Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest (Episode 9) – Mountain Trails

Last episode, Hajime ended up letting Sensei and the students with her accompany him on his expedition into the mountains to search for a missing party of adventurers, including a Duke’s son.

What will they find waiting for them?

Brief Synopsis

Hajime and crew arrive further in the mountains. Hajime releases drone-like machines into the air, that are tied to his magical eye and allow him to see what they see. He scouts out the area and finds some signs of human activity. The party heads over there and finds a bunch of scorched equipment, monstrous footprints, and a giant crater. Hajime senses a nearby human, and they find the Duke’s son in a cave hidden behind a waterfall.

We find out that the entire party was wiped out except for the Duke’s son, and that a dragon had attacked them. They begin to head back towards the village when the dragon strikes again.

We get a nice fight scene with the dragon, getting to see many of Hajime’s summoned gadgets and weapons in action once again, as well as Yue’s magic, and Shea’s hammer. They eventually tire the dragon out, and Hajime begins to drive a metal stake up it’s butt, causing the dragon to begin speaking in a panicked fury.

The dragon says that she was under the spell of a cloaked man, and that it was instructed to attack the Duke’s son. While Hajime still wants to kill the dragon, Yue doesn’t, saying her words can be trusted. The dragon goes on to mention that the cloaked man was directing an army of monsters to a nearby town or something like this. Hajime ends up removing the stake, and the dragon turns into a human form, also revealing that she is a total masochist. She also seems to have joined Hajime’s party.

Episode Thoughts

When I read out the synopsis I’ve written, this episode doesn’t sound like much. But the key to this episode really was the fight, which I thought was pretty good. Once again, I’m just glad to be able to see Hajime’s fighting style in action, and it’s fun to see Shea with her hammer also.

The problem, of course, is once again the CGI. Very much like the fight with the hydra, the problem I have isn’t so much the appearance itself, but the way the 2d characters interact with the 3d animated enemy. There’s no blood, there’s no visable scratches, or damage. So what we often get is a fight that looks a bit disjointed. For example, there is a scene where Hajime is shooting at the dragon’s head, and instead of seeing blood or any indicator that the dragon is taking damage, we get some groans and the dragon’s head moves back and forth. It’s hard to describe, but it’s just not very good.

It would have been nice if we could see Hajime face off against a 2d enemy, just so we can get that interaction of visible damage, blood, etc. that we are lacking with the 3d enemies. Or even just to compare the differences.

As for the dragon herself, whom probably introduced herself but I didn’t pay enough attention to catch her name, I think she seems alright. The whole butt thing seemed a bit odd to me, and I would have preferred that she talked under threat of death instead of what we got, but I guess it’s purpose is to setup the dragon as a masochist.

And I have no problems with that, although some may call it cliche at this point. Masochistic side characters in anime seem to be much more common these days, but cliche isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Tsundere could be considered a cliche, but I still love the character archetype. Masochist can be funny when done right, so I’ll reserve my judgement of how it’s done until we see more of the dragon.

In Conclusion…

Honestly, I think this episode was pretty good. Obviously the fight could have been better, but I’m not going to pick on the CGI over and over. It is what it is, and for what we got, I thought it was still enjoyable overall.

The dragon seems like a fun enough character. Considering the tone of the anime has already shifted with the introduction of Shea, it doesn’t feel as odd to get a masochist in the party now. As long as the anime sticks to something, I’m okay with it.

Until next time,
Thanks for reading!

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