This episode is really what you'd call a mixed bag. It has some really good voice acting and story development as Jubei-chan decides to return the lovely gantai to Koinosuke. Her decision to live as Nanohana Jiyu and as a normal junior high school student is quite understandable especially given the reality of school life. Who needs the added pressure of a strange eyepatch which turns you into some incredible fighter? (Might be a cute idea to the imagination but in all practicality?) Especially when the person in question has no interest in martial arts or swordfighting.
However, despite Jiyu's wish to live a normal life, circumstances in the form of two new homeroom teachers, conspire against her. Mind you, if this weren't the case, we'd have no story whatsoever for this series. As it is, we still don't have much in the way of actual story development to date beyond character introductions. How long this will continue given that this is a short series is going to prove fairly crucial. While younger viewers may continue to be held captive by the fast-paced action and fun in the series, some people may start losing interest if we're going to see the same concept being presented in yet another form. Someone wants to challenge Jubei to a duel and ends up being defeated.
The voice acting definitely works to keep viewers into watching the story. Nakazaki Tatsuya does a solid job at the start of the episode in depicting Ryujoji Shiro's utter confusion over Jiyu and Jubei. Likewise, the music works well with the animation and voice acting although, I'm finding that some of the music is getting used a bit too much and is becoming obvious in their recycling. However, most people will probably be able to enjoy the music as is.
The animation is also showing a bit of a drop in overall quality as we see a number of scenes being repeated and heavier use of stills. While there were a number of stills used in the second episode as well, it's even more apparent with some sequences within this episode being reused. Likewise, there is heavy use of speed lines and plain coloured backgrounds in motion shots. Even so, there are some very nicely detailed shots as well.
The constant use of comic relief and humour throughout the episode is starting to get tiresome now, especially given the lack of actual story. The only positive aspect is that much of this episode is devoted to character development and filling out past information which helps keep viewers interested.
- JYN, 2001.04.01