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Magical Destroyers
Episode 7

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Magical Destroyers ?
Community score: 3.9


“Ultimate Game” does Magical Destroyers a bit of a disservice with that title, since there's simply no way that such a roughshod and inconsistent production as this will be producing the “Ultimate” anything, at least not anytime soon. That said, it's still a decently fun time, thanks to the show regaining some of the madcap Proto-Trigger/Gainax-But-When-It-Was-Good energy that has been lacking from recent episodes. It's a good time, just not a great time.

The biggest source of my disappointment, I think, is that Magical Destroyers seems like it simply cannot be bothered to take advantage of the game-culture-skewering potential of the fight against Adam and Eve that Otaku Hero and His Gang of Weird-Ass Magical Girls find themselves wrapped up in, this week. The VR setting gives the show the opportunity to lampoon literally any tropes and cliches that it could think of, and yet the whole fight takes place in a nondescript mishmash of generic city skyscrapers, and the episode does almost nothing with the video-game theme outside of a couple of nods to 8-bit RPG battle systems. Instead, the whole thing really ends up being more of a spoof on Gundam (and mecha anime in general), which is a perfectly fine idea, though I don't really get what it's doing here.

Still, despite the low-effort writing and mostly wonky production values, “Ultimate Game” still ends up being a decent half-hour of television, mostly on account of the episode's concerted effort to just keep throwing shit at the screen and ensures that its audience never has too much time to think too deeply about anything happening on screen or, worse yet, become bored. On top of all the fighting, which is choreographed decently enough to almost excuse how sloppy the animation is, we get plenty of graphic Kyotaro deaths to laugh at, which I'm always in favor of.

Thematically and narratively, the episode is at least attempting to do something interesting…I think(?) It's honestly hard to say, given how many aspects of the setting and overall plan of the SSC are still being played so close to the vest, but the whole arc of Adam the Hardcore Gamer CHUD goes back to the notions of “Maybe Some Aspects of Otaku Culture Are Bad, Actually” that I swear the show keeps revisiting on purpose. There's nothing about Adam's hyper-aggressive, toxic mentality from the pre-SSC days that could be seen as positive, really, and the fact that he is so quick to turn on his fellow otaku speaks to the ways that some assholes out there don't do it for the love of the nerd-shit so much as the love of themselves, a mindset which will always end up poisoning the well of fan communities sooner or later.

Is Magical Destroyers actually trying to say…well, anything, at this point? I honestly don't know. We're only halfway through the season, and the show at least has some more tricks up its sleeve so far as its plot is concerned. I'm disappointed that the series hasn't been able to live up to the wild energy and ambition of that first episode, so far, but here's to hoping that it can remain a solidly entertaining brain-cell killer in the meantime.


Magical Destroyers is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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