Okay, everyone who wrote this series down really needs to take a look at episode six. The children’s elements are still clearly visible, but apart from that, the episode’s brilliant! It nearly killed me from laughter at times.
I knew it was a good idea to keep following this series. We start with our “heroes” walking over a very fragile and more importantly long bridge between two floating islands, over a vast mass of nothingness. There’s no continuity in these masses, and Laharl quickly gives Flonne a demonstration of their characteristics. ^^ They then end up at another large, dark castle, at which the one who put the reward on Laharl’s head is said to live. They got the directions from Sardia, from last episode.
Inside the castle, Laharl puts his plan of collecting his own reward into action. He sees a butler (a miniature-zombie with a very introvert personality), who tells him the master of the house is coming soon. The master appears to be an extremely girly demon, up to the point at which it becomes funny. He gets giddly over everything. Then, Etna reveals to be actually working for this guy. She grabs a large, black box and captures Flonne and Laharl into it.
The black box appears to be a kind of board-game, at which the ones who get caught into it will be living out random lives for all eternity. I so loved this. You can really see that the creators had lots of fun trying to think of different roles for Laharl and Flonne to play (imagine seeing Flonne as the leader of a motor-gang, hairstyle included, and Laharl as a ballet-dancer and a sumo-wrestler ^^).
Etna, meanwhile, has problems of her own. It appears that she actually had some reasons to work for the castle lord (apparently named Maderas), as he stole some of her memories. She worked out her part of the deal, so she asks Maderas to give in to his part. Of course, this is a children’s anime and Maderas is a devil, so he refuses. Etna notices him looking at a suspicious-looking painting, so she suspects the memories to be there. She gets kicked out by Maderas, who goes to take a shower afterwards. She sneaks in, only to find the memories being absent from behind the painting and realizing she walked into a trap.
Maderas threatens to let her memories lose upon the demon-world. These memories come in three different kinds of levels, ranging from mildly to normal to highly embarrassing memories. Furthermore, these seem to be memories of an unrequited love. I wonder who the person that she loves might be. It doesn’t get mentioned anywhere in the episode. Still, it does show that the show is actually capable of delivering some character background. Laharl also gets a bit, in a flashback at which his father tries to teach him a lesson about the reliability of demons. Very enjoyable indeed.
I loved Etna at this part. She tries a bit of acting, and ends up imitating a crying little girl. Too cute. Maderas then tells her that he’ll give her her memories back, if she throws the box with Laharl and Flonne in it in the fire. You would expect an Etna who begins to struggle with her feelings. Hell no! She just throws them in the fire, like it’s nothing. When Maderas again breaks his promises, Etna really gets angry, and Mid-Boss arrives to save the day. At least, that’s his version. As he stands outside, the fog surrounding the castle blinds him, he throws some random roses, and disappears again. ^^
The roses, however, hit three suspicious Prinny statues, revealing them to be actual Prinnies, petrified. They then reveal that Maderas put the memories inside the Prinnies for safe-keeping (you were expecting a quest through the castle in order to find al three of them, weren’t you? ;)). With this, Etna feels confident enough to release Laharl and Flonne from their burning prison, after which she quickly hurries to silence the Prinnies, who nearly can’t bear to not tell about her embarrassing memories.
I’ll ignore the next scene for now. Basically, Maderas summons an army of mechanical angels who keep yelling peace-inducing quotes. This doesn’t really work, and it gets carried a bit too far. Flonne is about the only one who can manage to do this right. Laharl manages to recover in time, and Etna takes gets scary. She then reveals her motivations for helping him. She was actually waiting for the right opportunity in order to get revenge on the bastard who ruined her life. The Prinnies, meanwhile, can’t hold back anymore, and release Etna’s memories. Everyone inside the castle gets to see them. The viewers, however, don’t. Like I said, I wonder whether we’ll be able to see them once. Eventually, Laharl and Etna manage a truce.
This anime is actually well developed, full of surprises, and there’s been an exceptional attention to detail. The bridge, for example. Flonne breaks one step of it, and some pieces of wood fall down. About a minute later, we see the same wood, falling down again, suggesting the dimensional gateway between the top and bottom. Laharl sees this as well, so he sends Flonne into the void as well, knowing that she’ll just end up back at the bridge. Flonne also notices a rose-petal before the three of them enter the castle. This suggests that Mid-Boss is in the area, just waiting to make an appearance. Etna, also sees Maderas look at his portrait in a very suspicious way, and figures that her memories might be there. Then, this seems to have been the intention of Maderas all along. And the Prinny Statues. I kept wondering why Maderas would keep some statues of a Prinny, but then it appeared that they were to actually guard Etna’s memories. It’s these little details that I can appreciate.
In terms of voice-acting, this anime also is amazing. Especially Laharl, and most importantly Etna and Flonne sound awesome. Flonne with her screaming is just way too cute, and Etna’s voice really fits her when she turns evil and manipulative. In terms of the relationships between the different characters, this anime also is brilliant. Just think of Etna who desperately tries to stop the Prinnies from doing something stupid, Laharl ignoring Flonne on short terms, but getting more used to her on long terms, Etna either being incredibly dependant or incredibly manipulative towards Laharl and Mid-Boss trying to get our heroes’ attention at almost every episode, only to disappear five seconds later.
Overall, this anime is going into the right direction. Elements of children’s shows are definately visible, but they’re packaged inside something brilliant. It’s just too bad of episode 3 and 4. These seemed to make no sense at all, and the more I think about it, the more badly they were executed.