Magical Girl Ore
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Magical Girl Ore ?
Now that Saki and Sakuyo have hit their stride, it's time for Magical Girl Ore to point the camera at another pair of idols turned magical girls! In “Another and Another,” the idol group PRISMA snags the spotlight as Michiru and Ruka prove they've got as much reason to become magical girls themselves—and they've got just as much love to share. It's great to see this show from a fresh angle, but it's difficult to ignore how it's not only late in the game for two background characters to become major players, but they're almost a carbon copy of Saki and Sakuyo.
So I misunderstood last week. Around the 17:00 mark, when a group of meet-and-greet attendees was praising the magical girls and Michiru started blushing, I assumed that PRISMA was transforming off-screen and we'd soon find out that they were magical girls too—and that Michiru was blushing because she'd interpreted the praise as a compliment. This week, it turns out that PRISMA wasn't a pair of magical girls just yet. Michiru was probably blushing because she's got a big ol' crush on Ore. Meanwhile, her co-idol Ruka has a big ol' crush on her! Sound familiar? And—I'm sure you haven't heard this one before—their idol career isn't going well at all! So when a super sketchy magical girl scout offers them a new lease on life, they don't look twice at that fine print. Pretty soon the lovestruck main idol and her thirsty co-star have yet another thing in common with the protagonists we've been watching for the first eight episodes.
By introducing this new duo, Magical Girl Ore had quite the opportunity to show us it wasn't a one-trick pony. Instead, it follows almost the exact same script with a different coat of paint. Love triangle? Check. Lesbian partner who makes the object of her desire uncomfortable (and even peeps on Michiru when she's changing)? Check. Shady magical girl scout? Check, and Happy-chan is actually related to Kokoro-chan (although the "brother" talk could also be some kind of organized crime term of endearment too). What bugs me is that the parts of their transformation that were so interesting and funny the first time around are simply brushed off this week. For example, Michiru and Ruka don't seem at all surprised to have transformed into men. This raises some questions, considering that Michiru has a crush on Ore—so is she fully aware that magical girls are female, so Ore is not always in male form? How common is magical girlhood that Saki was totally surprised by it, but everyone else is taking it in stride? Instead, what surprises the girls is that they use violence, not magic, to fight—it's almost as if they didn't see the towering pile of demon gore at the meet-and-greet last episode.
Even though these new developments are fairly repetitive, the expansion from two magical girls to four means the episode doesn't have to pad for time as much, and there are some entertaining moments in the back-and-forth. Saki and Sakuyo's manager Konami is cheerfully cruel in his cold embrace of the idol industry. (By the way, I just noticed that his voice actor, Showtaro Morikubo, has voiced idols in Uta no Prince-sama, Ensemble Stars!, and more, so his heartless take on showbiz has a metatextual element for those in the know.) The demon opponent this week teeters bizarrely on the divide between body horror and adorableness. And the four magical girls' ultimate attack reminds us that if you are going to make an ill-advised contract with a cute mascot, at least you might get some sweet moves in the deal. It makes for fairly entertaining TV, but in the end, it's just “Another” magical girl show.
Magical Girl Ore is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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