Wow so they actually managed to cover a lot more than I expected this episode. The first half was really well done, it was well paced out, we got some development in the Saint’s powers, then surprise! Turns out the expedition to the Western Woods was featured this week too!
Since Sei has been able to get access to the forbidden area of the library, she has been quite enthusiastic about reading up on on a variety of plants that may offer potential for creating new medicine/potions. Hilariously, she had been quite excited into looking up poisonous plants, to which Yuri teased her about how she must be thinking about murdering someone. That cracked me up real good. But in all fairness, Sei was looking into that because she was looking for potential herbs she could use to create new recipes to try and create more powerful potions. It just goes to show when it comes to brewing potions, you could say Sei is as obsessed about it as Yuri is about research. She can’t pull herself away from it, she wants to learn as much as she can.
So when Yuri told her how plants and other living things possess some quantity of magic, he suggested she should try imbuing them with her magic and Sei turns her attention to how she can imbue her magic onto the plants in hopes to increase the plant’s medical potency. The goal was to make it so the plants are already imbued with that 50% boost, which would allow the other researchers to brew potions while retaining the same effect.
The first thing she decides to do is create ‘Holy Water’ to use for the institute’s garden. It was an idea that was inspired by the games she used to play back in her origin world, and even thought of trying to use the same mechanism in the crafting process, which led her to asking Yuri about ‘Blessings’. Unfortunately she learned there isn’t anything of the sorts in this world, but it was thanks to that idea that she learned from Yuri about the one kind of magic that is known to be effective against all types of monsters and purifies the miasma, and that is the Saintly Conjury. Apart from the fact Yuri knows it exists, there is little to no records detailing anything about it apart from the few casters who were able to cast it, or just stories and rumors of it being used. So there’s no real way to explaining how it was done in the first place.
And after many failures, Sei eventually managed to do it two times. Subconsciously of course, so she doesn’t understand yet how or why she was able to use it.
But for us the audience, it’s not too hard to piece together what contributed to casting it. The first time was when she thought about the people she cared about in this world, and her earnest desire to help them. And the second time was her desperation to protect Albert when he was attacked by a Saber-tooth monster. (And that time was significantly more powerful than the first.)
Which leads us, to the second half of the episode: The Expedition.
Finally, the time has come for Sei to join the expedition into the Western Woods as a Healer. Naturally it is not something to be excited about, especially considering how many came back from it gravely wounded.
But when you stop and think about it for a moment, it’s actually quite terrifying how quickly they threw her into the Western Woods. Sure she is a powerful healer, and she knows some degree of defense magic, but eek! The scariest part about this is that they were sending her out into one of the most dangerous forests as her first mission as support! Without the Saintly Conjury, even with her remarkable healing ability and potions, there is no way this mission would have ended well without it. And it’s all because of that miasma swamp. It had to be purged, otherwise powerful monsters would continue spawning from it and they would have no choice but to retreat and hope they make it out in one piece.
And oh gosh the Saintly Conjury… Talk about OP. But what I didn’t expect was to burst out laughing the moment she cast it. I don’t know about you, but I thought it was absolutely hysterical how the Saintly Conjury freaking YEETED that Sabertooth off of Albert and into oblivion, especially with the Salamander! While that monster wasn’t actually thrown off anywhere, it vaporized so fast that I had thought it had been cast away, which unintentionally made the scene way more funny to me than it actually was.
Another thing I thought to be relatively amusing was the fact the Salamander was actually overshadowed by the Sabertooths. Sure it caused some problems here and there, but in the end, the one that actually triggered Sei into using the Saintly Conjury was the Sabertooth when it got a good chomp into Albert’s shoulder.
(I suppose we can add the Sabertooth to the list of monsters that Sei saved Albert’s life from).
Besides the Saintly Conjury, we also got to see just how powerful the enchantment in Sei’s hair clip is. Boy Albert gave her an excellent gift, because just as it was intended to protect her, it saved Sei’s life. It appears it was imbued with Albert’s magic, which would explain why an ice wall came out when she was about to be scorched by the Salamander’s flames.
But I’m going to be honest with you here, I am disappointed with the underwhelming delivery of the expedition’s fights. While this event is quite short in the novel, I feel like at least we actually got to see Sei in action more in that than we did here. That’s why I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated that they didn’t dedicate more time this event. Additionally, this was Sei’s first real experience in combat, so I was hoping the anime would take the liberty to embrace the action scenes by further fleshing them out, and allow to us see Sei and others perform more than we did today. And this is such a shame because for the bits of the fight we did get, animation was absolutely gorgeous. I really wished we had the opportunity to see more of it for this expedition. At least I appreciated getting the chance to see Albert use his ice magic in combat, and Yuri flaunt his powers (he is no joke). That was definitely something I was excited to see. But still, we only actually got to see Sei, Albert and Yuri actively fight two or three times in the entire fight and the rest were pan-shots.
Overall while I wished we got to see more of the expedition’s battle, as a whole this was another real solid episode. The highlight of this episode was actually with Yuri. When he gets excited about something, he becomes so lively and passionate that he brings in so much energy and humor to the story. This is pretty important given how the majority of the characters have been quite mellow. So when you throw in an eccentric researcher like him who cannot contain his excitement, it’s a lot more fun to watch. It was absolutely hilarious and even adorable how excited he was when he heard about Sei’s mysterious magic cast in the garden. He couldn’t contain himself at all! It was also amusing how bored he was with how the weak the monsters were when they first entered the woods. You can tell he was almost more enthusiastic once they the battles became a lot more dangerous and difficult. There was also a moment when you might think he was jealous of Sei and Albert being close to each other, after having noticed she was quite flustered around him. It is hard to tell exactly how Yuri feels about Sei, considering we know very well that he seeks to unravel the mysteries of the Saint’s powers.
There was also a brief moment where we got to see Sei thinking about her origin world. It was quickly overshadowed by the Saintly Conjury activating, but considering we just got to learn about Aira’s sentiment of home, this does bring about an interesting comparison. Unlike Aira, Sei doesn’t really miss home. It appears she didn’t have any significant attachments to make her miss it. This could explain why it has become more difficult to recall her world lately, especially since she says she is much happier in this world. She described it to be much warmer than the one she has left behind. Again, since I have only read up to Volume 4, unlike Aira, we don’t know anything about Sei’s family, or if she even has any family to return to.It would be nice if we eventually learn a bit more about that, but I won’t be holding my breath for it, and I won’t consider it to be the end of the world if we never hear about it either.
And with this, the adaption should finish covering Volume 2 next week. I suspect they will probably tease the start of Volume 3 in the post-credit. Otherwise who knows, they might decide to start it half way or in the third quarter of the episode. Nevertheless, while I expected and was initially excited to see Volume 3 be adapted, I can’t help but feel a little iffy about it. I’m mostly nervous about the possibility of squeezing both Volume 3 and 4 into the very few episodes we have left. Even if they were to start halfway or three quarters into next week’s episode, that still only leaves us with three (maybe three and half) episodes to potentially cover both volumes. In any case, I would feel a lot more comfortable with them just adapting Volume 3 instead of trying to cram both volumes into the remaining episodes. Maybe I would feel a bit more comfortable with that if this series was supposed to have thirteen episodes, but unfortunately it is listed to only have twelve. Of course it would be nice if they were to announce a second cour, where they would adapt volume 4, but I am not to hold my breath for it.