“I hate tombs.”
What They Say:
“Let’s Go Tomb Raiding!!”
Sunraku continues his way through the Prismatic Forest Grotto where he encounters the area boss Clown Spider. He tells Emul to stay back as he wants to solo it first try with a no-hit run.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Whatever Sunraku’s up to in the Prismatic Forest Grotto is something I just can’t bring myself to care about. Fortunately, there’s more to this story than that. In fact, we actually get some material outside of the game of Shangri-La Frontier for a change, quite a bit and a variety thereof, even. That’s very welcome in many ways, but it does all serve the purpose of building up future events, which has seemed promising in the past but led to underwhelming results.
It seems like the character we see the most in the real world is Rei, which is theoretically a good sign since she really needs more character development. She remains a frustrating fixture because her entire character is defined by being in love with Rakuro, but I’ll take what I can get in regard to her character, and sometimes that means embracing her small victories. She considered her friend request in the game to be a major step, but actually speaking to Rakuro as her real self feels more significant to me. Perhaps that’s not the case for someone who so thoroughly lives within the video game world as Rakuro does, but being forced to acknowledge this girl as a real person in his life can’t be so easily brushed off, especially since she manages to convey that she plays SLF. Of course the plot and Rakuro’s somewhat rude obliviousness takes him out of the situation before she can reveal her in-game identity, but at least he doesn’t forget about the encounter immediately, even lamenting having not asked her handle after the fact. Hopefully we’re moving toward the eventuality of Rei and Psyger-0 overlapping from his perspective.
The other major non-SLF interaction is still entirely about SLF, just held in that other game for some reason. Pencilgon gathers Sunraku alongside pro gamer Katzo, making a trio of frenemies who could prove to be a lot of fun when they go on a mission together. The idea is to go after another unique monster with just the three of them, as Pencilgon recognizes the sheer talent of her low-level rivals as gamers. It’s the only reason Sunraku was able to hold his own against Lycagon, after all, so having three players with those kinds of skills – likely all in different ways – should create a very interesting battle if all goes to plan. The cliffhanger deals with the issue of NPCs not only being able to be killed but staying dead forever, which is a bizarre idea if you think of them as NPCs, but in the context of Emul being more of an add-on for Sunraku in a game that has all of these unique situations (which is fairly unrealistic, if we’re being honest), I suppose it makes sense. At the end of the day she is just an AI that we shouldn’t care that much about, but between the fact that she’s had more characterization than any of the sentient humans and the fact that all stakes up to this point have been entirely recoverable, I can somewhat understand why they’d try to make that feel like a big deal. Of course, Sunraku’s plan to get around this is simply to leave Emul behind, which seems perfectly reasonable, but there must be some reason he can’t do that, or else this cliffhanger would be wholly meaningless.
Shangri-La Frontier offers some degree of variety by exiting the game for a change, giving us a look at Rakuro and Rei interacting in real life as well as Pencilgon planning an attack on another unique monster with a tiny squad based entirely around pure gaming skill. I’ll take these moments of something different when I can get them, but it’s also true that it means even the highlights of the episode only tease the possibility of something actually interesting in the future. Everything about this buildup gives me hope for what may come of it, but the series has let me down in moments of promise enough that I have to proceed with greater caution to my optimism than usual.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll