Majimoji Rurumo – 12 (Fin)

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“I want to wear that…”

Kouta and Rurumo’s romance was always simple and sweet, based on mutual kindness and fondness, with little in the way of serious drama getting in the way of their happiness. The only kink was Ruru’s training; to complete it Kouta would have to spend all of his magical tickets, whereupon his life would end. But that’s just not how things ended up working out.

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Look at this guy…working a job so he can surprise Rurumo. This is what a man is.

The tickets, in the end, kinda fell by the wayside, along with the vast majority of magical stuff; something I really didn’t mind at all. As much as I enjoy magical shows, I was more invested in the human relationship being cultivated than any magical bureaucratic nonsense going on in the background. The show seems to understand this as well, which is what makes Rurumo’s explanation of what the heck happened for most of the episode a pleasant surprise.

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*touch*

It all starts as New Year’s nears, and Kouta seeks something to present to Ruru as a token of his affection, and finds it in a rather expensive yukata rental he must work a part-time job to afford. First of all, kudos to Kouta: he’s become a fine young man, and his perverse tendencies have become almost as peripheral as the magic tickets. He can’t use those to make money, because it wouldn’t be a surprise.

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Sumiko does look good in a shrine maiden’s outfit, it must be said

He gathers the necessary funds,then falls asleep under the kotatsu, and the morning of New Year’s turns out to be the titular “Day Without Rurumo.” Kouta has no direct memories of Ruru, nor does his family or friends, though there are little clues here and there that tweak Kouta’s memory, though not long enough to fully remember her. This is a little alarming at first, but something about the way it was unfolding told us it would turn out alright in the end.

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Ruru’s awsome look of belated surprise

That turns out to be the case, as as soon as the clock strikes twelve—maybe a second or two before hand—Kouta remembers Rurumo, just as she’s passing him by in the yukata he bought her. New Year’s Eve happened to be the day of her “evaluation”, which meant everyone she knew had their memories temporarily wiped to avoid interference. What seemed like a huge dilemma turned out to be the magical equivalent of an annual review.

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Baaaaaw I’ll miss these two

When he hangs his wish to the future at the shrine, Kouta apologizes to Ruru for not being of any help whatsoever in her training, but the fact is, neither of them want the training to end, not just because it would kill him, but because they like being around each other and don’t want that to end. Like I said: simple and sweet.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 11

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This was a lovely, upbeat little episode, and a nice way to close out the “ordinary time” of the show before things are sure to go down in the last episode. The events of this week reinforce everything we know: that Rurumo has brought out the best of Rurumo, that Rurumo is fare more than her skill shortcomings, and they’ll always have each others’ backs.

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Those truths are reinforced through an unexpected vehicle: the occult club, seeking recruits and notoriety, enters a band competition, of all things. Not being musically gifted, the lads lean on Tanako, who recruits a crack musical group consisting of Sawashita (guitar/boobs), Inoue Sumiko (bass), Izumi Kyouko (drums), and herself (keyboard). Rounding out the all-girls band “FHK” is Rurumo.

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That’s another surprise: Rurumo has the voice of an angel. She even throws some work and goodwill Masako’s way by telling everyone she’s good at making clothes; she designs witch outfits to go with Rurumo’s get-up, and senpai writes more lyrics to Rurumo’s haunting tune. It’s a classic case of a plan coming together, and it was very enjoyable to watch.

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As it does come together, Ruru-chan notices Kouta is happy, and wonders why. He answers as you’d expect: he’s happy because she’s happy, and having fun doing something she’s never done. FHK is a little too good right off the bat but as soon as they have to perform on a stage Rurumo can’t do it, and Kouta, knowing it’s because she’s so naturally bashful takes her place, covering for her as best he can.

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Of course, Kouta can’t sing worth a damn and FHK washes out of the competition, but getting to the finals was a pretty big achievement, and in any case mission accomplished: the club got a lot more noteriety. Most of all, Rurumo and Kouta exhibit their great regard for one another. And no magic tickets are used! We’ll see how the last episode treats them.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 10

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Paradisu!!!!!

Placed in such a compliant environment as an inn with a mixed bath, Kouta can’t help but revert to his unrepentant, er, horndogging around. Smartly, the ladies prepared by having towels on under their towels, should he rip them off (which he does). Thus Kouta doesn’t accomplish everything he had hoped to, but just sharing a bath with the ladies is heaven enough for him.

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Table tennis is wonderful.

The second half of the episode puts him through hell, as Senpai makes him drink an innocuous-looking bottle of water as payment for letting him goof off instead of accompanying the Occult Club on their trip to the Ookami shrine. That water turns out to be “oomizu”, or water that transforms the drinker into a wolf. Thus Kouta becomes the exactly what he can sometimes be described: a dog. A real one.

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Requiem for a Wolf

Moreover, he believes it’s divine punishment for his perverted transgressions. Unable to talk, only growl and howl, getting through to anyone is impossible; putting him in one of his biggest predicaments yet. But he learns he has nothing to fear, because whether he’s in wolf or human form, he’s Rurumo’s contractor, and she’ll always be able to recognize him and be there for him.

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“I’ll be right…here (points to heart)…”

Rurumo’s rescue literally saves his life, which is a nice reciprocation of all of the ways Kouta has helped her. But this more than just a transactional give-and-take in which the two keep score of who’s saved whom how many times. Rurumo and Kouta just intrinsically want to help and protect each other. I’ve long given up on declarative statements of romantic affection, but their actions have spoken louder than words.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 09

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As little side stories in the main narrative between Rurumo and Kouta, the show delved into the worlds of side characters: namely, Sumiko, Harulily, and this week, Shimomura Masako of the Disciplinary Committee. A less precise comedy would have mocked Masako’s secret passion for otaku, but MMR treats it earnestly, as Masako is not only passionate, but hardworking and driven. When she speaks loftily of the joy of completing a costume and striking a pose, its a sense of accomplishment any creative person can relate to.

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When her otakuness is first revealed in an earlier episode, it seems mostly there for gags, as cosplay is a part of Japanese culture in which real witches would be mistaken for fellow members. And indeed, Masako has no idea Rurumo’s an real witch. But it isn’t because she doesn’t believe her, it’s that she assumes anything Rurumo says on such topics is merely roleplay. And because she admires Rurumo’s “devotion” to “full-time cosplay”, it’s not something she’d ever question.

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In that same vein, Rurumo simply isn’t the person who’d think there’d be anything wrong about telling her peers about Masako’s passion, even though Masako treats it as yet another betrayal by a friend who was too good to be true. Rurumo sets her straight, but not consciously, simply by continuing to be a decent person who likes Masako and admires the work she does and the infectious enthusiasm she radiates. Thus a new friendship is borne. I’ll also note, the Sone Miku OP leading into a montage that ends with the song on the radio…that was a really slick sequence.

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The first half of the episode built up a lot of goodwill, so the second half, devoted to boobs and bras, went down a little easier. But full of boobs and bras it may be, the segment still stays true to its characters. When the strap of Ruru’s 170 year old “chestpiece” snaps, she has to go braless, and her well-documented bashfulness kicks in when she’s near Kouta. But because we know Kouta’s a stand-up guy when the chips are down, he reads her strange behavior as a sign something’s wrong, and only wants to help.

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Rurumo may be slow to learn things, but she’s no slouch when it comes to utilizing available resources—or at least crashing into them. Rurumo asks Masako to make her a bra, and Masako admits it’s not really her specialty, but she talks to a few people on the subject and they talk to other people and all of a sudden seemingly every girl in school is on the case, which of course makes her even more self-conscious. When Rurumo shows everyone what she’s looking for, they show her theirs, indicating there’s another, better, more personal way to keep the twins at bay, big or small.

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MMR lays the oppai on thick, but the discussion is all very practical and realistic, and even leads to a rift between the amply bestowed and the…ahem…less amply bestowed. They all go shopping with Rurumo, escorted by the buxom Officer Ruri, and Kouta tags along, but not because he’s being a perv, but because he’s still worried Rurumo isn’t well (Considering she recently marathoned three days’ worth of anime sans sleep, it isn’t a ridiculous notion!). So even when she dons her frilly new pink bra under her clothes, Kouta reacts not with arousal, but relief she “recovered” from her unspecified malady.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 08

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I’ll admit I wasn’t terribly excited for the episode when we meet a second witch. The show got along fine with just the one, after all, and aside from Chiro and Sumiko, the supporting cast is mostly innocuous ciphers. While her bug-eyed, silent cat Mimi is awesome, things get less encouraging still when Harulily offers Kouta a new contract, and her “death-free magical ticket” free sample seems to instantly revert him back into the beastly “Hentai-Shiba.”

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Kouta’s great in Butler Mode

So it wasn’t just a matter of Harulily eating up valuable time late in the show’s run, but also the fact she could swoop in and undo all the progress Kouta has made by living with Rurumo. But then Harulily drops the ploy altogether and reveals she’s an old friend (of sorts) who has always been irked by Rurumo’s unflappable stoicism in the face of her pan-incompetence. She’s not here to mess up Rurumo’s shit, she’s just checking in on her.

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The sudden deflation of Harulily as a threat nicely subverts the traditional “rival witch episode” formula, as Kujirai did a few eps back, and is another sign this show is a lot cleverer than it looks. Somehow, a magical girl duel just wouldn’t feel right on this show. And Rurumo’s personality is such that she’d never rise to taunts or insults, any more than she’d respond to Lily’s demands for her to show more emotion with blank stares and single-word answers. Lily’s better as a foil than an opponent.

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Instead of doing something silly like “battling each other with Kouta as the stakes”, Harullily spends her second following Rurumo around on part-time jobs, all of which Rurumo fails splendidly at, but keeps moving on to the next one, full of quiet optimism and a stiff upper lip. Rurumo exhibits her talent for planning deep ahead in case of multiple same-day firings (borne of her innate clumsiness), as well as her poise and resilience in the face of persistent failure.

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Every time Harulily tries to question what Rurumo is doing or how she’s doing it, Rurumo is ready with a quote from Kouta, mentioning him by name more and more, irking Lily more. She may be jealous of Rurumo’s passion for Kouta, but a part of her is happy that Rurumo is working so hard toward her goal and not letting anything get her down. Lily turned out to be a welcome lens into the hard but happy life Rurumo has settled into with Kouta.

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She’s also the bearer of a portent of doom, though she only thinks it: when Rurumo’s training is complete and she becomes a full-fledged witch again, Kouta will die. At first she curses stupid Rurumo for not knowing this very important detail, but it later occurs to her: maybe she does. Maybe Rurumo is trying to find a way to become a witch without killing Kouta. Maybe she’ll stretch out her training for years, letting Kouta live a long life.

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Or maybe not. This show killed a fluffy kitten, but offing Kouta would really be gutsy. Has Rurumo simply made her peace? His frequent remarks about reaching “ultimate levels”…could they have been foreshadowing his death? Eh…I kinda doubt things will get that serious. But the fact a fleeting guest character could descend on the show, spark that amount of thought, and then fly away back to the underworld, is gratifying in and of itself.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 07

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Sometimes I know how I’m going to rate an episode right at its start, especially with beach episodes, which can be half-assed chores. So as with most other episodes of its ilk, a “5” or average score is a good early baseline. From there, it’s up to the episode to convince us to either raise or lower that 5.

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For the first three quarters of the episode, it was looking more like the latter: utterly boilerplate beach antics, complete with big bouncy boobs and male mischief. The only hint of originality was the fact that one notable character wasn’t wearing a swimsuit: Rurumo. Turns out she never bought one at the mall, possibly because she didn’t know she was supposed to.

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That proves key, as Chiro (one of the fanservice centerpieces in shellkini-clad human form) manages to find her a swimsuit that just so happens to be “The Legendary Swimsuit” the president of the Occult Club is searching for. It imbues its wearer with romantic assertiveness, and when a witch dons it, it also augments strength and speed.

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It comes up quick, but this is the turning point of the episode, because we know Rurumo harbors (and is trying to repress) feelings for Kouta, and we know Kouta is still invested in “reaching new levels.” This leads to Rurumo, under the influence of the swimsuit, making the first move on Kouta. Can Kouta resist? He can.

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Watching a slightly sunburnt Rurumo doze on the train home, Kouta admits to a certain degree of regret he didn’t let Rurumo “have her way”, but considering how he’s treated her so far in the show, it’s really, as he said earlier, “better this way.” If and when Rurumo plants her first kiss on his lips, he’d rather she do it while of sound mind and frail body, not under a spell with him trapped under a concrete tripod.

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After all that beach blandness, the episode finishes strong, reinforcing the show’s overarching premise that having Rurumo a persistent fixture in Kouta’s daily life continues to bring out the best in him. When push comes to shove, he can—and more to the point, wants to—set his hormones aside and do the right thing by her. And that’s what elevated this beach episode’s rating from the default of 5.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 06

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Whoa there, MMR, why’d you have to go all serious on us? I have to say, I was not expecting a relatively straight-laced, happy ending-less pet drama, but I’m not going to say it wasn’t nicely done, while serving to further progress Kouta’s personal growth, as he learns firsthand how magic can’t solve everything.

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Every other street corner in Japan is populated by a box of abandoned kittens, and Kouta happens to find one. His desire for adult gravure magazines is trumped by his decency, as he places responsibility for the trio of fuzzballs on his own shoulders, and is committed to following through until they all get homes.

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In the process both Rurumo and Chiro marvel at the fact the cats neither speak English nor serve as familiars. When a reluctant Chiro is forced to look after them while Kouta’s at school, we learn how she was a stray with no pedigree that every other witch passed by until Rurumo, who wanted an “unpretentious” familiar.

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It’s a neat little indication that Rurumo and Kouta both have caring hearts, which is probably why Rurumo is drawn to Kouta. When the runt of the litter passes away, there’s nothing to be done but bury him, and the episode closes wordlessly with Rurumo standing beside a grieving Kouta. Yeah…I teared up a bit.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 05

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This week MMR keeps things simple with a pleasant, nice-looking “day in the life” episode with a “simple task becomes complex adventure” story. By now Rurumo’s general incompetence has been well-established, but the fact she was similarly incompetent in the magical world leads me to believe perhaps she’s developmentally disabled in some way.

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Nah, I’m just kiddin’! She’s just clumsy and forgetful of details that always turn out to be crucial. But this week she has an urgent desire to complete the task Kouta’s mother assigned her: to deliver a parcel to Kouta, who is at his grandma’s doing farm work. But Rurumo doesn’t get off to an auspicious start, getting lost and mistaking postage stamps for train tickets.

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Along the way she meets a couple of Kouta’s friends who are both into her, but she doesn’t remember who they are, a nice meta dig on their general blahness as characters. I also like she did remember something Kouta told her about saying “cosplay” when in doubt, as it gets her out of trouble with a “busty cop.”

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She does eventually end up in the village where Kouta is, but follows the map wrong and ends up lost in a beautiful field of sunflowers. Chiro, who had accompanied her and left her to her own devices (this is her mission, after all) decides enough is enough, and locates Kouta. That’s when we learn all of Rurumo’s work is to get a lousy wooden smartphone case to him so he can impress his cousin’s pretty friend Yuki.

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As a testament to his devotion to Rurumo, Kouta’s own silly mission falls by the wayside when he hears she’s gotten lost. She doesn’t stay lost long, as when he and Chiro return to the sunflower field, Rurumos’ raiment has accidentally magicked into a massive hat-shaped tree. Fortunately, Rurumo herself did not merge with the plant, as Chiro feared, and Kouta doesn’t have to expend any life tickets.

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For her trouble, Kouta totally strikes out with Yuki, but as thanks for completing her mission, he prepares and old-fashioned country bath for her, to soothe her bones after so much running around and falling down. After that, she dons a yukata (not sure how she got it on properly) and joins the others for some summer fireworks, and Kouta pats her head, so all’s well that ends well.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 04

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Just as I was complimenting MMR’s compact cast, this episode introduces three new characters, the girls of the disciplinary committee. It’s not as bad as all that, though; two of the three are little more than background, while the third, Inoue Sumiko, turns out to be a lot more interesting than the cliched imperious school busybody constantly adjusting her glasses.

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Don’t get me wrong: she is bossy and domineering, at school at least (though I didn’t notice an excessive amount of glasses-straightening); quite possibly to the point of overstepping her official bounds with regards to confiscating and destroying contraband ero literature, of which Kouta is known school-wide as a prolific wheeler and dealer. But here’s the thing: she’s not being a heel simply for being a heel’s sake—this is personal for her.

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Drawn far more straight, sturdy, and angular than the girls regarded as “hotties” in previous episodes, it’s made clear by several trips into Sumiko’s head that she harbors a deep resentment towards her peers, who never regarded her as a girl. None of the boys would even flip her skirt—once a source of pride, now fuel for her high school angst. But there was one boy who did flip her skirt, and isn’t shy about regarding her for being her: and that boy was Kouta.

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That’s right: in school they’re arch-nemeses, but in the real world their mothers are friends. They go way back. It would seem they live close by. If their families were more traditional, they may even have been betrothed to be wed by now. It occurs that were Rurumo not in Kouta’s picture, Sumiko would be the primary female interest in his life. Kouta’s tawdry rep precludes them appearing to get along in school, but they seem to get along just fine on the outside.

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By “getting along” I mean Kouta can earnestly compliment Sumiko’s cute clothes when she delivers cake to his house; she can put on Rurumo’s pair of “Glasses of Misfortune” and cling to him when rats appear (it was frogs for Rurumo), and then he can chase her down the street during which she gets drenched by various water sources. She may call him a pervert, but he’s her pervert. As for Sumiko herself, she was a pleasant surprise.

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Stray Observations:

  • Rurumo got the short shrift this week…and was almost done in by frogs!
  • Chiro can transform into a human girl. Not sure why, but it was the first time in 25 years that she did it, and she did seem to revel in it. Could come in handy later.
  • Again Kouta uses his magic selflessly…or at least semi-selflessly, as he can’t bear to have to report back to his buds that all of their accumulated treasures were cast into the incinerator.
  • I kinda want Kouta to ask Sumiko out (or vice versa).

Majimoji Rurumo – 03

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In Shibaki Kouta’s quest to reach ever higher stages of manhood, it’s been two rungs up the ladder and one rung down. A girl lives with him, but there’s nothing he can do about it because his mom thinks she’s his sister, and stands ready to gut him at the first sign of perversion.

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This week the trend continues when a girl finally joins the Occult Research Club, but things don’t turn out the way Kouta hoped. The girl in question, Kujirai Tanako, may be the best-looking first-year, but she’s a couple eps short of a cour, in anime reviewer’s parlance.

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In fact, this episode also came up a bit short in the compelling department, owing to the preponderance of side characters like Tanako—a tiresome fraud of a magician—and Kouta’s club pals, none of whom make much of an impression. I was also way ahead of Kouta in realizing Tanako was interested in the glasses guy, not him—though ironically the glasses guy seems more into Rurumo.

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The progressing Rurumo-Kouta dynamic this episode from mediocrity. It wasn’t so much Rurumo’s klutz clinic in her cafeteria job, tripping on nothing and breaking everything, but the fact that Kouta continues to grow as a human being now that there’s someone in his life he wants to support.

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Heck, Kouta was focused on a completely different girl most of this episode, but after that bubble inevitably burst, he confronted Rurumo about why she’s trying so hard. Her answer’s simple enough: she has to, as she’s always had to. She’s worried Kouta’s unswerving kindness will make her complacent, and so insists on “restricting herself.”

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Yamagishi Saki from One Week Friends was fully aware of her limitations and of the need for someone to lean and depend on. Presently Rurumo seems to be a person of similar limitations, only she’s fearful of depending on someone else. I’m not saying Kouta is the Ideal Man, but he’s the first person to be this kind to her—and she’s the first person he’s been this kind to.

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Both are dealing with a completely new kind of interaction; it’s natural to be weary or uncertain. But it’s already apparent that, despite his occasional flights of puerility, Kouta’s slowly becoming a better person with Rurumo in his life. No reason that door can’t swing both ways, as long as Rurumo doesn’t bar it.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 02

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The book of magic tickets are Kouta’s life (something only he and Chiro know) so even when he desperately wants more female members in the Occult Research Club, he daren’t make any more reckless wishes. But the club quickly learns that their witch-summoning was successful, putting Kouta in the unusual position of having to stop his clubmates from stalking and peeping on Rurumo as she camps in the woods.

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So once again, Kouta uses the tickets to help Rurumo (to protect her honor, specifically). And by using her magic, he learned that that was what she and Chiro were doing camping in the first place: waiting for him to use it. She can’t go back to the Underworld until her training is complete, which I take to mean “until Kouta uses up all of his tickets.” In other words, she can return when he’s dead? Something to ponder going forward.

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But first things first: Kouta doesn’t think it’s right for a delicate little witch like Rurumo to live like a dirty hobo, so he invites her into his home. His family consists of his mother, who knows what kind of horndog he is and is constantly staring at him, as well as his little brother and his dad (whom we don’t see). Worried by how bringing a girl home might look to his mom, he tries his best to keep it a secret. Between Rurumo’s loud slipper-shuffling and Chiro yelling in the bath, his clandestine guests don’t make it easy.

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Indeed harboring a magical trainee is no cakewalk, physically or psychologically, as Kouta is so stress out about being discovered he neglects to realize that for three days he has, essentially, been “living with a girl not related to him in the same room before marriage”, which as it happens is the official SI definition of Living Together. In other words: he has arrived, at the “highest stage” of his life, almost by accident.

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The bliss of sharing his room with Rurumo is all too fleeting, however, as his mom storms in the room, and…it looks bad. The situation looks like exactly what she suspects: that he’s abducted a girl and is keeping her captive in his room. Kouta only saves his mom from committing filicide by expending more tickets to magically create a cover story for Rurumo, which is that she’s his sister.

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That means the whole family now accepts Rurumo’s existence in the house as perfectly normal, but it also means she gets a separate room, much to Kouta’s dismay. Still, he’s alive (and not in jail) and Rurumo is safe and secure, so he doesn’t have too much to complain about…though I wonder how many of those 666 tickets remain.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 01

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Sometimes you just have a smidgen of patience and see an episode through. I did with this episode, and it rewarded me by getting better and better as I watched it. Sure, Shibaki Kouta is a horndog, and bits with pantyless or braless girls can be tiresome. But Majimoji Rurumo makes it all work, when given a chance.

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Kouta is pervy, but it’s made clear he’s not entirely shameless, and that his behavior has thus far kept him from having relationships of any kind with members of the fairer sex, let along romantic relationships. It’s something he tries (perhaps not very hard, mind you) to keep in check, but when a first year drops flyers and bends over, well…the old instincts kick in.

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When he does a witch summoning ritual with his buds in the Occult Research Club (not an out-of-place club to have in a show with a witch in it, but thankfully its workings weren’t the focus of the episode), he can’t help but wish for a girls panties instead of a cute girlfriend. That being said, he was just messing around, and didn’t think it would actually work.

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It does, and he finds fruit-patterned panties on the desk in his room. Then a witch named Rurumo falls from the sky. She’s very cool-looking; not too overly detailed, but nicely stylized with her enormous hat. Her cat Chiro is also awesome with his huge pointy ears and little cat sounds he’s even better when it turns out he can talk—with a Kansai accent, no less!

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I was actually pretty surprised when Rurumo said the panties were her own. Kouta takes the whole “panties for your life” thing pretty well, even using his last walk around town as an excuse to try to catch a glimpse, taking him to the “highest level.” This is a game to him. But when he learn that the rules of that game mean Rurumo will be imprisoned for more than a century, he drops the perviness and steps in to save her from that fate.

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The success of the episode hinged on whether Kouta come off as an actual decent human being, and he did. The first and second halves of the episode were very self-contained, something I also enjoyed. The second half deepened their bond by giving him a book of 666 “magic tickets” which will no doubt imbue him with heretofore unimaginable power, but they also represent his life.

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So the stakes are there. It isn’t just a game. And yet he spends a ticket (albeit unknowingly) to heal Rurumo once she comes down to heaven, earning her bashful thanks in return. It would appear he owes his first real relationship with a girl to something that on the surface seems most likely to repel them: a perverse wish made during an occult club ritual.

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I really enjoyed Majimoji. The show had a clean, distinctive, nicely-detailed art style, a playful wit, and an above-average score that helped set the mood. Even its moments of fanservice were both justified and well-executed. I’m eager to see what kind of mischief Kouta gets into with his book of magic tickets. We already know from the ED that he taught Rurumo how to ride a bike, which is bloody adorable.

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