Believe it or not, I don’t actually like writing negatively about stuff. While there’s plenty of value in dissecting something for its failures and figuring out what went wrong, I’m much more energized when discussing things I connect with. Sitting down and hammering out a few hundred words about why a show isn’t funny or interesting is not my idea of a good time, and I don’t intentionally go into things looking for faults. So if you find KamiKatsu funny, entertaining, or so-bad-it’s-good, more power to you, I’m not trying to rain on your parade, nor should you feel like my opinion invalidates yours.
In that spirit of crossing the aisle, here are a few things I actually liked about this episode. The opening visual of Roy’s head poorly posted onto filtered footage of an actual guy driving a tractor is so stupid it looped around to be funny. I love a good shitpost, and if you genuinely don’t have the resources to animate some one-off farm equipment, making it look as bad as possible is a valid comedic decision. They even covered the brand name with a “Mitama” logo, which is effort and detail I can appreciate. If anything, I wish they’d committed to it more. Have Roy on that thing the whole episode. Constantly cut back to the same shot whenever he’s talking. Never have anyone address it. Get the most out of that gag as you can!
The first half of this episode has a solid comedic set-up, aided by the show’s editing finally chilling out enough to let punchlines breathe. The basic premise is Yukito harnesses Mitama’s magic to introduce modern technology to the religion’s followers as an incentive to join the faith. It follows through on that premise with a predictable but coherent set-up and payoff. I’m still not laughing much, and the plot quickly turns into the dollar-store version of Dr. Stone, but compared to the style-shifting fever dreams of episode two, it’s totally competent as comedy. My biggest complaint is that the series has to stop trying to lean on cheesecake when it can’t render anything but the most basic of anime boobs with any effectiveness. Roy may be a walking nosebleed, but even he shouldn’t be freaking out of this 3am Denny’s pancake ass. Have some standards, man.
Unfortunately, after that joke runs its course, we get back into what amounts to the show’s plot and are treated to some bad action. Much like the show’s earlier comedic bits, there are flashes of creativity and talent via some genuinely impressive animation cuts. Still, it’s all undercut by KamiKatsu‘s signature lousy direction. Shots end way too fast or linger much longer than they should. There’s never a clear sense of where the characters are in relation to one another. Some feeble digital effects and terribly integrated CG come in to muddle shots. Even cool bits of imagery like Mitama summoning the power of her fellow Gods are tossed away in seconds, never allowing us to take it in. Bad action is still less interminable than bad comedy, but it makes for a rough second half of the episode.
In all, it evens out to about zero, honestly. It’s easily KamiKatsu‘s best episode to date, but that’s like saying it’s your most tolerable bout with food poisoning. I’m also not a fan of trying to introduce a more serious plot. First, that failed in the first episode when we went from wacky bondage to public hangings in under two minutes. Second, in the time since then, none of these characters have been given anything approaching the depth or personality necessary to carry a dramatic plot line. Trying to make them sympathetic or human enough to seriously root for just isn’t going to work after a month of sub-It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia shenanigans. The one bonus is they somehow got Megumi Ogata to play the conniving Loki, so I at least get to hear some world-class voice acting while all this mess happens.