The Power Of A Death The Audience Won’t Care About
Isekai Cheat Magician Episode 7
In an anime that had been consistently better written with characters we cared more about, the events of episode 7 would have been pretty amazing to watch. Cliché to be sure, but cliché comes about because something works or appeals and is then used over and over again because it is effective. However, Isekai Cheat Magician hasn’t put in the time and effort to make this episode work the way it really should have and that’s a little disappointing because even with the lacklustre build-up to this semi-poignant moment it still kind of worked though it was more that you could see what they were aiming for and see just why it didn’t quite connect emotionally.
By and large the problem here is that Ana as a character has had little or no build up. I mean, she’s been in previous episodes, but it is almost like reading a summary of a character rather than actually getting to know here. Introduced as a villain (though the blink and you’ll miss it kind) before being taken prisoner and then showing up to assist Taichi as he beat some goblins before apparently being hypnotised into walking out onto a battlefield and ending up on the wrong end of a dragon attack. For us to take this character progression seriously we really needed each of these scenes to carry a lot more weight than they did and for Ana herself to be not as forgettable as a character.
I mean, we get the death of a critical character as motivator; it has been done to death. But Maes Hughes in FMA is one of the most beloved characters of all time so his death had significant weight for the audience, and his relationship with Mustang and the Elric brothers had been well established, giving his death narrative weight. That’s how you make such a sequence work and be more or less unforgettable. Here, we get the watered down version that works in theory but not emotionally.
While it might seem like I’m being harsh, I actually didn’t mind this episode. It isn’t as though it did a terrible job of the whole thing and Taichi even kind of moved up a notch as a character when he admitted he hadn’t been taking things seriously enough since arriving in the world. Again, the writing doesn’t really lend this scene enough weight but it is a nice scene and a good moment for his character.
Still, I’m just thinking how much better this whole sequence would have worked if we’d thrown Rin into the path rather than Ana. Honestly, she only came to the world because she jumped into the summoning circle. While she’s the best character the show has on offer, her existence with the story is not entirely necessary and using her to get Taichi to focus on whatever mission he’s going to end up on would have worked far more effectively and the audience probably would have cared a great deal (or at least more) if Rin had been the one who ended up in the dirt.
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Images from: Isekai Cheat Magician. Dir. T Daisuke. Encourage Films. 2019.