by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Someone more familiar with the source material has assured me that I spoke incorrectly last episode about the story having progressed beyond the general path, and that the vignette focused on Shizuru was still part of it. If that's the case, then presumably this episode's (fully expected) vignette about Lucia is part of it too. In any case, we get to find out exactly why Lucia reacted the way she did at the end of last episode, and it is indeed connected to why she always wears gloves.
The episode doesn't waste any time getting to the essence of things either, though the storytelling seems intent for a while on trying to convince us that supposed cursed girl Haruka Asahi isn't a younger Lucia, and that she's actually just being haunted by Haruka's spirit or something. (Sorry Key, but your storytelling approach is a little too transparent for any misdirection like that to work. The truth was pretty obvious.) Actually, I suppose you could say that she is haunted by the memory of being Haruka, which she has clearly tried to put behind her, so it does fit in a way. Regardless, the nature of her rotting/poisoning power seems to establish that what was revealed about Shizuru last episode is the trend going forward: rather than having illnesses or injuries, these girls are tragic girls because of powers that can be very dangerous if used accidentally, which tends to isolate them from other people. But what I don't get at this point is how her ability to shatter glass connects with her rotting/poisoning ability. As with Shizuru last episode, are these both aspects of a broader power or a separate ability?
Either way, learning that Lucia is affiliated with the same organization as Shizuru – called Guardian – firms up one of the two sides in an overall conflict for the fate of the world. Given the hints dropped so far, Chihaya and Akane are probably members of the rival organization Gaia, but presumably we will get a firmer grasp on that next episode. (Unlike last episode, this one doesn't give any hints about who the next focus girl will be.) This also further suggests that Ribbon Girl may be the being at the heart of the Guardian/Gaia conflict. So where does that leave Kotori, who can't be uninvolved? And what the heck was up with that final post-credits scene? Just a bit of fan service, perhaps?
Sadly, the mysteries behind the story are more compelling than the actual storytelling at this point. Perhaps I've become too inured to Key's moe games over time, but Lucia's situation just didn't generate much of an emotional hook. Sure, it was nice seeing that Kotarou can use his ability to adapt to Lucia's touch and thus win her over, but this whole progression feels like it moved along too fast to build up proper effect. Lucia's story was nearly as interesting for injecting direct fan service into the series for the first time (panty and cleavage shots), along with how Lucia unexpectedly didn't flip out over the way she was dressed in front of Kotarou. (Not that there was anything unreasonable about her being dressed that way, given that she was in wet clothes prior to that, but how often do anime girls let that slide without a reaction?)
Despite the aforementioned flaws, I do think the series is moving in the right direction, hence the mildly positive grade. There's still a lot of room for it to do better on the details, however.
Note: Next week's review will likely be later than normal due to my involvement in a convention over the weekend.
Rewrite is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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