Sousei no Onmyouji – 27

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This week Rokuro and Benio merely bookend an a rare episode that focuses on Mayura. When Twelve Guardians member Ikaruga Shimon shows up in Narusaki, she can’t resist the opportunity to become stronger with his instruction. Of course, not before she accidentally barges in on him in the nude; a welcome inversion of the cliche.

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Shimon also happens to have been trained by Seigen (and his praise is one of the only things that brings a smile to his face), so Mayura quickly finds the same style she’s seen her father employ, both on her and on Rokuro. He’s not immediately impressed with Mayura, but can’t deny she learns fast.

When the Dragon Spot appears in town and one of Mayura’s friends is caught in the miasma, Mayura blasts right through Shimon’s logical reasons she shouln’t go in there. To hell with that; protecting people, especially those she cares about, from harm is the reason she’s an exorcist.

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She does what she needs to to to ensure her friend’s safety, leading a near-basara away, then Shimon takes care of the rest, using his Vermillion Wing ability to scoop her to safety with a “princess hold”, then acing the baddie.

Mayura convinces Shimon that she’s definitely exorcist material, even if she doesn’t dream of being The Strongest or creating a world with no kegare. She’s more about realistic, achievable goals, like keeping people safe, even if her pristine skin gets scuffed.

I’ve never minded Mayura, and here she even gets a whiff of a romance with someone not utterly oblivious to her. Plus, she’s already seen him naked, so that’s out of the way! I can’t imagine will see a lot more of the two anytime soon, or if anything more will come of their new friendship, but this broke up the monotony of the Twins’ road trip nicely.

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P.S. I dug the new OP, with an almost Monogatari-style aesthetic and a thumping theme by the band Back-On. The new ED was pretty, if a bit dull.

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Keijo!!!!!!!! – 02

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The Gist: “Cockroach-chan” Kaminashi Nozomi and her room mates in #309 start their first real week of Keijo training. The regimen is detailed, butt specific, and handled about as seriously as any sports anime. Despite the obvious T&A pandering going on, that seriousness really sells it.

Beyond jiggle, the episode’s goal was to introduce the room mates more roundly, and establish their strengths in team work and friendship. cockroach-chan also pulls off a Vacuum Butt Cannon, which impresses the teachers enough to earn her an Ujibe Training Mail swimsuit… that looks like an Alien BDSM getup.

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The Verdict: in many ways episode 2 leaned harder its baser presentation values than episode 1. However, it provided so many magically stupid gems to chuckle at AND some of the action, especially involving Cockroach-chan, is fantastically well rendered.

“Know not thy rump, never shalt thou triumph”

“Asstronomy. It’s the science of the Butt.”

And the homeroom teacher back-smacking an eraser into Cockroach-chan’s head, yes, with her butt. I can’t make this stuff up. It’s wonderful schlock!

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Flip Flappers – 02

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The Gist: without explanation for the evil robots that captured the girls at the close of last week, episode two quickly hops into a conflict between Papika, Cocona and Yayaka. Papika’s too bold and embarrassing for Cocona to be around and Yayaka appears to fear being replaced as the social-convention breaker.

Cocona attempts to avoid Papika through school, but this quickly backfires when Papika joins her class as a transfer student… and Cocona’s green pet rabbit Uexkull gets sucked into the school’s… grass vacuuming robot?

During the ensuing Pure Illusion adventure, the girls gain a stronger mutual understanding. Papika realizes what it is like to be afraid that a friend might be killed and also experiences a ‘power up’ moment like Cocona’s last week. Uexkull even transforms into a male love interest of sorts.

Finally, home again, Cocona agrees to join Papika on adventures regularly. We meet a few of Papika’s coworkers, including Mr Salt, and end with our delightful pair going on another adventure.

Roll credits…

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Flip Flappers really nails a dreamlike aesthetic, with bizarre elements softly moving in and out of the story. The sound design is especially fantastic, with gems like a mooing sound for water drops and the subtle car crash as Cocona lands.

Papika and Uexkull are both adorable too, with wonderful happy expressions and zany body language. The entire segment where the girls become bunnies and must nibble on hard things compulsively, is packed with wide eyed drooling, ‘hard’ objects floating around the characters’ mental space, and miraculously ties into a plot point at the end.

The episode managed to move the plot forward, have a bizarre but well structured adventure, stay subtly creepy, advance character relationships and introduce a new character. The fact that all of it was done well is astounding.

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The Verdict: more than last week, this episode was packed with visual details and wondrous moments that excited me to rewatch. The dreamlike quality is infectious and, that it catches on with Cocona too makes it all the stronger.

Very very nearly a 10

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Soushin Shoujo Matoi – 02

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The Gist: ‘Toi makes it home safely, albeit naked, only to run right into Yuma, who’s somewhat miffed that ‘Toi gets to be the magic girl in their relationship. However, they quickly discover Yuma has a degree of control over the… whatever god or creature that floats around ‘Toi, and that only the two of them can see it.

Meanwhile, demons grab control of other people, Shingo remembers a little bit more about ‘Toi’s mom, Luciela does not much of anything, and there’s a big alternative dimension showdown between ‘Toi and a Monster that is only won when Clarus shows up. (Clarus was called Fatima last week… I’m not sure why)

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What worked: Yuma’s enthusiasm only dips for a short moment at the beginning and, from then on, she’s excitedly getting ‘Toi into trouble. Becoming a local/twitter celebrity and having to wear a silly disguise (because the magical magic girl uniform doesn’t exactly come off) was all enjoyable.

What meh’ed or less: While the magic world fight was comical (‘Toi tried to use a shotgun as a club) it wasn’t exactly exciting. Likewise, Clarus and the conspiracy demon plot is taken a little too seriously for its own good. Maybe that juxtaposition helps the core duo’s antics, or maybe the heavy handedness will become more intentionally ironic over time? For now, it’s the less interesting part.

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Oji’s Verdict: Soushin Shoujo Matoi teeters on earning an 8 for it’s less serious (but not stupid) take on the magic girl genre. Yuma and ‘Toi are enjoyable characters with good chemistry and the underlying gags, that ‘Toi really doesn’t want these powers and these powers are not entirely helpful all the time, are pulled off pretty well.

Overall, the snappy dialog is charm of the core relationship is what sells this. The plot is fairly by-the-book magic girl… without a twist. If that hasn’t made you smile so far, there are plenty more innovative shows to watch this season.

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