ClassicaLoid
Episode 5

by Rose Bridges,

How would you rate episode 5 of
ClassicaLoid ?

Classicaloid episode 5 starts out as a silly story of Beethoven doing his best to perfect his gyoza technique. Along the way, it turns into a story focused on worldbuilding, dealing out some important revelations about the Classicaloids and their world.

Beethoven starts with some more specific details about the kind of gyoza he wants to make. It needs to be black, in tribute to a "Jet Black Harmony" gyoza that Beethoven ate in the past. As a result, he keeps burning the filling, leading to gross gyoza that makes everyone who eats it puke. Finally, someone suggests maybe he should use filling that is black to start with, which sets off the plot. After all, someone needs to go to the store to get all the black gyoza fillings! Sousuke and Mozart volunteer for the job.

Along the way, we learn a little bit about Kanae's family. Kanae has a college professor father, who she resents for putting the family in debt. Her dad also seems to have a strong bond with the Classicaloids. It's gradually made clear that he was the one who made the "Jet Black Harmony" gyoza that Beethoven seeks to perfect. They were a combination of sweet and spicy tastes that evoke nostalgia. This makes it increasingly clear that Kanae's dad has something to do with the Classicaloids' history; he eventually reveals that he was the one who created them.

Before that comes up (at the very end of the episode), he tells Kanae to beware of someone named "King." This character reveals himself while Mozart and Sousuke are returning from their hunt for the black fillings. "King" uses a mouse to corner Mozart, who is only able to escape with the help of a cat. King is a fairly mouselike human himself, who sports big front teeth and runs in fear from the growling cat. Mozart and Sousuke make it home, but it's clear that King has a bigger mission in mind. He calls in an assist from Tchaikovsky and Badarzewska. "King" is clearly aligned in some way with Bach-sama, with a goal to bring all the Classicaloids back under his wing.

There's not as much musical detail to fill in this week. Tchaikovsky uses her Musik, of course based on the composer's most famous work: the Nutcracker ballet. The actual parts used are a mixture of the Waltz of the Flowers and the March. This explains "King" and his appearance; Tchaik's Musik involves summoning mass copies of the Mouse King from the ballet. The Mouse King is the main villain of the story, fitting his villainous role in the Classicaloid episode. Beethoven thwarts the Kings with his Musik, summoning a group of emperor penguins with his "Emperor" Concerto.

Like most of the nicknames for Beethoven's music, the "Emperor" was a later addition by an editor, so it doesn't have much reflection on his original intentions for the piece. I did think it was funny that Beethoven called his emperor a superior ruler who can thwart the tyrannical kings. That's ironic considering Beethoven's feelings about a real emperor during his time: Napoleon. Beethoven famously dedicated his 3rd symphony, the "Eroica," to Napoleon, seeing him as a beacon of reform and liberty in Europe—but then he ripped up the dedication when Napoleon declared himself Emperor. Beethoven was none too fond of real emperors, but maybe he would have felt differently about emperor penguins. Either way, it makes for a hilarious "battle," as the penguins slap the Mouse Kings into submission.

The Classicaloids are safe for now, as Tchaikovsky and Badarzewska return to their master. On that note, I'm not sure how I feel about Tchaikovsky being represented by a female Classicaloid here. Tchaikovsky is probably the most famous gay composer, so there are some unfortunate implications in making his anime avatar female. At least he's not the only male composer the series does this with, and Liszt was far from unfamiliar with the ladies. That being said, it feels like a missed opportunity to include more real-life female composers. At least Badarzewska is there, but it would have been cool to see her team up with Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, or Amy Beach.

The point is that Classicaloid made what could have been a completely silly episode feel meaningful. We learn part of the Classicaloids' secret and the reason behind Beethoven's love of gyoza. It could still be based on an untranslated pun, but at least in-story, it's based on the circumstances of his creation. Kanae's dad knows about the Mouse Kings, so he certainly has a clue as to why Bach-sama has created this mansion of Classicaloids and wants the escapees back. I'm eager to see what we learn next about these characters—especially why Kanae's dad made them in the first place.

Rating: A-

ClassicaLoid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Rose's favorite music by Schubert is his song cycle "Winterreise." Follow her on her media blog Rose's Turn, and on Twitter.


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