Magical Girl Ore
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Magical Girl Ore ?
I had some real Gintama flashbacks while watching Magical Girl Ore this week, specifically the feeling that if I had a better cultural understanding of Japan, I might find this episode funnier. As it stands, “Meet-and-Greet” focuses on the distinctly Japanese concept of the idol/fan relationship and includes a bunch of references that I just don't get. The show's waning production values and dragging story don't help much either. That said, this episode finally gave us Saki's mom as a magical girl, and that at least was glorious.
Magical Girl Ore is adapted from a 12-chapter manga, and it's trying its best to stretch that content out over the course of a season. The result is that its twists have long been telegraphed to the audience. We know that Mohiro's pal Hyoe is the demon boss. We know that the Prisma idol girls are almost certainly magical girls themselves. (By the way, if magical girls are so common, why are Saki and Sakuyo so famous?) And we've known Sayori is a mature magical girl, a magical woman as it were, who's ready to pass her magic wand to her daughter. Now that she's become comically ill (with a blood pressure of 300 or so), she's finally ready to give up the act. Mom's particular brand of humor relies on hyperbole to the point that I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take at face value. She and Kokoro make an excellent manzai comedy team—with Kokoro as the straight man and Sayori as the wise guy—but I was distracted by the certainty that their argument in front of an ocean at sunset was a reference to something I just don't get.
The same sense of cultural ignorance pervaded during the meet and greet. Some stuff was pretty obvious, like that Manager's underhanded tactics are probably an exaggeration of shady practices in the real life idol industry, hellbent on fleecing fans to increase sales. There was also Saki's creepy fanboy who got what appears to be semen (they call it condensed milk, but we know what they're trying to say here) on Ore's hand. This is probably a reference to something that really happened to an unfortunate idol—and might explain why at least one idol group dons hazmat suits before interacting with their fans. But since it was portrayed almost entirely through panning still images instead of animation, it was a pretty dry meet-and-greet despite the chaos.
In any case, Mom was definitely the star of the show. Don't miss her special illustration during the ending credits! Her ridiculous illness gave way to superhuman strength when it was convenient, even before she assumed her magical girl form. Then the extremely muscular mother-daughter reunion (while Mohiro silently observes) finally reveals Sayori's long-awaited magical girl form, and it's every bit as macho as I was expecting. Her dramatic pseudo-death in an angelic Kokoro's arms pays great homage to dark magical girl shows without an ounce of severity. It's short-lived though, and Magical Girl Ore quickly goes back to its usual non-shenanigans: Mohiro gets kidnapped, Saki and Sakuyo must once again defeat the cute demons as violently as possible, and we get nowhere further in progressing the story.
Magical Girl Ore is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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