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

Paradisu!!!!!
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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