Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete – 03

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The show’s called “In Search of Lost Future”, so I expected a bit of time-shifting hijinx. This episode continues that theme by continually mixing the present as we know it with tinges of the past. To that end, we start with Airi dreaming about the first time she met Sou, which comes up later in the episode in a tender moment between the two (even though Airi doesn’t have, nor will she ever have, any shot at Sou; that’s just how these shows work).

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Airi also remembers how she came to befriend her future rival Kaori, in a relay race in which Kaori fell far behind and Airi had to give it her all to win. She suspects new girl Furukawa Yui to be just as athletically inept…

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Then spots Yui blasting through hurdles like a bat outta hell, disproving that theory in its infancy. Still, the primary matter at hand in the present is the investigation of the ghost sightings…that is, until another brush fire springs up that the Student Council asks Astronomy to put out: that between the Judo and Karate clubs…again?

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Yui, apparently possessing some memories (something only Nagisa knows), tries her darndest to keep Kaori out of the fray, lest she get injured and…well, we don’t quite know what Yui is worried about. Yui also laments that trying to act only makes events grow more “unpredictable”, suggesting maybe doing nothing would be better.

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The source of the “ghost” everyone at school’s been on about turns out to be a “horror workshop” stunt by the film club, who are chastened and rebuked…but just because their ghost was a ruse doesn’t mean there isn’t another ghost lurking up there on the school roof….which of course there is. Yui sees it clearly at the end, glowing blue and ominous.

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So, you may ask: Just what the heck is going on? Well…I’ll have to get back to you on that once I’ve watched more, because even I’m not totally sure. Time is whimsical in this show, resulting in some inevitable confusion. Confusion aside, I still find myself invested enough in the members of the Astronomy club — particularly Sou, Airi and Kaori — to stay the course. Something very interesting is afoot, and so far we’ve only seen the seeds.

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Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete – 02

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The timeline in which Kaori ended up killed by a runaway bus right after confessing to Sou falls by the wayside, as the arrival of the naked, silver-haired amnesiac Furukawa Yui seems like the herald of a new and different timeline. The Astronomy Club takes care of her, and it isn’t long before she enrolls at school as a transfer student,

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While she knows her own name and seems to know Kou’s, the rest of Furukawa remains a stubborn mystery, aside from the fact she’s a bit clumsy. Meanwhile, the school brass wants the club to continue its role as mediator and defuser of conflicts, and also to investigate ghost sightings, though I’m pretty sure Furukawa is the ghost in question.

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All that, while organizing their planetarium exhibition, complete with maid costumes. Throughout both the investigation and the preparation, the club is its usual rowdy, ebullient self, which Furukawa seems to enjoy in her own sedate way. The romantic complexities of said group are largely put on hold this week, but once Furukawa accidentally touche’s Nagisa’s mysterious magical box, she suddenly remembers why she’s there.

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…She just didn’t deign to share that with us this week, so we’ll have to wait for the next. I must admit, this episode was not nearly as strong as the first, and was a largely workaday affair, introducing a new element without shaking anything else up too much. That element, Furukawa, is presently straddling the line between mysterious and…dull.

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Hataraku Maou-sama! – 07

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Maou’s new neighbor introduces herself as Kamazuki Suzuno and offers to cook him a meal. Emeralda sends Emi a package full of elixir disguised as vitamin drinks that will help restore her powers. While stalking Maou, Emi notices Suzuno in his apartment and investigates, and is eventually invited in. She warns Suzuno not to get too close to Maou. Maou has his first shift as supervisor, but Chiho is distraught when she sees the homemade bento Suzuno made him. Emi is attacked at a convenience store by an unknown assailant with the ability to nullify her sacred sword, but is saved by the clerk.

And then there were six. What started with just Maou and Ashiya transported to earth has now grown threefold with the addition of Urushihara and most recently Suzuno. While Urushihara started out as the bad guy and then became a web-surfing bum, Suzuno’s true motives remain elusive. She came from Ente Isla, but even Emi isn’t sure whether she’s a human or a demon, or what exactly she wants. All she knows is, she’s quickly inserted herself into Maou. Things take another turn for the suspicious when Emi is attacked not long after metting Suzuno, though her attacker was a guy.

While sweltering in the summer heat, Emi wonders if she’s looking at the Maou and Ashiya situation all wrong: maybe they really don’t mean any harm and simply want to live out their lives as law-abiding humans. Part of her wants that to be true, but she still can’t be sure. And even if she was, parties beyond her and Maou are inserting themselves into their lives, and aren’t going to let anyone have normal lives. They’ll attack without warning in conspicuous places, and they may come with kind greetings and homemade elaborate lunches. But the fact is, they’re all threats to the status quo that both Emi and Maou would rather simply enjoy indefinitely.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Suzuno is voiced by Itou Kanae, AKA Saten Ruiko, SAO’s Yui, Ohana, and others. Her approach with Suzuno is feminine yet mature, balancing her small stature with immense underlying strength.
  • Asakura Azumi voices Emeralda, a bit too airy and feathery for our tastes.
  • Chiho considers the homemade two-level bento (with heart rice inside) a challenge to her position as Maou’s betrothed.
  • We don’t know who voiced the convenience store clerk, but he had a cool accent.