Wandering Witch - The Journey of Elaina
Episode 9

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Wandering Witch - The Journey of Elaina ?

Last time, I was worried that three episodes of goofy nonsense would make for a sharp whiplash if Wandering Witch tried to go back to serious stories. I needn't have worried, as this week the show delivers the funniest episode of its run. That's not a good thing.

“A Deep Sorrow from the Past” actually starts out with an interesting, if clumsy, premise. Elaina gets a job helping Estelle, the Lavender Witch, who has spent years developing a spell to travel back in time to prevent the murder of her best friend's family; a tragedy that set said friend on the path of becoming a serial killer who Estelle eventually had to stop by her own wand. It's not exactly a perfect setup – by god am I tired of “abuse makes people crazy monsters” storylines – but the time-travel aspect is at least an intriguing new use of magic, and there's plenty of interesting ideas you could dig into with somebody trying to make up for such a grave loss in their past. Unfortunately most of those ideas get tossed out the window quickly by the sheer mechanics of this particular bit of Back to the Future-ing – nothing Estelle or Elaina do in the past will change their timeline, but rather create a second worldline where Selena was able to grow up safe and happy. That's a little too cut-and-dry for my taste, but you could still mine something out of Estelle's quest to gain a sad kind of closure through this whole endeavor, so let's see where this goes.

And the moment that thought entered my head, a blood-soaked, crazy-eyed 9-year-old straight out of a bad Higurashi ripoff appeared on screen and I laughed until I couldn't see straight.

What follows is easily one of the most embarrassing attempts at shock horror I've seen in quite some time, as the grade-schooler Selena, blood caked in her teeth, calmly explained how her parents abused her and that turned her into a maniacal killer who literally soaks in the ecstasy of murder. Then an enraged Estelle proceeded to magically brutalize a 4th grader while the kid cackled madly, in perhaps the most lovingly animated sequence of child murder I've ever seen. Sadly all that craft is wasted on a fundamentally busted narrative idea that's so poorly written I wondered if this show had been a parody all along. There was actually a content warning at the start of this episode, and in a vacuum, I can see why watching a kid get decapitated on-screen would warrant that, but for my money the entire sequence was so colossally dumb that no amount of gore could leave an impact. It's that bad.

I can't even really be mad though, because as horrifically unintentional as it was, I laughed like a hyena on nitrous oxide through the last 1/3rd of this episode and that can never be taken away from me. It was a truly mortifying experience, and if you're somebody who dropped this show but is a fan of absolute trainwrecks, you owe it to yourself to check out this episode. Plenty of shows can jump the shark, but here Wandering Witch jumps the shark only to land in the waiting, ravenous maw of a second, larger shark. The result is bloody, awful, and darkly funny in a way it really, really shouldn't be, and by god I hope they can find a way to top this. If this show can't be good, then it at least owes it to me to be amazingly, astonishingly bad.

Rating:

Wandering Witch - The Journey of Elaina is currently streaming on Funimation.


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