In the modern age, potatoes are an oft unappreciated crop; able to thrive in the harshest conditions and extremely nutritious, the sheer impact that they have on maintaining a sustainable population is nothing short of staggering. Even so, cradling potatoes in a box like precious treasures, and people flipping their shit over the miracle of the mashed form, is a bit silly when looked at from our spoiled age of commonplace tubers. Incidentally, I threw on some hashbrowns immediately after finishing this, so it sure did something right by stirring my potato cravings. Goddamn.
Even lighter on the drama than last week, this episode delved further into improving agriculture on a large scale, moving past Crop Rotation Country to cross the border into Potatopolis as Hero and Maou try to convince the clergy to push potatoes onto the famine-stricken peasants like lifesaving drug dealers. Potatoes are regarded with the same importance as cocaine in Scarface, a miracle that leads to money, power, and not starving to death in a hovel with seven other families.
Okay, so maybe potato-pushing is a purely philanthropic gesture on Maou’s part, but the discussion between her and a rather boisterous nun rang more of a drug deal than anything else. Unfortunately, this means we probably won’t get a scene with Maou standing off with dozens of armed thugs in a palatial Miami mansion, but I guess I can live with that, as long as farming practices are explained with the same level of approachability.
Thankfully, the character and world development isn’t just confined to Maou making mooneyes at Hero while lamenting her maid-massaged boobs. That’s certainly its most blatantly awkward element, and it continues to be as clumsily implemented as physically possible, but Maou does have more going for her than… well, you know. Even though her chemistry with Hero is inactive at best, it’s nice to get a glimpse into how she tests the potential of two vastly different organizations to further her own goals; it not only shows how persuasive and plain sly she can be, but it perfectly illustrates how a wide variety of groups, from merchant guilds to the clergy, can help Maou.
For instance, while the church does ultimately look out for itself before its flock, it sits on a foundation of charity and goodwill toward men (but not demons, because ew) and sees the potential use of potato-farming as a means to both further its sphere of influence and help the impoverished. It’s a mark of symbiosis between them and the community.
Completely at odds with the Church, on the far, far, far end of the goodwill spectrum, lies the Guild, which seeks the greatest profit possible, and is not morally opposed to eliminating anybody standing in its way—an organization aptly referred to as a monster by Maou, albeit a useful one. Contrasting with the church’s promise to spread the use of potato farming to the broader population, the Guild jealously guards Maou’s gift, a particularly innovative compass. I doubt this is the last we’ll ever see of their scheming, which only makes me more interested in what potential Maou sees in the group to help further her ambitions. It’s interesting how the two work in Maou’s favor through entirely different means, adding a heap of the potato flavoring that is intrigue.
Much like the concurrently-airing Shinsekai Yori, MMY continues to favor building up its world and its many aspects to character development. Thus far, though it may just be because I like the history of the Middle Ages being applied to a novel with actual characters rather than a dusty textbook, I don’t see any need for this to change when each episode has managed to just fly by and make me crave potatoes in one fell swoop.