by Amy McNulty,
Magimoji Rurumo episode 10 does it again: It takes a trope we've seen way too often in anime and twists it just enough to offer up a pretty fresh take. This episode features the onsen trope, with the cast of girls bathing in an outdoor hot spring mere yards from the cast of boys. Only this time, they're in a mixed bath to begin with and Kota makes no attempt to hide his intentions of sneaking a peek at his female classmates. He plans to walk right up to them instead.
Episode 10 is the rare Magimoji Rurumo that focuses on only one story throughout; even the first episode switched gears after the mid-episode break. You'd think that meant we were in for some serious plotline development, but that's not the case. This is a fluff episode for the most part, as most Magimoji Rurumo episodes are. Magic and the paranormal are featured more heavily here than they have been for the past few episodes, but even so, the story focuses largely on Kota attempting to enjoy the perks of being in a mixed bath.
A legend about water that turns those who drink it into wolves draws the large cast of characters to Okamimura ("wolf village") so the Mysterious Discovery Club can do some investigating. The seemingly-random collection of other people joins them to soak in the hot springs. Chiro's also along for the ride in her human form. She nonchalantly claims to be Rurumo's younger sister, which would also make her Kota's sister according to the cover story they came up with for Rurumo, but it doesn't really become the big issue you might expect.
It's great to see more of the secondary characters back in the spotlight. The Mysterious Discovery Club is deadly serious about their investigations as usual, even though they fail to see the magic that exists right in front of them. The male members of the club don't even join Kota and his other friends in trying to see the girls naked. Magimoji Rurumo walks that fine line between humorous perversion and genuine offensiveness perfectly. In another show of this ilk, every man on screen would be salivating like a hound at the prospect of naked women nearby—or there wouldn't be any other male besides the main character. In another show, the boys would probably be more successful, the girls would feel each other up for no discernible reason, and not a single girl would like anyone but the main character, but it's clear that several of the girls like other boys on the trip.
Toward the end of the episode, there's a touching scene between Rurumo and Kota that is sure to satisfy fans of their relationship. There's no love confession yet—this isn't that type of show—but a moment reaffirming their bond. If the series does intend to come up with some sort of conclusion, that bit of build-up is helpful.
Episode 10 is a solid entry in Magimoji Rurumo, and the "wolf" (predator) and "lamb" imagery throughout is clever, considering the theme of the hot springs. There have been funnier episodes and there have been episodes that tug at the heartstrings more effectively. Nevertheless, we can feel the hints of the story building to a conclusion, for better or for worse. Magimoji Rurumo is strong as a series focused on fillers, but you can't establish the Chekhov's gun of Kota's life fading away with each wish at the start and not have it go off by the third act.
Magimoji Rurumo is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for nearly two decades.
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