So give then the previous episode of Luck & Logic heavily disappointed me, and the fact that I’m lazy, I think I’m going to go back to my less professional format© for TWO this time. That is, rather than watch the full episode then organize my thoughts into essentially a short essay, I’m just going to be making notes as I watch. Hopefully that will be better organized, and easier to read. Also, it should make it easier for you to comment and discuss by pointing to specific lines. Alright? Alright!
a) Yeah, I’m bring back this heading from Higurashi. Anyway, already I’m worried that this will be a repeat of last time because of the thumbnail and description. This image just focuses on two characters without any indication of what’s going on, so this episode probably lacks action and that dynamic character stuff I talked about last week. The description on Funimation’s website only names one character, Chloe, so there’s more confirmation that we’re just developing one character in a vacuum again. Well, on the bright side I kinda like Chloe so far. She’s the DPS fighter of the group, and at least hasn’t done anything to annoy me yet.
b) Since this episode is about Chloe, I thought I’d just peek at her part in the OP again. It’s just her jogging faster than her Goddess is able to ride a bike. So basically she’s awesome but leaves others, including her important allies, behind.
a) As a kid Chloe wanted to be a Logicalist because she thought she’d be better at it than others.
b) A new powerful monster of the week has left some destruction, but the monster itself is nowhere to be found. I’m guessing this is that 9.8 that just sorta appeared than disappeared last episode.
c) We’re told that the monster is a 9.8 and it’s probably really freakin’ powerful.
d) Chloe plays on the computer for a bit, and manages to track down… someone. Apparently it’s the girl we saw Lucifer (I guess he’s the 9.8) trancing with last episode, and gets some information about Lucifer from her.
e) A 4.0 monster appears and Chloe runs off to fight it.
f) A couple more weak level monsters stat popping up in the area. It’s nothing unique or special, but I’d like to point out the use of Non-Diegetic music here. For the characters, this is kind of unusual but not really concerning, after all it’s just a bunch of weaklings. But thanks to the foreboding music, the audience can start to get tense because they realize this is building up to something big. It makes the next few minutes have a nice irony to them, as we watch the Logicalist team (specifically Chloe) charge in unprepared.
Again, this isn’t unique. You see this exactly formula quite a lot in all kinds of film and animation. But it’s applied pretty well here.
g) Everyone (except Yurine and her partner for some reason) trances with their partner, and contact with all the low level monsters is made. Yoshichika and Athena do at 75% trance here, but a few episodes ago we were told that 50% is the standard. Also, we don’t get a good shot of it right away, but their battle outfit looks a bit different. So it looks like we’re going to have progressive evolutionary levels up to that 100% trance. I’m kinda psyched for that.
I always like progressive powers in anime. Where, when push comes to shove, the good guys can reach a new form that will put all their previous forms to shame. The obvious example is DBZ’s Super Saiyans, but these are honestly the least interesting to me. Super Saiyan doesn’t have enough of a definitive “cap”, not enough differentiation, and once one character reaches it there’s really no hype to anyone else reaching it because it’s basically the same for all of them. Gohan was the first to unlock Super Saiyan 2, so when Goku came back in the Buu saga he just skipped right to Super Saiyan 3. Then he hit SS4, so Vegita had to skip over SS3 completely.
The examples I like are where each character gets their own completely new look and move set with each form. Like Digimon, Kill la Kill’s Elite 4, or even Spider Rider’s Oracle Keys. And I think Luck & Logic has to be more in line with those.
h) YES! We have an actual argument between the characters! It’s not fully fleshed out, but it’s enough to tie these elements together in a way episode 3 didn’t. After the fight, Yurine tells Chloe it was irresponsible of her to disobey orders, and Chloe says that going off on her own made the job quicker. I like that she says “quicker”. We’re getting a speed and efficiency motif going with her character, with all the jogging and stuff.
i) Big baddie shows up from the ashes of all the pipsqueaks they just killed, and Yoshichika and Athena have to redeploy while the others recharge. They do another 75% trance, but this time don’t look so different. Was I seeing something that wasn’t there before?
j) Good guys unite and defeat the big baddie (though he’s weakened to 8.0, not 9.8 when they get him), and the day is saved.
3) Chloe’s Background:
a) So right away we’re introduced to a young Chloe watching another new character fight. My first thought was older sister, but the hair colour difference kinda messes that up. Even in anime, hair colour genetics typically hold true. I just wonder if blue hair is recessive or dominant.
b) Okay, I was right about sister, but wrong to assume senpai. Seems like there’s no relation between the two.
4) Chloe’s Development:
a) (following up on 3a) Obviously this is going to be, “I want to be as strong as my senpai,” story, which like with Yurine, isn’t necessarily bad, but there will need to be proper character interaction to bring it out.
b) Never mind, Chloe actually basically accuses the other girl of being weak. “I’d be able to fight better than that.” Looks like this is going to be a case of purely internally motivated determination and affirmation of strength, which could actually work without much character interaction, just a good story conflict. Let me guess, the lesson at the end will be all about teamwork and not focusing on showing off your own strength.
c) The boss lady person comments that Chloe looks happy about them having no leads on some monster. I think this is supposed to mean that she’s happy about getting to fight a tough monster, but how does them having no leads contribute to that? If they had leads, it would mean she’d get to fight it sooner. Maybe I’m just misinterpreting.
d) When the others catch Chloe talking to the girl who tranced with Lucifer, one of them comments, “Chloe’s in out-of-control mode again.” It’s actually a nice bit of context. Apparently this is something she does from time to time, going off on her own to track down and fight monsters. It’s good because it means we don’t have to wonder what triggered this this sudden behaviour that was haven’t seen in previous episodes. Nothing in particular “triggered” it, it’s just a quirk of hers we haven’t seen yet.
e) So the argument between Chloe and Yurine. There’s not to much to say about it, and the argument itself isn’t all that interesting, but it’s the fact that it happened at all that I life. The characters are interacting in a meaningful way, which is exactly what episode 3 lacked.
f) And now Chloe and Yurine are just being children and giving each other the silent treatment while their Goddess try to convince them to make-up. When did this become a thing? Up until now, this episode was just about Chloe, then they happen to have an argument and suddenly it’s about the power of friendship and getting along?
g) Thankfully it gets back on track with Chloe delivering the line, “I’m not some fighting machine who only acts when ordered to!” So this isn’t about her own ambitions to be strong, it’s about measuring her trust and obedience to others against her own autonomy. Okay, that came at me as a bit of a curve ball, but I like it. It’s a much more interesting character topic, and it implicitly engages every character relation in the show. Everyone of of them has to gauge just how much they trust each other, including their own Trance partners, and the organization itself. In fact, last time I took a jab at Yoshichika for unquestioningly following orders to kill. Good on Chloe for being a bit more complex than that.
I really hope this become an ongoing theme, because there’s so much Luck & Logic could do with it. The act of Trancing itself deserves to be explored in this way, especially with the intimate marital style it’s been given.
h) So they eventually reach some kind of compromise where Chloe relies on Yurine to set her up, and Yurine relies on Chloe to land the glorious final hit. It works, and it’s characteristic of each of them as the fighter and the support mage.
a) I’m still really disappointed by these battle scenes. The first one this episode is the one Chloe saw as a kid, and it takes place in a literal arena. The fight doesn’t take advantage of the walls bordering the arena pit, and never goes close to the stands. It’s just used as a flat empty terrain.
b) The episodes final battle still lacked the choreography I’ve been lobbying for for 4 episodes now, but it was at least more colourful and visually distinctive.
6) Athena still sucks:
a) At the end of last episode, we got a bit of intrigue with her where she ran into a powerful male Goddess (I’m sure there’s a better for them than “Goddess”, but it’s been used like, once and was hard to remember) named Lucifer. Coming off of that I was hoping she’d get some actually character development because she’s the dullest and least defined member of the group so far, despite being the partner of the main protagonist. Well, now we know that she sucks at cooking. Look, I know we all have issues with Anno Hideaki, but can we just say that all character-based shounen anime about a group of teenagers/young-adults has to be approved by him? Say what you will about Eva, but no character was allowed to have this much screen time and be this dull.
a) We get one nice sequence in this episode to tell us a bit about Valkyrie, Chloe’s Goddess, and her relation to Chloe. As the smaller monsters start appearing, Chloe tells Valkyrie to meet up with her so they can begin fighting. Their boss has other instructions, but Valkyrie follows Chloe’s directions anyway. So it looks like Chloe isn’t the only rebel. Now, my question is, did Valkyrie go with Chloe because she thought her plan was better, or because she follows Chloe’s authority over their boss’s? Does Valkyrie even follow authority, or is she just like Chloe?
b) After Chloe and Yurine’s fight, Chloe tries to get Valkyrie to agree with her, but Val doesn’t. She just offers a non-comital but clearly unimpressed, “Is that what you think?” So I guess she’s not sold on Chloe’s authority, but then why did she agree to Chloe’s plan earlier? Here is seems like she actually disagreed with it. Maybe she just would rather side with Chloe was she has to, but otherwise remains passive-aggressively uninvolved.
It’s an improvement from episode three, that’s for sure. I want to take that to mean Luck & Logic is headed in a good direction, but that’s what I was saying before episode 3. Still, it was enough to convince me to come back for episode 5.
The character work was much better but is still only scratching the surface of what these characters should be, and I hope a lot more will be fleshed out in the later episodes. Next episode should be able Mana, the sniper, who I’ve like so far so I can look forward to that. And then we’ll see if the Goddesses get the same treatment. What annoys me is that this level of character exploration should have already been finished by this point.
Lucky & Logic is testing my patience, but it turns out I’m not quite done with it yet.
Just, before we end off, what did you think of this format? I’m not sure whether to continue like this (at least for the rest of Luck & Logic) or go back to an essay style. Please let me know in the comments, and let me know what you thought of the episode. Thanks.
Don’t Lose Your Way