by Lynzee Loveridge,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Fairy Ranmaru ?
Community score: 3.6
Part of this is due to his own seeming flippancy towards the 10 Laws. The other fairies regard Takara as a womanizer who is out at all hours hooking up with women. In reality, that's only half true. This week's episode reveals why Takara cares so little about the Fairy hierarchy while also highlighting topics like food insecurity, how predatory loans specifically target the lower working class, and sex work. I was lukewarm on last week's attempt to tie a drive for success to inevitable degeneracy, but this week's themes are much more empathetic towards the individual characters.
The first thing we have to acknowledge is that the fairy social structure is pretty screwed up. I don't know if this is a larger indictment of the actual 10 Laws (and by association their religious origins) or not. Sometimes an episode's plot seems to reinforce the Law's social relevancy but then the actual fairies themselves seem to all have suffered some kind of trauma living in fairy society. Uruu lived with emotionally neglectful parents that have permanently stunted his ability to express his feelings in a healthy way. Homura's dad was presumably punished (possibly executed) for having a romantic affair with a woman in a loveless marriage. Jūka's life by comparison was pretty sunny, but he still was left with insecurities due to his assigned role.
Takara's own embitterment towards the system feels more than justified on all that alone, but he had a particularly rough go of it as the assumed heir of the Metallum Clan. I've been curious how coupling is supposed to work in general given that the laws forbid both romance and sex with the opposite sex. Obviously every fairy that copulates isn't being thrown into the sexual torture cage because otherwise how would fairies continue to exist? Is there, like, sanctioned sexy time? Putting those questions aside, it seems like sexual culture varies between groups, and in the case of the Metallum Clan, the male leader is encouraged to have a ton of sexual partners to ensure a male heir since the male to female ratio is not 50/50. Takara is the result of mistress number 12 but clan infighting saw his father murdered and his mother starved herself to feed him as they hid in what looks like the sewers. She put all of her hopes into Takara, repeatedly telling him that he must reestablish the Metallum Clan.
Suffice to say, Takara has some unique views of sex and a large chip on his shoulder due to what happened to his mother and how much responsibility he is forced to shoulder for his lineage. His mother's wishes are the only reason he's cooperating with the Queen at all and he seems resentful of it, anyway. In the meantime, he still has to feed four other fairies who are completely oblivious to how the world works. So he turns to a trade he has experience in: sex work. Takara isn't engaging in "carnal relations" to give the establishment the middle finger. It's a skill he's good at, can monetize, and is able to separate from his emotions. Takara is a prime example of "sex work is work."
Just because he can separate sex and romance doesn't mean he doesn't have a soft spot. He meets a woman running a small produce grocery with her father who looks like she's about to collapse from hunger. Takara gets wrapped up in her life when he discovers they're being preyed upon by a loan shark. During the magical confrontation, the lender espouses diatribes about how the lower class will always be poor and ensnaring them in these schemes is fine. Also this is your reminder that payday advancement 'businesses' are the exact same thing and should be outlawed. The fight scene itself is pretty lackluster though, as we're treated to a mostly static confrontation among golden Picasso couples featuring a raging bull that kind of reminded me of the Wall Street statue. Commodification of people is certainly an underlying theme in this episode, so take with that what you will.
Once again, Fairy Ranmaru does a whole lot when it is absolutely not required. We've still got some underlying plot threads about "Sirius," the mysterious guy that seems to be egging on the bad situations taking place around the fairies. Takara also hints that Ranmaru's oblivious status isn't just...how he is but may be the result of a larger plot involving the queen. Perhaps will find out more next week as we move away from sin-themed episode titles for "Liberation."
Fairy Ranmaru is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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