LasDan is definitely ramping up for its seeming season finale storyline at this point. There are a surprising number of moving parts they’re bringing in to set all this up, which means I would ordinarily advise that I hope you’ve been paying attention. But that’s a stone for dedication to detail I can’t cast, as much of the background info and world-building have been thus far so distantly and irreverently set up that it’s largely glossed over me (I even referred to Vritra as a dragon last week when he is, in fact, a snake!). On the other hand, plot-driving pint-sized powerhouse Alka gets accused of the same level of ongoing story ignorance in-show in this episode, with other jokes made about the unimportance of the broad-strokes in-universe backstory stuff, so maybe it’s not the thing I or any other viewers should worry about too much.
If either Alka or myself had been paying attention, we probably would have picked up quicker on how much Eug was obviously up to no good, but I suppose I was too easily taken with how generally cool a character she seemed to be. She turns to show her true colors here, because there’s only one more episode to go after this one and it turns out she’s been running all the villains since the beginning, with nary a substantial motivation beyond your usual JRPG final boss logic of needing to remake the world for some reason. It feels like every escalating reveal we get of a new bad guy pulling all the strings in this story just increases how esoteric their antagonism actually is, but again, that kind of generic threat is less important in its reasoning than it is in simply existing so we can see what our heroes are actually going to do about it.
Some of the process of getting there is still pretty funny, at least. There are some interesting details thrown out, like how the Last Dungeon that gives this show its title really is so important as to have the whole world effectively revolve around it, and I also appreciate the amusing reveal that the ‘regular’ dungeons that adventurers just raid for loot were mainly built as decoys for this big bad thing. And then as soon as that explanation starts to get too long-winded itself, that’s when Eug throws in the bit about the details not being that important, which both keeps the tone of the show paced well and fits with her true, duplicitous nature! And it transitions into the immediate, inexplicable absurdity of Vritra’s restoration/sealing being presented as a cooking show. That’s the kind of insanity I’ve wanted more of all series from LasDan, I’d be way more absorbed by its lore and developments if they were all presented as stupid skits filled with funny faces.
Everything in the revealed conspiracy for this episode hinges on the delightfully-delivered setup of sealing Vritra and weakening Alka, but after that the show shifts back into rote setup mode and starts losing me again. There is something superficially satisfying about the structure of Eug jumping through hoops to leave the two most powerful characters, Alka and Lloyd, behind while virtually every other character from the show’s run makes their way back into the plot for this finale. Even Methophan returns to town with the group, and Rol is back too to reveal Eug’s true nature in a way that definitely doesn’t come off like a twist conceived after the fact. Beyond herding all those cats in for the climax though, so much of this section of the episode feels dedicated to faffing about, our non-Lloyd heroes hanging out in tournament venues and alleyways almost explicitly killing time before the next episode can start.
One bright spot with this setup at least is that Riho ends up being our de facto focal character for this section. I continue to enjoy watching her have anything to do, and as the one of the main cast with more than a couple brain cells to rub together, it’s downright relieving each step of the way to see her quickly figure out what’s really going on with Eug and her conspiracy. I can imagine putting the onus of following these plot bread-crumbs on the likes of Selen or Phyllo would just be infuriating, and Riho’s little aside gags about getting to sell the clothes she scored back in Kunlun at least feel a little fresher than some of the series’ other more played-out jokes. At least until the bit about the panties comes back, though that’s mercifully brief.
It leaves us with another perfectly functional episode of LasDan, if also lighter on actual humor and still feeling rather clunky in its actual storytelling. Given the show’s penchant for ultimate anticlimax, I do have to wonder what kind of a finish we’re really setting up for with all of this. I’m not sure if I would prefer all these recent escalations and explanations to wind up with the show finally going somewhere, or if it’s better off with simple deflation to pure humor. The series itself has seemed uncertain of that throughout its run as well. It seems like the ways it builds up its plots never turn out too seriously, but then it still lets the humor result as rather low-key like 75% of the time. It means at this point I can’t really predict how this last section of Last Dungeon will shake out, but that doesn’t necessarily make me excited about any of the possibilities of what might happen.
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