Episode 40 starts out with nearly four minutes of recap, between the new standard recap and then showing a scene from Episode 39 almost in its entirety and part of another scene from the previous episode. From here, the remainder of the first half of the episode is spent setting up the next battle in the B-Rank Wars. A lot of time in this section is spent on the commentators, whether it’s introducing the commentators for this battle or on the actual opening commentary.

Once the B-Rank War battle gets started, the episode utilizes a combination of showing some of the action taking place with cutaways to the commentators explaining what’s going on. At one point, this even includes explaining the concept of pinpoint defense after someone involved in the battle activates it. And we also get to see a flashback during this battle, which actually comes courtesy of Yuma instead of Osamu.

While I know a lot of this appeared in the original manga source material, it really didn’t translate well to animation. Unfortunately, these elements made it feel like the episode was being stretched out, and also made Episode 40 an overall boring viewing experience. Of course, having two scenes from Episode 39 shown almost in their entirety early on didn’t help matters. While I’m glad this battle wasn’t rushed through like the previous one had been, it instead feels like the writer is trying to stretch it out a little in order to have it continue in the next episode.

But from what we see of the actual battles, Osamu appears to have come up with a pretty decent strategy. It definitely involves the use of distraction on a couple of occasions, which has worked up to this point.

Hopefully Episode 41 can focus a little more on the action of the battle and a little less on all the commentary, but I’m not holding my breath. Considering there are still 10 more episodes to go, I’m afraid stretching the story out will probably become the norm.

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