Chained Soldier episode 2 aired on Thursday, following up the series premiere with better production, action, and of course, fan service. While the episode isn’t anything spectacular it was undoubtedly enjoyable from start to finish with a lot more comedy than last week.
Shushu herself made this episode amusing. If any of the other characters were to have an episode like this with Yuuki, I can’t see it being as comedic or entertaining. Showing off some of her power in front of Yuuki only to have him save her was sort of cheesy, but it still made for some good fun since we had developments on Yuuki’s powers because of it. Is it the best writing in the world? Absolutely not. And that’s not what Chained Soldier is supposed to be like.
Shushu herself has set up some interesting possibilities with the later story, given how much “evidence” she has against Yuuki. Look, I’m not expecting this series to have some sort of Good Night World twist at this point in time but having those pictures in her back pocket as a means of blackmail is hilarious and, for lack of a better phrase, keeps Yuuki on a shorter leash than he already has with Kyouka.
I’m not usually a fan of the teasing type of anime characters. Their novelty gets old pretty quickly unless they have some development themselves or with the main character they’re involved with. Luckily, it seems like Shushu has some more to expand on given her love interest with Yuuki. The funniest part of all, given your sense of humor, is that her view of him seemed to change after she saw what Yuuki is made of.
All the girls have established their views on Yuuki at this point and I’m glad this series doesn’t waste any time with that. Kyouka sees him as a fighting companion more than anything. Shushu sees him either as a love interest or a pet — maybe it’s both. The water is muddy with that situation after how the episode ended. Himari also hates all men and thinks having a guy in an all-girls place is immoral — possibly tsundere. Meanwhile, Nei has taken on the role of the sweetheart sensei who wants to help Yuuki.
So it’s nice seeing everyone’s “role” established just two episodes into the season. It paved a clear path for the next group of characters to come in and now it seems like we’ll be properly introduced to the first villain next week. The writing isn’t the best compared to other animes this season, but it’s certainly not the worst. I said this before — Chained Soldier has an obvious target audience and it’s feeding into that heavily.
Despite the odd production credits in comparison to last week’s episode, the overall quality of the episode definitely took a spike this week and I was thoroughly hyped to see it. While Gorou Koji returned this week to handle the storyboard, Kazunobu Fuseki took the reigns as the episode director. There were some moments in particular, like below, that really took me by surprise.
Last week, I was critical of the production. Some things I liked, some things I didn’t. But with episode 2, I rarely found myself noticing any hiccups besides some odd facial feature placements. The color design in this episode was a lot better and it felt like it had a little creative touch at times from Fuseki. What’s odd is that, despite just two episodes in, Chained Soldier has outsourced the 3D work to nine different studios already. Even Asura Film was credited with animation direction for the episode and they’re not known for their animation at all.
Regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes with the production, the episode still looked great. Kyouka’s moment hitting the Shuuki with a combo looked and sounded solid. I loved the consistently good framing in this episode. The perfect angles used and how sometimes Shushu’s size became too big for the frame itself — spotlighting her ability with a creative touch from Fuseki and Koji.
The cartoonish faces also stood out to me because they’re almost just as they are in the manga. The voice cast also did a perfect job with the reactions and are just how I imagined them, even though it’s a small aspect of the episode itself. The comedy gave the episode a bit of pazazz that meshed well with the fan service and action of the episode. Having that all come to a halt at the end with an intriguing cliffhanger showed that the series can do a little bit of everything in the right way.
The production ultimately decided to leave out a hot springs scene that involved Rei and Himari playing around and laughing. Instead, they switched it out with Himari just getting in and out of the hot springs herself. Fans might’ve been upset leaving this out after watching the uncensored version but I think it was ultimately the right call.
Chained Soldier Episode 2 Wrap-Up
As the episodes pass, there isn’t anything necessarily unique to writing long reviews like I usually do with series such as Jujutsu Kaisen or 86 Eighty-Six. The series is simply proving to be a gloriously ecchi-filled action with a sprinkle of comedy. While we haven’t gotten into the “dark” parts of the series yet, there’s still much more to come. In what I consider a horrible week 2 for the Winter 2024 season, Chained Soldier episode 2 was a highlight.
Episode 2 rating: 8.5/10
If you enjoyed Chained Soldier episode 2 then be sure to vote for it in our weekly poll! Episode 3 of Chained Soldier will be released on Thursday, January 18. HIDIVE is streaming the uncensored version of the anime.
Image sources via HIDIVE
© Takahiro / Yohei Takemura / Shueisha / Magic Defense Corps Public Relations Department