Basically more of the same, I guess…
The magic of this series is consistently leaving me in a position of being at a loss for words. However, to its credit, this at least wasn’t because the episode was weird. It certainly was, but after seeing the first episode, that effect has worn off. Now that the gimmick no longer has such a stronghold on the series, Urahara’s real problems become all the more prominent.
Starting with the first and most obvious problem, the series has the attention span of a gnat. Or, rather, it simply doesn’t seem to have even the slightest sense of focus. The problem of the episode is introduced as being a barrier around the city that the girls accidentally put there in the previous episode and can’t get rid of. But this goes absolutely nowhere. The wall is basically pushed to the background once things get heated again. In short, nothing is resolved and there’s no sense of the episode telling a clear story.
The most we got out of character was Mari being afraid, given all the weird happenings going on around them since all this began. Reasonably so, of course. But the arc ultimately doesn’t lead to anything all that spectacular. She gets over it, with the help of her friends, and… that’s pretty much it. Even Black Clover wasn’t that paint-by-numbers.
As mentioned before, this is a series that wants you to not think about anything too hard, and just have fun. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really commit enough to any of the actual fun elements to warrant that approach. It relies on its weirdness to get it anywhere. And once that wears off, you’re left with a pretty forgettable show. The characters don’t really stand out at all in a genre inundated with other characters who have similar archetypes but are just done better.
The jokes of the show are odd. They’re either meant for children, who I think would just not get a fair amount of them, anyway, or they’re aimed at people with a very specific sense of humor. There is a little reaction humor to be found in the episode, but it’s not really funny. Reaction humor works for two reasons – timing and delivery. If the reaction is delivered at the perfect moment, and in just the right way, it can be hilarious. Even non-reactions can be quite funny. And while timing doesn’t seem to be an issue with this series, the delivery is lacking, so the punchline winds up falling flat.
The visuals don’t support the “mindless fun” angle, either. As I said before, the art style is totally fine. And the animation works perfectly well for scenes of characters just talking. But during the more action-y scenes, things should be more engaging. Unfortunately, the animation here doesn’t do that. It’s very slow and sort of stagnant. There isn’t anything dynamic about it, so it ultimately just isn’t all that great to look at. Yes, the series is supposed to be cute, but you can still have good, exciting action in an otherwise cute series. Just ask almost every magical girl show ever. Speaking of which, despite these three basically being Science Magical Girls, there’s no transformation sequence, this time. I’m fully aware that they’re stock anyway, but it legitimately just goes from one shot of them in their civvies to a shot of them in their alien-fighting getups. It’s… actually pretty jarring.
At the end of the day, this episode didn’t impress me at all. It did what it could to introduce some questions for the audience to ask. So there’s that. Basically smaller scenes that are meant to make you curious so you’ll see the show through to the answers. And in that regard, the episode succeeded. It set up a couple of mysteries. Though if one of them is as obvious as I think it is, then even that would be just subpar, at best. Actually, there was one point at which I got pretty caught up in speculating just how twisted things could get, but that was more my own musings, based on the series overall concept, and what’d been done so far. Do I think this series is gonna drop a huge WTF-Bomb, halfway through? Yeah… probably not. It has happened with cuter things. Considering it isn’t listed as psychological, though, I doubt it.
Still feeling pretty underwhelmed, but maybe it’ll surprise me. I give it two more episodes to impress me with something. Unfortunately, I’d say the verdict so far is to pass on this one.
But if you feel you must watch it, Urahara is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Wednesdays at 7:15am PDT.