Alice & Zoroku
Episode 5

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Alice & Zoroku ?

This week, Alice & Zoroku wraps up its first major story arc with a full-blown action extravaganza. Since last week's outing filled the audience in on the details behind the show's premise, episode 5 is free to concentrate most of its efforts on the all-out brawl between Ichijo and Minnie C. What results is arguably the show's best action sequence to date, although the double-length series premiere set that bar fairly low. Still, as far as episode-length battles go, this is a visual treat. The blows are quick and straightforward, both combatants utilize their powers in interesting ways, and the fight is bookended by just the right amount of exposition from other characters.

Continuing from where the previous installment left off, episode 5 begins with Ichijo attempting to retrieve Sana & Zoroku and place Minnie C. under arrest. Needless to say, Minnie refuses to go quietly, and the two women quickly come to super-powered blows. Much to Minnie's surprise, Ichijo has a seemingly endless cache of weapons in her magical arsenal, and it's eventually revealed that a special gateway grants her access to 666 weapons and 13 grimoires. We also learn that the Dream of Alice with a witch maid motif who briefly appeared in the first episode was none other than Ichijo. After Minnie is defeated and placed under arrest, Koichi is taken into custody, the mysterious organization is dismantled, the figure opposing Naito's employer goes silent, and Sana settles into a quiet life with the Kashimuras. However, as Naito laments, things have gotten a little too quiet, and he wouldn't mind being called upon to deal with another incident.

From the fluid animation to the pulse-pounding soundtrack, the battle is easily the highlight of the episode—which is good, since it accounts for the vast majority of the runtime. The buildup to Ichijo pulling out her trump card and revealing her Dream of Alice form is exciting, and the revelation that she had been Minnie's opponent in the first episode is genuinely surprising. The nature of Ichijo's powers is still unclear (was her getting them contingent upon that specific anime being on in the background?), but it's certainly one of the most interesting abilities introduced so far. Unfortunately, all the action comes at the expense of screentime for the titular duo, but the two share a few tender moments, and by episode's end, Zoroku's attitude has softened attitude toward Sana considerably.

The audience is left with the impression that the show's first five episodes have been a prologue for what's to come. Sanae's narration even implies that this was all simply the origin story of how she and her grandfather came to welcome Sana into their lives. If that's actually the case, and the show now shifts its focus to magic-infused slice-of-life adventures, the results could prove entertaining. However, in light of how action-heavy and dramatic the introductory arc was, it's likely things have only calmed down temporarily.

Rating: B+

Alice & Zoroku is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.


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