After back-to-back weeks of people talking in board rooms, it's finally time for World Trigger to return to the Rank Wars! Which of course means several minutes of people talking in board rooms. But this time, they're talking about how to beat each other up! Or at least Oji Squad and Tamakoma 2 are doing that. Ikoma Squad, enlightened geniuses that they are, spend their pre-battle meeting talking about the new dishes being served in the Border mess hall. And who can blame them for being distracted by something as good as a tuna cutlet bowl? It's tuna. In a cutlet. Over rice. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. Ikoma Squad's got it all figure out, I tell ya.
Oji Squad, meanwhile, is a lot more meticulous. They've chosen a standard map in order to balance out the odds against Tamakoma 2's terrain-based strategies, and set up a strong plan for cornering Osamu that we see play out across the latter half of the episode. At the same time, we see Tamakoma 2 setting up their own countermeasures, astutely anticipating their opponent's actions and working to counter them before the fight's even begun. It feels cliché to say it, but at times it really does feel like a pair of high-level chess players trying to outmaneuver each other, and it keeps the back half of this episode feeling tense throughout. Which is why it's so unfortunate that Oji has the horrible character quirk of giving the other characters weird nicknames, calling Kuga “Cougar” and the like. Listen jerk, I have enough trouble managing my spreadsheet of World Trigger's 200+ named characters already, I don't need you throwing punny nicknames into the mix too. I knew I was right to hate Oji, and I can't wait for somebody to chop this guy's Trion head off.
In the meantime though, we also have Hyuse's initiation to Border to pay attention to. We don't see much of it this week, but we get a foreboding pitstop with some of the higher-ups, to offer even more commentary on last week's negotiations. Something that was easy to overlook amid all the deals was that neither Osamu nor Kido ever broached the topic of what will happen to Hyuse once the away team reaches Aftokrator – and it turns out that was intentional. Both know that if he's ultimately loyal to his homeworld, he'll be nothing but a liability the moment they arrive – and while in any other shonen series I'd be rest assured that the Power of Friendship would get him to switch sides, that's not really how World Trigger operates. Hyuse is a dedicated and disciplined soldier, and no amount of teamwork lectures is going to sway him without some greater push. This is all, of course, a long-off hypothetical considering Tamakoma 2 hasn't even made the cut for the expedition, but it's something to keep in mind. Our heroes may have gotten what they wanted, but it's not necessarily on their terms.
Otherwise, this is a solid opening act for another round of Rank Wars, but nothing terribly eventful. Oji Squad make for effective opponents, but they're largely lacking in personality, so giving them the lion's share of the early battle means a less engaging introduction. Thankfully it looks like Yuma and Chika are positioned to take at least two of them out, and I for one welcome the chance for Ikoma Squad to do something next. Just look at him, standing there. You just know he's gonna do something cool.
World Trigger Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.