Episode 12 – Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout

My god they actually did it. No, they didn’t commit to Tachibana and Jinguuji as a trashboi OTP, but for the first time in possibly the entire show, they actually let our central couple have a sincere moment of connection and vulnerability. And they even managed to extricate that annoying brainwashing part without it getting in the way of the important stuff! Good on ya, show.

Though my (incredibly biased) favorite part of this finale is definitely Schwartz von Lichtenstein Lohengramm of all people having to be the emotionally mature adult in the situation, and straight-up tell Jinguuji that there’s nothing wrong or shameful about showing he cares about Tachibana. This boy may be a dipstick in SAO cosplay, but even he knows that It’s important to tell your friends how much they mean to you, because otherwise they’ll never know. You know you’ve got some serious emotional hang-ups when a chuuni high-schooler is your relationship counselor.

It’s a good thing Jinguuji regains his super strength here, because it turns out he’s got a whole airport of baggage he’s been carrying around. We’d seen bits and pieces of his past and a less-than-happy family life, but here we see just how deep that all burrowed. He was raised not just in a strict and traditional household, but one that sought to stomp out any perceived weakness or vulnerability in Jinguuji as a child, teaching him that relying on others was shameful, and to remain stoic no matter what. It’s a toxic mindset that he only barely escaped thanks to Tachibana’s friendship, but it’s left him all but incapable of being emotionally honest or vulnerable with anyone. But with the help of Love Doctor Schwartz, and with his only real friendship on the line, he’s finally able to open up.

By which I mean he opens up the entire Hoover Dam and floods millions of metric tons of emotions on Tachibana all at once. It’s astounding just how long his Friendship Rant goes on without pause, and even more impressive that it so masterfully straddles the line between sincere sentiment and the sardonic humor the show is built upon. You really do get the sense that all the little quirks to Tachibana’s personality, from mundane things like how he likes animals, to how much he considers others around him, are important enough to Jinguuji that he’s got them all committed to memory. The romantic subtext there is obvious to everyone except Jinguuji himself, but of course we can’t actually resolve that, so instead Tachibana just blushes into another dimension at the onslaught of affection. Thus their initial game of Gay Chicken is back in full force, ready to drive both these crazy idiots until they finally admit their feelings.

It’s a great punchline to go out on, and only slightly hampered by the need to stretch out the denouement to lead into a potential second season. Not that I’d be unhappy if a sequel happened – one of my biggest disappointments with the show is how its extended cast has largely been left by the wayside, so the idea of ​​Yggie and the other characters all venturing out on their own journeys with the promise of encountering our heroes again is a good one. I’d just prefer if the show hadn’t spent quite so long on what amounts to “and their adventures continued!” coda.

On the whole though, Total Fantasy Knockout has been a fun time. It’s had its weaker episodes and clunky jokes, but at its best this series could be a crass and loud blast. I just wish it had been at its best more often than it was, because there are a couple episodes that are total riots, balancing the various characters and punchlines perfectly, while more than a few averaged out to “okay” after meandering around with weak gags for far too long. As it stands it’s still a solid comedy, and one of the more entertaining isekai of this season, but I can’t give it a particularly strong recommendation. I can, however, hope it does well enough that they actually give us a full Schwartz spin-off.

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Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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