Puella Magi Madoka Magica – 07 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 18 Feb 2011 – Even though Sayaka loves her friend Kyousuke, whom she healed with her wish, she can’t even approach him after learning what the bastard Kyuubey has done to her. And her friend Hitomi has decided to stop lying to herself and will confess to Kyousuke – unless Sayaka stops her, which she doesn’t; at least not this week.

This is kind of the quid-pro-quo Sakura warned of while talking calmly with Sayaka in her father’s church. She gains a lot more depth this week by revealing that her whole family was destroyed by her impulsive wish to net her radical cleric dad more followers. After that, she learned that Maho Shojo can’t truly help anyone but themselves. If they try, people will get hurt or killed. By the end of the episode, Sayaka seems to be warming up to that idea as well. Rather than shouldering her pain and anguish, she lets the magic absorb it so she feels nothing – not even the attacks of her first bona fide witch hunt.

This series keeps getting better as we become more engrossed in the story. We daresay it’s our favorite of the Winter 2011 season so far. There’s a lot to like: complex conflicts; ridiculously-flawed yet endearing characters with deceptively cutesy design; awesome, often trip-tacular animation; kick-ass battles; great architecture; and a rippin’ good soundtrack from start to finish.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Oreimo 15 (Fin)

With this final web extra, Oreimo finally comes to a close on a happy note. Disturbed by a cryptic text from Kirino, Kyou totally brushes off a confession from Kuroneko (bastard) and dashes off to L.A. It’s a bit of a shame they don’t spend any time in America at all; he just takes a cab to her dorm, they play an eroge (her first since she arrived) and with a tearful confession of his own, convinces her to come back to Japan.

Kyou must’ve sensed the same thing his father did from those texts: she wasn’t doing to hot, and was going to proceed to keep working hard, perhaps too hard, to reach her goal of becoming a track star. Basically, it wasn’t working out. She swore she wouldn’t contact anyone back home until she beat another runner: three months later and no texts, save the ones instructing Kyou and her dad to toss her collection and trophies, respectively.

While Kyou kinda had to go and snap her out of her stubbornness, it’s still a bit disconcerting he so casually shot down Ruri, especially after her unprecedented spilling of her honest feelings. He made her happy caring for her. But this is a show where the imouto is the star, unfortunately for Ruri. So rather than be happy with an Ayase or Saori or Tamura or Ruri as his girlfriend, Kyou continues to live his life in service of others. He derives his happiness from making others happy. Pfft…what a weirdo! Rating: 3.5

Oreimo 13

I love the character of Kuroneko – or should I say, Ruri Gokou. This episode only reinforces that esteem. It’s hilarious that once Kyousuke starts doting upon her, she starts almost the exact same act as Kirino, an attitude expressed in the opening theme that is full of contradictions. Even so, I still like her. And she likes Kyousuke, she just doesn’t want him to pity her.

For Kyou’s part, while part of him is lonely without his sister, he’s not really interested in Kuroneko as a surrogate little sister. He even admits this to her, while she’s in his bed, no less! (though obviously, the reason she’s there is perfectly innocent.) He’s stoked from the get-go that she’s attending his school, and that their relationship needn’t be defined solely by Kirino. Tamura, his betrothed, is surprisingly unthreatened by her arrival, even electing to call her by her nickname (it’s pretty funny how long Kyousuke’s known this girl without knowing her name).

And while much of this episode is spent enriching the friendship Kyousuke and Kuroneko as she adjusts to the new school, we’re introduced to another otaku, who while initially quite proper and prudish, turns out to be the homo-game-loving little sister of one of his best mates (in addition to the game programming club president being a long-tenured student and the one who lent him his bike…nice tied loose ends!).

It’s pretty funny to watch Kyousuke and Kuroneko poke and prod until her inner otaku is drawn out for all to see. They even regret doing so to a degree, as they get more than they had initially bargained for. This girl, Akagi, also bends the fourth wall a bit by mentioning there are a lot of anime out there…like the one she’s in. Rating: 4