Last time, I said I didn’t buy the show’s attempts at selling Touka and Yuna’s relationship, and I stand by it. Touka’s spent the entire show treating somebody who’s supposed to be his friend like a piece of spank bank material, rather than a living and breathing human. He’s never shown any interest or concern for her outside of how he can sexually objectify and violate her. Any scenario where she started genuinely crushing on him that didn’t involve a foundational shift in their dynamic would feel so contrived it would be actively insulting to my and your intelligence as a viewer.
So, credit where it’s due, I’m glad that Touka starts this episode genuinely concerned for Yuna, and even acting outside of his usual smarmy personality for her sake. He’s so concerned for her wellbeing that he tries to hide her zombification, and darn near starts a fight with the whole town to keep her safe. It’s genuinely striking to see him take the path of most resistance without so much as a single line about how he’s doing this to keep her thighs safe or whatever. It feels a bit like damning with faint praise, but at the very least this is a moment where Touka shows some admirable traits, and I think it’s only fair to acknowledge that.
Granted, that goodwill is undercut once he connives his way into possessing Yuna’s body and tries to get an eyeful of it without permission. Yet even that tired idea manages to be a little funny since Anri and Marguerite are there to run interference and…well cock block isn’t the right phrase since he doesn’t really have one at the moment. He’s trying to put on stockings, so maybe sock block? Regardless, that at least has some comedic value since it’s actively frustrating his attempts to be a pervert. I’d still prefer a version of Touka where he’s just a crafty layabout who hits up the brothel during adventures instead of constantly harassing his companions, but there’s at least some fun to be had at stopping him from getting what he wants without being tired punching gags.
Heck, while I’m out here giving mild compliments, I’ll even say that this whole zombie mansion story is kind of entertaining. It helps a lot to have a larger ensemble cast for the characters to interact with, letting some humor develop entirely through dialogue and personalities clashing. The bumbling mayor is a familiar trope, but he makes for a decent sandbag for Touka’s harsher comebacks. Belarco is a pretty one-note joke, but quick gags like him soaking his sprained ankle while still trying to pose stoically got a giggle out of me. The action animation leaves a lot to be desired, but since this is primarily a comedy, I don’t want to hold that against it too much when the jokes are actually landing with a decent hit rate.
So hey, whattaya know, this turned out to be a pretty solid episode by the end of things. While it’s far from my favorite style of comedy, it at least demonstrates a shift into a writing style that feels more sustainable than before. I doubt I’m ever going to love Legendary Hero, but if it can find a balance with its cast and new ways to craft punchlines, I won’t be complaining. With the after-credits introduction of a different adventuring party, there’s even potential for a totally new cast dynamic on the horizon.