Let me just say, this episode was rather Suishou heavy. I think that should tell you all you need to know!
If you rather see Suishou than hear about her, I have a gallery here. Although I really think you should do both. After all, it’s not like it’s possible to have too much Suishou.
What I Thought Would Happen
I thought Anna could miraculously be kind of o.k. Maybe in a coma or something. Being in a coma is not o.k. but you know, there would be hope for a full recovery.
I also figured Shingetsu would be a bit shaken up and would spend the episode moping around until Mangetsu went all out and cooked a feast for her. Like went out and spent a fortune on ingredients then spend an entire day cooking with some super advanced techniques. Then Shingetsu would tell her the food is “alright”. I’m not sure that’s so much what I thought would happen as what I hoped would happen!
What Did Happen
Anna is not o.k. In fact, Anna’s entire existence has been erased and only those who were in Granbelm at the time seem to remember her at all. As far as Nene is concerned the Fugo family had been eliminated ages ago. But why are the other girls remebering it differently.
Anna’s disappearance has left the stage wide open for a new mean girl to step in and what a magnificent mean girl it is. Trying to seize some type of advantage for herself. Suishou decides to go on the offensive, transferring to Mangetsu’s school and sowing some seeds of doubt in her mind as well as Kuon’s. I’m not certain how powerful Suishou is. They are strongly implying that she is responsible for Kuon’s sister’s curse. And she does seem to have a easy time swaying people.
Mangestu is saved by her strong bond with Shingetsu. Actually they kind of saver each other, I was right about the mopping around bit, but Kuon isn’t so lucky and I’m not sure how things are looking for her in the next fight.
In the meantime though, we have my other favourite Nene, playing detective. Trying to find some race that Anna had existed, she seeks out remnants of her, let’s call it magical signature, to no effect. And then she figured out that something is cancelling out not just Anna’s trace but everyone’s magical footprint. When she manages to see through it, we find out that Mangetsu is unbelievably powerful (we kind of already knew but it’s treated as a reveal) and her little sister has powers too.
I believe it’s implied that Mangetsu may be the one that caused Anna’s de-existence. Possibly unwittingly.
What About the Characters
Well duh Suishou is an absolute delight. I mean if you’re delighted by twisted and evil. I am! Beyond the character itself though, having a clear nemesis is great for the story in my opinion.
I am thrilled that Nene’s role didn’t end with her elimination from Granbelm. She has become friends with the rest of the girls, something that is obviously new to her (having friends on her level I mean), and we are seeing her put down her defences a bit.
Nene is very much a supporting character but she is one (of not the) of the more developed. As such, seeing her progress like this is very rewarding. On the other hand, now that her personal arc is not directly tied to the Granbelm, it once again makes me think that the magical side is the weakest aspect as characters flourish once they are removed from it.
I know this is very unlikely, but I would really like Mangetsu to pull a heel turn. You have to really strain but there are a couple of moments that could be used as hints for such an outcome. Her steadfast devotion to Shingetsu for no real reason beyond not getting quickly murdered in episode 1 could be twisted into the origin story of a Yandere. The way she has worn down suspicious Shingetsu through her kindness and all. The odds are pretty much nil, but I think it would be a delicious twist.
What I Liked
Suishou. I should just put this point in as a reusable block. 🙂
I liked this episode as a whole. I generally enjoy when a narrative injects a puzzle or mystery for us to solve. They rarely stick the landing and the solutions are often unsatisfying but until everything is revealed, I find that it’s a very effective way to get me immediately more interested in a story.
And Nene is a great choice to play detective. Her no nonsense approach couple with her logical mind ensures that the audience doesn’t get infuriated by a character that doesn’t follow up on clues or asks irrelevant questions. Plus Nene is just fun. Not Suishou fun but that a one of a kind type of fun.
Having Anna “erased” is the first real stakes we’ve seen in the series. Unless you count Kuon’s sister’s curse. Coupled with a clear antagonist, the fights now become much more engaging. Smart move.
Maybe it’s a mere reflection of my enjoyment, however the art and animation quality which I thought had slipped just a bit in past weeks seems to be fully back on track!
What I Liked Less
How token the Yuri scenes felt. There’s a kiss between Suishou and Kuon (actually Suishou hits on people a lot) and well as a sharing the bed naked scene between Kuon and Mangetsu. To be fair, the scenes themselves were fine, the bed scene was even pretty funny. But it was so shoe horned that I could almost picture a producer putting a neat check-mark next to the word “yuri” on his checklist.
The whole magical trace could have used a bit more exposition. It’s the backbone of the mystery solving trip we’re taking with Nene and it’s still a bit vague for me.
I like Kuon as an independent character but I find her arc rather weak. I think they should have done away with the cursed sister and kept Kuon as a secondary supporting character.
Fun episode! Very fun. It set up everything nicely and left us with just enough questions to really want to see the next episode. And yeah, there was no visit to Granbelm this week so that may have something to do with it!
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
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Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.