by Amy McNulty,
Magimoji Rurumo 12 suffers from what many one-cour anime rely on: the ending-that's-not-really-an-ending. Sure, it strives for some sort of dramatic tension; the episode-long story featuring a New Year's Day visit to a local shrine revolves around Kota and his friends forgetting Rurumo ever existed. Everyone seems to feel like something's missing, that there's this "girl" they were expecting to meet. They even see her in a photo and still can't quite place who she is. However, it's not as effective a plot as the creative team seemed to be going for. At no point did I consider Rurumo would be forgotten forever. At no point did Rurumo's magic play a role akin to that beyond the "mind wipe" spell. At no point was the sense of danger elevated, and the episode sorely lacked its usual amount of humor.
The overarching plotline about Kota dying when he uses up all his wishes doesn't get resolved. From what I understand of the source material, a Magimoji Rurumo manga is currently being serialized, but it's the third manga in the series, and the initial manga has concluded. I thought that might mean we could look forward to a resolution in the anime. Obviously, Kota wouldn't die—but Rurumo might finally become aware of what her wishes will do to him. Instead, we get a final It's a Wonderful Life-style episode, only everyone's lives aren't tragically undone by Rurumo's absence. For the most part, they just spend the episode enjoying themselves and occasionally act like they're suffering from memory loss.
The episode does get some kudos for a sweet conversation between Kota and Rurumo. The relationship between the two characters has always been the backbone of the series, and if the last few episodes were building up to a stronger bond between the two, it pays off a little here, as Rurumo shows slightly more emotion than usual. It'd be interesting to see how the bond between them would weather the revelation that Rurumo's magic will kill Kota, but instead, we leave the series with no sense of danger. Rurumo even seems prepared to live with Kota for the long haul—she mentions an event she'll have to participate in once a year, as if this will be a regular thing—and Kota hasn't made a wish in a number of episodes. At this rate, Rurumo will become a witch again when Kota dies of old age.
If the series was going to ignore its most important plot element, it should have at least left us with a funny and memorable exit. Magimoji Rurumo's strength lies in comedy and twisting tropes enough to make them unexpected. This episode failed on both counts, and gave us nothing substantial in exchange for it. That said, the final episode doesn't erase my fondness for the series as a whole. Any fans who've been waiting for the series to finish before starting it will find plenty of laughs ahead of them, without feeling like they're retreading common ground.
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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