Missing Sisters and The End of Friendships
The second episode of Magia Record follows Iroha as she realises she had a sick sister who was once in a hospital in Kamihama city. After school she takes the bus to go and find some clues but ends up on a bus that is hi-jacked by a witch. She then meets three other magical girls and gets embroiled in their all-out-friendship drama before the episode ends with another witch, or maybe a monster, showing up.
Despite a lot going on in this episode, and individual segments being both visually stimulating and interesting enough I kind of felt like this episode was playing it both a little too safe and ultimately didn’t do much to connect me with these characters. The trio of new magical girls we encounter make a decent enough entrance with Kaede, the weaker of the group, running into Iroha when Iroha followed the bus passengers. We then get a pretty decent visual feast as Rena and Momoko work together to take out the witch, though it ends up being more or less a one hit wonder and lacks a lot of the visceral emotions that came with so many of the fights in the original Madoka series.
However, we learn little of them other than Rena and Kaede butt heads and after some really clumsy exposition about a school rumour about a friendship ending staircase we get a petty squabble that ends when Kaede declares her friendship with Rena over and walks out. I’d be more annoyed at this sequence but then I remembered the characters are meant to be around middle school aged and it seems somewhat more believable even if the presence of witches probably should give them some perspective. Still, it wasn’t exactly subtle or even particularly interesting in the way this conflict escalated. Mostly it seemed like an excuse to bring in another witch at the end of the episode.
Magia Record is giving us hints that it has its own story with Iroha’s missing sister or possible memory tampering, and a younger, different version of Kyuubey who may or may not be on the loose, and yet it feels very much like it is afraid to really head out on its own path. At the same time, what it is presenting hasn’t quite got enough personality to really hold it together. Iroha encountering an entirely new group of magical girls didn’t help as she had no pre-existing relationship or chemistry with them.
On the other hand, the show hasn’t done anything actually wrong. It just isn’t quite as interesting as it could be. The end result is something entirely watchable and reasonably enjoyable without any wow factor or really hook at this point. Hopefully episode three drops a bombshell because this series is going to need something to spice it up soon.
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More wish making magical girls facing horrific battle? Check out all episode reviews of Magia Record.
Images from: Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden. Dir. Gekidan Inu Curry. Shaft. 2020.