Magia Record Episode 2 Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

Affiliate Link – Artbook
FINAL FANTASY XIV: SHADOWBRINGERS: THE ART OF REFLECTION - HISTORIES FORSAKEN (PAPERBACK)

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.

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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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Karandi James


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.

Magia Record Episode 1 Review

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The Magic of Franchises

Having paid little attention to what was coming out this season I was somewhat surprised to see a new entry in the Madoka Magica franchise. Doing a bit of reading it turns out it is from a spin off game though apparently Madoka does appear in it. What didn’t surprise me is that once I saw that Magia Record was related to the Madoka anime I pretty much immediately assumed I’d be watching it this season. While I still haven’t gotten around to the movies or anything else outside of the anime series, I really did love Madoka and so going back to that world sounded like it could be quite fun.

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This is still done by studio Shaft and character designs and the witches all still look very much the way they did originally. That said, I couldn’t help but feel the direction in this first episode wasn’t as captivating or engrossing as the original anime. Everything works well enough and the animation is gorgeous but there’s no wow factor to it. Part of that is because what might have been the wow factor, the appearance of the witch’s labyrinth, has been seen before in the original anime but I think part of it is that this episode just lacked flair.

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But rather than comparing it to what has come before, this episode introduces us to our new heroine, Iroha. She’s a pink haired girl whose parents have conveniently left on an overseas business trip leaving her alone which works well for her because she is pursuing her magical girl duties while trying to remember just what it was she wishes for. Yep, she has forgotten, or been made to forget her wish. The reason she’s fighting the witches in the first place. Admittedly, the mystery isn’t one for long as they visually give the audience everything they need to figure out what is missing even if we don’t know exactly how that is related to Iroha’s wish. I’m guessing this will all become clear eventually.

Affiliate Link – Game Soundtrack
MAGIA RECORD: PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA SIDE STORY

In the meantime, fellow magical girl Kuroe has been hearing rumours and has had a dream telling her that magical girls can be ‘saved’ if they go to Kamihama city. The how and why of that has yet to be determined but both Kuroe and Iroha find themselves in Kamihama city after they are carried their by a witch. Turns out the only thing waiting there are bigger and stronger witches. Again, there’s probably more to this story and I’m sure we’ll find out as the series progresses but for now that’s where we are sitting.

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As a first episode, this wasn’t super thrilling but it also wasn’t bad. I am curious about Iroha’s wish and just what is happening in Kamihama city so it did its job at least in laying out some mysteries and hooking me in to watching more. Hopefully Magia Record ends up delivering a decent story and for now I’m optimistic that it can and so for now this one is probably a firm addition to my watch list.


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


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.

Mekakucity Actors Series Review

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Mekakucity Actors Overview:

Borrowed straight from AnimeLab because I watched it and I still don’t know what happened:

The incidents which occurred on August 14th and 15th bring a group of young boys and girls together… They are members of a group they call themselves the “Mekakushi Dan” (Blindfold Organization) and each member possesses a strange power involving their eyes. Will the members of this peculiar organization be able to solve the mysteries behind these incidents and see the truth?

Mekakucity Actors Review:

When you are bored and randomly scrolling through the titles in a streaming services collection for something you haven’t seen or heard of before, you don’t really expect all that much from what you find. Occasionally you will come across that rare gem of a show that you wonder how you managed to miss it for all those years.

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Mekakucity Actors is not that show. It’s the one you find and read the synopsis and realise this is probably going to be a disorganised mess and then you start the show and those suspicions are confirmed. So why watch it through to the end? Because it has a mystery and it kind of gives you enough hope early on that somehow this will all actually be worth all the confusion and frustration and then you get to the end and the reaction I posted on Twitter is still exactly how I feel thinking about this.

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Can always count on Mizutani for a good reaction.

But that’s jumping to the punchline rather than fully explaining the experience of watching this anime. First up, it’s from Shaft. And while it may not be fair of me to say, visually it comes off like a poorer version of Monogatari. The thing is, I wasn’t a big fan of those visuals. The odd character designs and colour schemes. The backgrounds that are at times minimalistic and at others cluttered to the point of distraction. The weird transitions between scenes and moments. 

So having a show that looks like a poor knock-off of a show I didn’t like the look of in the first place kind of gave it a rough start before I even started looking at the characters and plot. That said, if that were my only issue with the show I probably would have watched it and enjoyed it anyway. While I’m not a big fan of the Monogatari series I did have a lot of fun watching it through once.

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It’s difficult to talk about plot or characters without the two blurring together. And it’s difficult to say much about either without revealing information that the audience doesn’t get told until later in the series. There’s a reasonably large cast considering how many details we need to remember and each character has a unique design. Also, we always know which characters are going to mean anything to the story given all the background characters are literally just grey shadows moving about. However, other than being visually distinct, the characters themselves aren’t that distinct and that is possibly deliberate but boring.

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The first characters we really spend any time with are Ene and Shintarou. Most of the first episode is focussed on these two (though Ene is technically either an AI or a virus depending on your viewpoint) and exists entirely inside Shintarou’s computer and phone. While Ene is working very hard to be demanding but cute, Shintarou’s entire personality kind of consists of staring blankly before freaking out and then going back to staring blankly.



Given he is fairly significant to the central mystery (in a way that is still yet to make any sense other than some blanket declarations at the end of the series) it would have been nice to have seen a bit more from him in these early episodes. Particularly, as after we meet him, the second episode shifts focus to Momo who is an idol with some problems, and while we do get back to Shintarou and his path crosses into most of the other characters’ stories at some points, he himself does not ever get a chance to develop due to very limited screen time as anything other than a support background character or an oddity in another storyline.

By the time Shuuya and Hiyori are introduced in any meaningful capacity (Shuuya does appear in episode 2 but mostly just as background) the question I had to ask was ‘did we really need more characters?’ given at that point other than the names and power of the characters (those who had powers) I pretty much knew nothing about any of them. Which makes it very difficult to care about their actions, which seem largely based around chance and coincidence, or the consequences, which are impossible to understand until we get several exposition dumps toward the end.

That isn’t to say there isn’t some clever work going on in this story. Each of the characters does have a very interesting story to tell and these are hinted at. The problem is we have twelve episodes of run time and far too many characters plus an incredibly complex conspiracy unfolding and so none of the characters or plot points ever get enough time or focus. The use of the children’s story to help all of the elements converge worked well, though again, we probably needed this concept expanded on for it to really work.

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Finally, we have the ‘villain’ of the piece. Still not sure what he was hoping to accomplish. He did keep going on about granting a wish but mostly he seemed to come off as a simple sadist who seemed to enjoy watching people break. His actions are questionable, what he hoped from the ending even if it had gone his way is really unknown, and how he was defeated is still unclear. Why he even needed to be defeated and couldn’t just be ignored is also unknown.

This is where everything in the story kind of falls apart. We could put up with the shallow characterisation, the central character we know nothing about, the bad exposition dumps in the final episodes to rationalise that this character is important, if only the villain had seemed like an actual threat and we understood what that threat was and why it was so vital he be stopped. Mostly he just seemed like a jerk.

And I still don’t know what he was trying to accomplish so I don’t really care that he failed. This actually would have been a mediocre anime if they had just succeeded at a basic ‘here’s the bad guy, this is why he’s bad, let everyone else stop him’ ending. There still would have been loose ends and plot threads but we could have walked away reasonably satisfied.

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And so what we have instead is an anime I will quickly forget about even with its attention grabbing, look at me colour scheme and fast paced opening song as well as all the sing-a-long moments and dream sequences throughout. Because the characters are already blurring into one another in my memory other than the fact that they wore different colours and the plot was a mess of nothingness with no clear point or reason. Unless we were supposed to learn to be nice to monsters, not to make wishes, or just ensure we don’t die on the 15th.

If you’ve watched it, what were your thoughts on Mekakucity Actors?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James