiar!
The possibility remains that the anime won’t necessarily fall into these pitfalls. The best case scenario at this point is that the anime is devoted to showing why Headkeeper is fully justified in their actions and how all of the presumably heroic characters from the mobile game are in fact assholes; I just don’t see that happening. It’s going to be hard to get excited about this show moving forward.
- The creature says something about a frog at one point, and I wonder if the subbers mixed up “kaeru (蛙, frog)” with “kaeru (返る, go home)”.
- We still don’t really have anything to go on regarding the dark-skinned blonde woman who’s sneaking around in the capital, other than that she’s investigating corruption of some kind.
- Calling it now that there’ll be some kind of shoehorned romance between Leocadio and Innumael’s sister.