by Rose Bridges,
How would you rate episode 8 of
This week on Classicaloid, it's all about the ladies! Liszt drags Kanae out for an official "girls' day out," and to our surprise, Tchaikovsky and Bądarzewska tag along for the fun. That might seem strange, given that they were summoning Mouse Kings to kill Kanae and her friends just a few episodes ago. On Classicaloid, you just have to learn to expect the unexpected—especially as the episodes move further away from character introductions and toward silly antics for their own sake.
This week does serve as an introduction of sorts to the two ladies of Claskey Klasky though. We've never spent that much time with them except as pop idols or antagonists to the main characters. I figured that sooner or later, all of the Classicaloids would be roped into the group, but I didn't expect it to be this soon. It doesn't make sense at first that they'd be so eager to hang out with Liszt and Kanae. Luckily, there's a conversation a few minutes into the "girl's day out" where they tell Liszt that they didn't expect Kanae to be there, and it makes them feel conflicted. Of course, it still puzzles me how they can just casually hang out with Liszt and the other escaped Classicaloids without tipping Bach-sama off. Isn't that part of their job, to hunt them down? Don't they have no choice but to obey their master?
Episode 8 left me puzzled several times, but it didn't take long to provide answers to those questions. In this case, everything starts making sense about halfway through the episode, when the girls all let loose for some karaoke. Tchaiko and Bąda decide to vent their frustrations at being part of Claskey Klasky, making it clear they don't really enjoy their jobs. (The girls do seem a little off-key in their karaoke performance for famous idols, especially Tchaiko.) This encourages Kanae to join in and rant about the guys making a mess and not paying their rent, which brings her closer to the other girls. Within a few minutes, they're lounging in an onsen shooting the breeze, sharing stories about all the male Classicaloids that Kanae hasn't heard yet.
The episode also addresses the weirdness of two of these three female Classicaloids being reincarnated male composers. I still think it was a missed opportunity not to include more than one female composer, but Classicaloid deals with this well. Tchaiko-chan apparently tends to "regress" to an "old geezer" personality when she's frustrated. This coincides with Sousuke's discovery that Tchaikovsky was an old man with a mustache, so it's clearly meant to refer to Tchaiko's historical past self. I'm not sure how geezerish Tchaikovsky was in real life, especially since he was only 53 when he died, but it was a neat twist on addressing this issue—certainly more original and less uncomfortable than making a joke out of Tchaikovsky's sexual orientation or his tragic, mysterious death. On the queer side of things, Liszt fondly remembers dating "Chopin's girlfriend" in their past lives. She's talking about the famous French writer Georges Sand, who did indeed have an affair with Chopin while possibly also harboring feelings for Liszt. Classicaloid's Liszt may just be reminding us that she used to be a man, but the way she goes on about Kanae, she seems to be pretty into other women even in her current form. This is especially notable when comparing her to Tchaiko-chan, who harbors romantic feelings for Bach-sama despite formerly being male, making some relationships queer no matter which perspective you take on the gender of the composer inside the ClassicaLoid.
Classicaloid does my job for me this week by explaining other historical details about its composers. Tchaiko refers to Bąda as a "one-hit wonder," and Sousuke's magic iPad explains to him that the real-life Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska is best known for just one piece: "A Maiden's Prayer." If that title or the music itself sounds familiar, you've probably seen Princess Tutu, where it plays a starring role in the identically titled episode 16. Bądarzewska wrote plenty of other piano music, but "A Maiden's Prayer" is far and away her best-known.
The episode culminates in a stressful phone call to Bach-sama. Tchaiko and Bąda promise to tell him their true feelings, but they're locked back in his spell as soon as he starts speaking. (The words he's using are just music techniques and tempos, by the way.) However, Liszt is having none of it. She immediately starts up her Musik, the Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 this time. It forces everyone, including Kanae and Sousuke, to confess their true feelings into the now-giant mobile phone. It was pretty cool to see their honesty being associated with literal growth; everyone is a chrysalis until they confess, when they turn into butterflies. The Musik sequences are getting increasingly creative and psychedelic, like something out of Flip Flappers, making each episode all the more eye-catching.
We never fully see the fallout of Tchaiko and Bada telling Bach-sama their true feelings, but we don't really need it; as they sadly tell Kanae and Liszt that they can't guarantee they won't be enemies again, the stakes are clear. Bach has some curious hold over the Classicaloids, but the girls have crossed a point of no return. They've befriended their enemies in a way they won't easily forget, and Liszt found a way around Bach's powers of control. It probably won't be too long until they also join the main group at Kanae's mansion. When that happens, we can only guess at what's in store for the Classicaloids and their relationship with Bach. One thing's for certain: this episode left me with lots of dangling questions about the nature of his powers.
As usual, Classicaloid excels at juggling different moods and narrative purposes. Episode 8 doesn't just give us a cute and fun "girl's day out," but also brings conflicting characters closer together. It also answers just enough of our questions about them while posing more to keep us watching. The show seems to only be getting better at blending its various storylines and emotions.
ClassicaLoid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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