by Amy McNulty,
Masako Shimomura has a secret. It's not a surprise to anyone who's been watching Magimoji Rurumo thus far, but it's a secret she'll do almost anything to keep from getting out. The bespectacled girl, a quiet background member of the Disciplinary Committee, is...a cosplayer! Cue the gasps—well, there are none. Pretty much the only times she's been worthy of attention before is when she's admiring Rurumo's witch "cosplay" or whisking a cosplay accessory out of sight.
The first half of episode 9 is the most we've ever seen of Masako, as she invites Rurumo to her house, confesses her love of cosplay, and convinces Rurumo to be her cosplay friend. Rurumo, laidback as ever, rolls with it, watching the heaps of anime Masako gives her so she can "get into character" while Masako makes her a matching magical girl outfit for an upcoming event. It's an enjoyable segment with a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, and thankfully it doesn't get stuck in melodrama for long when Rurumo tells Kota about Masako's hobby and the whole school finds out.
The second segment is either a hit or miss, depending on your preferences. It's raunchier than the first half, as the sole focus is Rurumo's 170-year-old "chest cover" breaking. She turns to Masako for help, who blabs to almost every girl in school about it (and gets a cute embarrassed reaction out of usually stoic Rurumo), and they vow to go lingerie shopping with her and introduce her to bras. It's fanservice, plain and simple, and it has fewer creative jokes than the first segment.
However, the show gets props for coming up with a situation in which girls might actually unbutton their tops and flash their bras at each other. (A lot of anime seem to think women are all about feeling up each other's boobs for no discernible reason.) It also gets demerits for offering up the typical "Small boobs are beautiful, too!" encouragement from the perverted lead. (Since the flat-chested female lead starts doubting herself after she witnesses him flagrantly molesting women with large breasts.) Thank you, anime—women were so worried that perverted men might not want to feel up the small-chested among us. Now we can rest easy knowing they would. Magimoji Rurumo owes us better than that.
There are laughs in these stories, but it's far from the funniest episode. Getting to know Masako was a nice excursion, but there wasn't even a single use of magic. As always, Magimoji Rurumo's strengths lie in setting up a scene to go one way we've seen many times before and usually taking the show in another direction. That's such a breath of fresh air in the genre that it makes those moments when it fails to deliver something new more of a disappointment.
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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