Soushin Shoujo Matoi – 04

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The Gist: ‘Toi, Yuma and Clarus bounce from brightly colored dimension to dimension until getting dragged back to Earth to fight Creed Killer. Clarus info dumps about the Nights, but it’s thin info and we’ve heard all of it before.

Clarus also expositions her backstory, which is about the tragic loss of her first partner, Flors, who was a naieve idiot that get royally screwed for trying to talk to Creed Killer.

Then Creed Killer casts a mega black hole but is immediately thwarted by ‘Toi, who summons all of the local gods at once, apparently a special quirk of Japanese culture. Then Clarus kills Creed Killer.

Roll credits…

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introducing Flor… who were told is destroyed in the first flash back… and then is destroyed a few flashbacks later…

Introducing a character as a vehicle to introduce another character is a terrible idea. We barely know Clarus as viewers and what we do know is unlikeable and stupidly arrogant. That doesn’t change just because Flors got herself killed in a pointless way. It certainly doesn’t make Creed Killer interesting, since he’s basically a pure-evil DC’s Joker knock off.

Killing him off immediately doesn’t help anything either. Toi’s sudden super power feels completely unearned — and the mythology isn’t even set up for it.

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‘Toi apparently has rainbow power now. Nope, there was no setup for this during the episode…

Verdict: this episode was so dreadfully cliché, awkwardly put together, and dull above all other things that I walked away from it three times before I could finish. While not strictly ‘terrible’ in an academic sense, I have no patience for a show that is willing to spend 30 minutes with characters staring grimly into space uttering grim-dude sentences that are so generic grim-dude that the subs struggled to make them sound like they were coherently connected to the events of the episode.

Toi and Yuma had little to do, we learned nothing, a villain went from impossibly powerful to totally defeated abruptly, and the support characters sat around uttering nonsense lines. Clarus backup even drives off to his hotel room for a completely pointless conversation… on his cell phone?

I have 3 reliably awesome shows and 1 hit or miss (but occasionally brilliant) show. Three 7s in a row followed by a lower score is basically an automatic DROP in my book.

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Soushin Shoujo Matoi – 03

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The Gist: ‘Toi and Yuma continue to dabble in magic girl hero antics, including another possessed dude bringing demon trouble, culminating in a showdown with another monster. It’s much the same as last week, except this time Clarus gets her butt kicked too and ‘Toi’s latent mom power has to activate and save the day.

While SSM is serviceable as a straight forward rise of an unlikely hero story, with decent graphics and sound, the dynamic between Yuma and ‘Toi continues to be its strongest selling point. The fact that Yuma over explains how embarrassing the situation is is especially charming too.

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“Wow, ‘Toi, this has gotten more than 50 million hits! That means, roughly, 50% of Japan has seen you naked!” – Yuma

Oji’s Verdict: Soushin Shoujo Matoi provides some easy viewing girls against demon bad guys magic action. I’m not sold on the conspiracy going on in the background, and ‘Toi’s sudden power surge to save the day was… generic… to say the least.

However, at the end of the day, not every show needs to be a masterpiece to earn my respect, let alone my eyeballs as a viewer. If you’ve got time, you could do a lot worse than following this.

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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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Soushin Shoujo Matoi – 01 (First Impressions)

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The Gist: demonic creatures are crossing into our reality for reasons unknown, and largely unknown to the public. Luciela Haruka, a blonde woman with a pink hair detail and mega boobs, is investigating for the Anomalous Crimes division — and her investigation has brought her to a small town in Japan!

Local girls Yuma and Matoi work at a 15th century shrine, which quickly gets dragged into things when a painter possessed by a demon goes on a rampage. Fortunately, Yuma finds an ancient scroll while her father (the shrines priest) was trying to impress Luciela, and that scroll may or may not have transformed Matoi into a magic girl.

Also fortunately, Matoi’s dad is the town detective and her mother was most likely a magic girl too, and she makes quick work of the enemy. While she is successful, Matoi is not prepared to be ‘not normal’ and flees to scene… only to become naked in the woods.

Also also also the Vatican has a magic girl named Fatima.

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Soushin Shoujo Matoi may be worth a look if you’re up for another magic girl, twisting family backstory, demonic (alien?) invasion story. It has moments of humor, action, slice of life and mystery — even some tween side boob, if that’s your thing.

It mostly looks good. The rendering is weirdly styled, mixing competent but distorted, clunky figures, against richly rendered backgrounds. The color pallete is broad and well structured and the figures, while ‘off‘ looking are shot from many dynamic angles and in strong compositions.

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You may not be into Soushin Shoujo Matoi because it’s throwing an awful lot of stuff our way and none of it is especially grounded or set up. Matoi’s freak out at the end of the episode over ‘not being normal’ just comes out of nowhere. Similarly, Yuma’s decision to jump in front of a hulk-rage monster to perform a dance she’s just seen for the first time on a scroll because she’s excited to become a powerful priestess is kinda unbelievable.

And, if you’re a long time RABUJOI reader, you don’t even need to get me started about the Engrish dialog in the opening scene. To be fair, it was actually so appallingly bad, I laughed at it…

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Oji’s Verdict: While the opening fight between engrish speaking English soldiers almost turned me off, the good enough visuals, predictable but pleasant narrative twists, and an overall incompetent charm kept me watching all the way through.

I definitely don’t think Soushin Shoujo Matoi is a good show but I also don’t think it’s that bad either. If you have the time, give the first episode a watch.

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