Magical Girl Ore
Episode 5

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Magical Girl Ore ?

There's definitely some context I'm missing from this latest episode of Magical Girl Ore. The entire episode interrupts the story thus far to violently skewer every aspect of anime production at Studio Pierrot. (Magical Girl Ore comes from Pierrot Plus, but as the episode handily points out, most animation is heavily outsourced between studios these days.) The jokes are all pretty inside baseball, but even if I did understand them, I don't think I'd like this episode any better. While it's a lot easier to parody somebody else's work than to create something new, this episode proves that the result isn't guaranteed to be entertaining.

“Magical Girl - On Vacation” is a more literal title than I'd expected—Saki and Sakuyo effectively take a week off from being on the show. Instead we focus on Cyborg Fujimoto and his five brothers, who turn out to be professionals in the anime industry. They're on schedule to submit their latest episode when an executive rejects it outright—apparently the designs for Cyborg Fujimoto and his brothers are too similar to the sextuplets from Mr. Osomatsu. That doesn't prevent the episode from showing Fujimoto and his brothers mimicking the Osomatsu brothers' colors and age order, as well as their mannerisms and vocal tics. After this odd start, the episode devolves into a criticism of working conditions in the anime industry on the whole. From unreasonable producers to difficult animators to impossible deadlines and excessive reliance on outsourcing, it's an anime episode about how difficult and thankless it is to create anime. It's an understandable critique of an industry that absolutely has its problems, but I wouldn't say it's funny to watch. It's important to be aware of problems in the industry in order to fix them, but this didn't feel like the place for it.

The Fujimotos' hastily concocted storyline suffers from lack of logic, and having characters angrily shout, “Who came up with that premise!?” to prove that they're in on the joke doesn't make it any more forgivable. Pointing out the problems with a story for laughs can be a calculated risk, but this week it just reads like everyone saw the issues with this episode's parody take before it even aired. In the end, Saki and Sakuyo arrive to save the day in their magical girl forms, dispelling any need for the convoluted scheming of the previous 20 minutes. “What the hell kind of ending is this?” Fujimoto asks, taking the words right out of my mouth.

I'm all for parodying the anime industry, but I prefer the show commit to it the way Anime-Gataris did. This reads like an abrupt tantrum in the middle of a formerly cohesive story. I felt like Magical Girl Ore could frequently deliver pitch-perfect parody of the magical girl genre without losing itself in snide sideroads, so I'm not sure what happened this week. It definitely feels like I'm missing some context here, like perhaps the situation that happened with the Fujimoto siblings actually happened to the Magical Girl Ore animators, so maybe they had to scramble to create a filler episode like this? (It seems pretty unlikely, but you never know.) Even when I did have the cultural context to understand this episode's jokes (like when Chiba fell to his doom while playing Pokemon Go), none of them were funny enough to justify a complete departure from the magical girl story that was being told until this point. Just because characters kept proclaiming that this episode was a disaster didn't make it any less of one.

Rating: D

Magical Girl Ore is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.

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