Magical Girl Ore
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Magical Girl Ore ?
Before there were magical girls, there was Kamen Rider. Long before be-ribboned defenders of justice appeared on the scene, heroes worked alone without cute mascots, and they wore masks instead of petticoats. After its thorough caricature of every magical girl trope, it's no surprise that Magical Girl Ore would quickly dig into this divide. This is the most entertaining bit of parody the show has delivered yet, but it's a gem within a bigger show that still has a lot of unresolved structural issues.
Find Kamen Rider down on his luck, and you get Cyborg Fujimoto, a masked hero held together with a plastic supermarket bag and some duct tape. Voice actress Megumi Ogata, who you might know as Sailor Uranus or Shinji Ikari, is the perfect fit for this throwback role. “Heroes are supposed to be lonely and hard-boiled!” Fujimoto complains, echoing realistic complaints about the magical girl genre as a whole. “You freakin' weak ass magical girls are ruining that!” In a world where magical girls have the spotlight, Fujimoto is living a low-budget lifestyle, wearing a school gym tracksuit and living in a crappy apartment. His transformation is just for show, and his power move is a kick to the groin. While he despairs the fall of masked heroes and the rise of magical girls, he also kind of proves why audience tastes have changed. Ogata does a bang-up job as a small and angry cyborg, demonstrating how much has changed between masked rider and magical girl tropes—and how much has stayed the same.
Outside of this highlight, this episode is a mixed bag. Sakuyo continues to be touchy and temperamental in a way that suggests that her lesbian feelings are a physical threat to Saki. It's funny how the ultra-violent demon-crushing scene gives way to a School Days “nice boat” gag, but this is still the second time the show has resorted to the exact same joke. We've already seen mob characters alarmed by Saki and Sakuyo's bathroom stall transformations. Mohiro's hero-worship of Ore happens twice this episode with little difference between the two scenes. And while it feels slow and repetitive to me, this installment of the Magical Girl Ore anime has already added aspects that the manga did not have—so there's no reason for it to feel so protracted.
This episode is also full of odds and ends that are nowhere near being resolved and just add some interesting background noise. Mohiro's bandmate Hyoe is definitely up to something, seemingly revealing himself as the bad guy Saki always suspected him to be. A duo of girls with gold and silver hair lurk in the background to provide commentary, but we don't get to know them in this episode. In short, there are a bunch of elements that I'm not ready to analyze yet because they haven't been established enough. While it does feel like the show is stretching its content thin, there's still a lot to poke fun at when it comes to the magical girl genre, and Cyborg Fujimoto is only the latest example of how successful this flavor of humor can be. Don't miss the post-credits scene that gives me hope that we haven't seen the last of Fujimoto yet.
Magical Girl Ore is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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