The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent – 01 (First Impressions) – Keeping Busy in a New World

I loved how elegantly Saint’s Magic Power begins: a lovely prelude preceding the title card, then a quick sequence of overworked office drone Takanashi Sei (Ishikawa Yui—Hi Mikasa!) suddenly being transported to a new world via a summoning spell. It immediately feels new and refreshing simply because its protagonist is an adult woman and not a horny male teen/NEET.

The other refreshing catch is that Sei wasn’t the only “Saint” summoned by the Grand Magus of the Kingdom Salutania. A second Saint is summoned right beside her, but despite them having equal standing, the preening Prince Kyle chooses the other young woman, totally ignoring Sei. Rather than follow the chosen heroine, we follow Sei…the “Spare” Saint.

Except for a brief recollection of her in Sei’s thoughts, we never return to the other Saint’s story, though I’m sure she or we will check in on her at some point. Until then, Sei is encouraged to reside on the grounds of the royal palace and basically stay out of trouble. While her life is comfortable and every need seen to by her kindly maid Marie, Sei, a hard worker in her original world, soon becomes quite bored.

Frankly, that’s awesome! For once, our heroine isn’t thrust into an epic battle of good and evil with a ticking clock. Instead she makes do with far more modest stakes that nevertheless make the fantasy setting feel more real and down-to-earth. Watching Sei, so often cooped up in an office most days, happily frolicking on the palace grounds, is quietly enthralling.

Sei soon finds that her real-world interest in medicinal plants and herbs has a magical analogue: an entire institute dedicated to their research. She meets Jude, one of its researchers, who shows her around, and before long it occurs to her that this is where she wants to be: somewhere she can do what she loves and keep busy.

With the institute director Johan’s blessing, Sei decides to join, and to move out of the palace and into the institute. The palace’s aide-de-camp is happy she’s found something to do and pleased to offer whatever she needs. With that, Sei starts her new unexpected new career in potions.

But first thing’s first: she has to learn to make potions, the institute’s top export. Jude goes through the process step-by-step, and reaches the point when he learns that she’s never used magic. You’d think Jude would know this if he knew she was a summoned Saint from another world, but whatever.

Regardless of her inexperience in casting spells, as a Saint she is naturally imbued with more magical power and sensitivity than most. It’s just a matter of learning how to summon and use that power. Within three months, she’s already making medium-to-high level potions the institute usually had to order from outside sources—and making Jude understandably jealous with her rapid progress.

Their playful repartee is interrupted by an emergency: knights who were on a mission to subjugate a forest of monsters took heavy casualties, and several are near death. The researchers are summoned to the palace with all the potions they have in tow. It’s a good thing, then, that Sei has gotten so good at making potions—all of them 50% more effective than anyone else’s—she lost count of how many she’s made!

When they arrive, Sei is initially shocked by the sudden scenes of injured and maimed soldiers, but soon snaps out of it and gets to work administering potions, which have an immediate healing effect. She’s brought before the horribly wounded captain of the knights. When he won’t drink her high-level potion, she insists that he must until he does, and soon recovers nicely.

Both the captain and Johan, his good friend, thank her for saving him. Sei, beaming proudly, is happy she could help. I for one am here for this charming, laid-back yet still engrossing slice-of-life isekai series. Should her titularly omnipotent magic power justifiably lead her to greater things, I’m fine with that too!

 

Qualidea Code – 12 (Fin)

qc121

Qualidea Code wasn’t always (or really ever) the prettiest, but it was the best-sounding (musically at least), and also never seemed to stand still. It improved right up until the end, at least as far as resolving a major issue early on: a mysterious, faceless, malevolent enemy.

By this final episode, the enemy is no longer faceless, or malevolent (though some mysteries about what they are or where they come from remains unknown to the end, thankfully). In fact, it seems strange to call Airi and Asanagi enemies at all; merely a party with a different agenda.

qc122

Placing them in a grayer area, and resolving their story in a more nuanced way than “kill bad guys” went a long way towards helping me mostly overlook the fact that the show seemed to have run out of budget this week, as huge swaths of animation are simply missing.

I didn’t even mind Aoi’s sudden but inevitable (and heavily telegraphed) “betrayal.” But just like Asanagi, who turns out to be her father, her decision to side with him and Airi is borne out of love, not hate, so it’s hard to condemn what she does.

qc123

That doesn’t mean I don’t want Ichiya and the others to succeeding in ridding the world of the Unknown, and watching them fight desperately, initially without their worlds, made for a thrilling final battle, despite the animation shortcomings. Asuha headbutting Aoi, and Hotaru holding her sword in her mouth were among the highlights.

In the end, everyone gets a boost in power thanks to the return of Canaria’s song, which gets a slightly different (but still very danceable) arrangement for the finale, in which Airi is killed by Hime, who remembers learning which conditions would allow Airi to die contented.

qc124

In the end, Airi does not mind leaving her mortal coil, for she achieved what she wanted: she and Asanagi were able to make another, entirely new life: Aoi. Asanagi does not die, but stays with his daughter.

The Kasumis visit their injured mom, who is ecstatic they’re safe and sound. The dimensional tear is sealed, the skies return to blue, and the heads and subheads of Kanto all vow, in their own way, to rebuild what was toppled.

While we don’t get to hear Ichiya’s answer to Canaria’s question “how do I look to you now?”, we didn’t need any words from him to know how he feels: She’s all he needs.

16rating_8

Qualidea Code – 11

qc111

Kasumi and Asuha’s mom isn’t shy about her goal: to wipe out each and every Unknown she can. In addition to being angry they kept her children captive and used them as tools for so long, she also believes there’s no reasoning with a creature so alien.

And yet, as we learn later this week as the Unknown wind down their operations on Earth, Johannes isn’t quite right about the second thing. Not only is an Unknown able to feel how a human feels, she’s also able to love, in her way. And she in turn is loved back by a human.

qc112

Aoi, who continues to be a tense wild card just waiting to go off and undermine the plans to eradicate the Unknown, seems to understand this. It’s not just that she lacks perspective due to an emotional attachment to Yunami and Asanagi…it’s that they’re worth being worried about. She can sense that the two are different from Johannes’ black-and-white, no-quarter viewpoint.

Unfortunately, a great deal of the Unknown still seem committed to attacking humans, and Johannes isn’t in the mood to carefully pick her targets. She launches a huge attack with her big cannon, but when it proves insufficient and she’s taken out of action with an injury, it provides an opportunity for the kids to keep doing what they do best: fight for themselves.

qc113

Of course, for our six peeps, fighting for themselves means fighting for those they love: Rindo and Hime, Asuha and Kasumi…and Canaria and Ichiya. Whatever other issues are at hand, they don’t want to lose each other, so they have to fight and they have to win. That means infiltrating enemy HQ and closing the dimensional gate that allowed the Unknown in to begin with.

ac114

Aoi remains the third, or rather seventh wheel, following everyone but constantly looking conflicted, and with, as I mentioned, good reason. The ones she wants to protect are the adults who cared for them so kindly all those years, making them more parents than her actual parents (which are probably gone).

As Rindo and Hime encounter what seems to be Yunami’s true form, and the others meet Asanagi, who was human all along, it will be interesting to see how the final showdown will turn out. Will there be a need for fighting? Will the Unknown, led by Yunami, peacefully return to where they came from? Are there more twists in store that will test everyone’s priorities? The endgame approaches.

16rating_8

Qualidea Code – 10

qc101

The truths of the real world our heads and subheads are now awakened to roll in like relentless waves this week, and it’s a lot for them to take in.

All this time, they’ve been captives of the Unknown, who altered their perception of the world so they would see adult humans as Unknown, and thus fight them. In a way, it’s worse than The Matrix, because they’re not just batteries, they’re weapons the Unknown are using to wipe out whats left of their families.

Suddenly having your world upside down is both frightening and un-mooring, and can mess with one’s sense of identity. The kids hold close to what they know to be true beyond any doubt, and reinforced through the years they were cared for by the Unknown: the bonds of friendship and love they all share.

qc102

Kasumi and Asuha’s ambitious (and morally flexible) mother Johannes is in charge of the humans, having climbed a ladder constructed off those who once opposed her, be they dead or now under her heel.

She’s a handful, and while parts of Kasumi and Asuha are glad to reunite with their mother, this has all happened very fast, and an adjustment period will be necessary to process it all, especially the fact that they no longer need to fight, which is what defined them to this point.

Ichiya is also particularly un-moored, because his idea of who he was – a hero who was “all we need(ed)” and the only one who could protect Canaria – has blown up in his face with the knowledge that it was all an illusion. He was nothing but a clown; a puppet being manipulated along with all the other kids.

It’s really good to see Canaria back in the show. Her cheerful demeanor are welcome in such a harsh new world, but Ichiya just can’t function without her. We saw that, and we see just how much these two mean to each other in a lovely scene that nearly turns into a kiss before Ichiya panics and sends Cana flying in the opposite end of the room.

qc103

Johannes seems singularly obsessed with three things (in no particular order): grabbing and holding power, protecting her kids, and utterly eliminating the Unknown down to the last one, with extreme prejudice.

Kasumi and Asuha have grown up to the point they don’t really need their mother, or anyone other than each other and their comrades to protect them and give them purpose. The Unknown may have stolen them from their human parents, but the crucial years of development they were separated aren’t coming back.

Not only that, but the Unknown, represented by Asanagi and Yunami, aren’t portrayed as evil this week, but rather as two people stuck in a system who only wants what’s best for the children they’ve come to love. Were they misguided in their actions? Surely.

But they’re not the monsters Johannes makes them out to be, and the kids’ opinions of them are at best conflicted, and in the case of Aoi, totally sympathetic.

qc104

Surely the kids can figure out a way to come between their warring parents and the Unknown and come to some kind of negotiated peace or coexistence. That would seem to be the point here. The Adults, led by Johannes, are bent on revenge, and won’t stop attacking. It’s up to their offspring to create a world that moves past this conflict.

When the Unknowns attack Johannes’ fleet, its an indication Asanagi and Yunami didn’t get the final say—perhaps their are other Unknowns in higher positions that think about the humans how Johannes thinks about them.

Another point I want to make: we’ve learned just enough about the Unknown to make them far more interesting and nuanced. They have a face and emotions and dreams and desires just like humans. If they think and feel and act so alike, appearances aside, perhaps they’re not so “unknown” after all.

For the time being, Ichiya and Canara, Kasumi and Asuha, and Hime and Hotaru all decide to keep fighting beside one another, the ones they know for sure they can count on, whatever issues they may have with one another. Keeping things simple by fighting the enemy, staying alive, and having each others backs is the best way to stay centered in increasingly uncertain times.

Which is why Aoi’s isolation and anxiety worries me.

16rating_8

P.S. I somehow forgot to publish the draft of last week’s episode review, so this week you get two. You’re welcome. :*