After a heartwarming episode 3, three of the four Cardinal Heroes reunite once more in what is arguably the best episode of the season! Now, Naofumi has to convince Motoyasu and Ren to work together with him. But it won’t be easy, for an old enemy returns.
The first eight minutes of the episode is actually comedic and lighthearted. We see more of Naofumi’s life in Lurolona Village, acting less of a ruler and more of a surrogate father dealing with a lot of kids.
Atla and Fohl don’t get much screen time, but an interesting newcomer briefly shows up: S’yne, also known as the Murder Clown.
What is she doing here? No one really knows, but it’s still hilarious how she acts like a homeless girl, and an adorable one at that, while proving that the village’s defenses is still weak if she can simply stroll inside without being noticed.
Of course, her presence isn’t tolerated, so she has to leave. But it’s obvious that this won’t be the last time we’ll see her.
With his errands in his lands over, Naofumi finally journeys to find the missing Spear Hero. And as luck would have it, Motoyasu is in the same town as the one Naofumi stopped by.
But something is wrong with Motoyasu. Gone is the arrogant and energetic guy we saw in previous seasons; instead, there’s only a shadow of his former self.
Much of this can be attributed to his own actions. After a disastrous fight with the Spirit Tortoise, his party left him to fend for his own. Oddly, the episode doesn’t explain well why Motoyasu couldn’t just find replacements, though his own ego is probably the issue.
Whatever the case is, the Spear Hero is in no fit state to fight. Fortunately, Ren is in the same vicinity.
Unfortunately, so is Malty.
Out of the four Cardinal Heroes—aside from Naofumi, of course—the Sword Hero Ren seems to be the most level-headed. Or at least he should be, if not for his own flaws of treating the entire situation like a game. And with this kind of flaw, it is easy to make mistakes with dire consequences.
Ren isn’t a bad person by any means, but he can be quite proud and irresponsible. Naturally, he doesn’t blame himself for the death of his party, though he feels guilty and doesn’t even hide it. Of course, this is an attitude that Naofumi really hates, and we are treated with a scene of the Shield Hero scolding the Sword Hero like a very pissed off older brother.
But this kind of behavior is also susceptible to manipulation. Sure enough, Naofumi is reunited with the person he hates most: Malty.
We’ve seen the former princess’s poisonous words at work during the first season, but it seems she has only gotten worse. After abandoning Motoyasu, and treating him no differently than she does Naofumi, Malty sinks her claws into Ren this time.
The result? A very unreasonable and hostile Ren, a far cry from his stoic and cool personality. He even attacks Naofumi inside a crowded establishment before leaving, and it is really frustrating how Malty spins a twisted tale that he believes without hesitation. Even Motoyasu’s own account does little to convince him.
Motoyasu’s dalliances with women led to his fall from grace, but his dive into the abyss is far from over. For while he apparently hates women now, he has acquired a different kind of obsession.
Or more specifically, Filo herself after witnessing her singing and dancing in the inn. And even though the show portrays it as rather comedic, Motoyasu’s broken mind and hilarious antics make it every bit as creepy as it looks. After all, who in their right mind would hit on a child?
Thankfully, he receives his karma when he insults Raphtalia and receives a total beatdown. But it is still unnerving how he seemingly wants to marry Filo. In a way, this is better than falling into depression, and he is actually more friendly this time.
If only he doesn’t act like a total pervert.
Episode 4 packs so much content in just 21 minutes, making it one of the best episodes to date without a fight scene. Seeing the characters’ growth after two seasons displayed here is fun, especially the various interactions and dialogues. For the first time, we are returning to a substantial storytelling, and it will be interesting to see what the plot’s future holds.
Episode score: 8/10