Luck & Logic
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Luck & Logic ?
The human equivalent of Luck & Logic would be an attractive face who can't express an original thought to save their life. This show never fails to impress me with the juxtaposition between its gorgeous setting and its vapid plot. Today's episode focuses on the ho-hum backstory of Mana, an aloof lolita character type you've already seen executed better as Yuki Nagato in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. This installment continues Yoshichika's habit of effortlessly (and annoyingly) winning over every one of his female teammates.
Mana is a quiet girl both on the battlefield and off. Her abilities are covert, like sniping and “Sneak Walk.” Fittingly, the quiet and distant Mana doesn't tell her own story in this episode; instead, we discover it through snippets of other characters' gossip. In fairness, Mana conveys her feelings through her actions. The majority of this episode takes place after dark, following Mana as a small glowing dot in an urban cityscape. The backdrop is a perfect impression of Mana herself, echoing her Trance outfit—a subtle, black hoodie with a luminescent neon scarf. If anything, the gorgeous visuals of this episode tell a better story than the plot does.
For the bulk of the episode, the other characters spend their time attempting to get the lonely Mana to open up to them as a family. Yoshichika makes her a soup at his dad's suggestion, only to get yelled at by apparent men's magazine aficionado Tamaki, who also had a copy of this seduction-tips magazine for some reason? Their ministrations are interrupted by a new Foreigner, but the conflict isn't about the Foreigner at all, rather about teaching Mana something about herself. This Monster of the Week format is a hackneyed way to force characters to bond when they unite against a foe. It's even less impressive this week because the show has started to recycle things like transformation sequences. The girls are no match for this giant enemy snake, and Mana is ready to risk her life in an Overtrance, until the perfect hero Yoshichika reminds her that there are people who would be sad if she was gone, something everyone in the whole world needs to hear at least once. So Yoshichika becomes her knight in shining armor as they work together to fight the snake instead, and the third time's a predictable charm. And of course, the characters finally get Mana to smile! Yawn, but awww.
Like always, this episode manages to have one of the characters dismiss its entire proceedings as “cliché” in the dialogue, but self-awareness doesn't make a show any less cliché! “It's OK,” this series seems to say, “because the characters all realize they're walking clichés so that makes it better.” But there's nothing original about this do-no-wrong hero and his harem, complete with a motherly goddess, an energetic blonde, a glasses-wearing tsundere, and now a shy lolita character—and the lawless universe in which they live. “I don't remember telling you to mobilize!” Veronica barks once again at one of her hapless Logicalists, which leads me to realize that I can't remember the last time anyone on this reckless team actually followed orders. Protected by plot armor, everybody will live to cliché another day.
Luck & Logic is currently streaming on Funimation.
Lauren writes about anime and journalism at Otaku Journalist.
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