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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Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi – 07

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The next system Ai must face is school, and not altogether surprisingly. She is a child, after all, and children belong in school, if only to “isolate them from the rest of society so that they don’t impede its functioning”, as Hampnie rather hilariously put it. Not to mention children are a dwindling resource in the world, to the point this particular school, Goran Academy, receives generous government stipends for every child they capture in their murdered-out Dodge Chargers (which Yuri’s rundown microbus thankfully can’t hope to catch up to, in a nice bit of automotive accuracy).

Goran in particular rounds up children who’ve had brushes with death. They made powerful wishes that influenced the lives they managed to cling to. The “School for Gifted Youngsters” is a very well-tread trope both within and without anime, from Harry Potter to Soul Eater (the titular protagonist of which shares his voice with Sunday’s Alis Color), and it makes sense for schools to grow ever more “protective” of children in a world where they’re no longer made. But even if it made sense most of the time, this seventh episode was still a bit of a stinker, especially relative to the first six.

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We were looking forward to Ai’s road trip with Yuri and Scar (and Scar’s baby too!) to proceed apace after leaving Ortus. Nothing like having Ai suddenly spirited away to a prison-school to abruptly arrest the momentum of both her mission to Save The World. We also felt the episode was overstuffed with technicolor characters who weren’t interesting just because they have special powers. In fact, most of them were downright dreadful, save maybe Tanya, who at least had something quintessentially Sunday Without God-ly to say about Ai’s “sound”, which she  compared to a moonbow, of all things.

It’s a credit to the episode that right after things are at their most dire, when Alice breaks into the girl’s bath, the episode starts getting better, as if sensing our displeasure with things so far. The boys aren’t trying to sneak a peek, you see (and the show mercifully refrains from age-inappropriate fanservice): they’re trying to escape from the school. Moreover, Alice’s ghostly familiar Dee tells Ai that the three of them were destined to meet. Perhaps, along with all those other hastily-introduced characters, they’re all meant to aid Ai in her world-saving fight? In any case, this episode had some good parts, but it was still half-bad…and we don’t mean morally-ambiguous!


Rating: 5 (Average)