This is progressively getting more interesting.
Mind you, the setup is as straightforward as they come. It’s perfectly fine, of course, as long as they do something to differentiate themselves in some way. The episode was mostly exposition, with very little actually happening. But the effect of boredom was largely alleviated by it actually being fairly intriguing and relevant to the story. They explained the setup of this tournament, a little more about how the magic works, the obligatory monsters of this universe, basically everything we’ll need to know, going forward. And there are actually some interesting bits and pieces to be found. It’s weird because there’s both not a lot happening, and yet a lot happening all at once.
I like how they managed to explain the tournament. The reason for having it isn’t just to prove who’s best, or anything like that. The wish is legitimately treated as a prize and nothing else. And I actually do admire how they handled that in Hazuki’s case. She’s a girl who never wanted much. She finally got everything she could wish for in the last episode, so what would she really gain from winning? And I feel like that’s going to play a part in the final stage of the series when it finally gets there.
The introduction of the “Stains” was also a nice element to sort of give the tournament some purpose aside from just being a thing that happens. And some information we get about Shizuka, later, really emphasizes the need for this tournament and reinforces her reason for wanting to participate.
Hazuki is also starting to really stand out a little more. Her experiences are helping her to develop a bit of nerve, which is shown in a scene with her sister. It’s admittedly about as subtle as a rocket launcher, but it does show a bit more development for the character. She’s not quite where she needs to be in self-confidence. Not yet. So she’ll have moments of resolve, followed by doubts that cause her to act in certain ways. It’s accented with a scene at the end, though admittedly has the unfortunate side effect of once again stripping her. Which is, as I’ve stated, just not as funny as they think it is. And in this instance, I honestly do think they’re just intending it to be funny. Because if they’re going for fan service, it’s… honestly (and gratefully) surprisingly tame and mercifully brief.
Overall the episode isn’t much to report. It does its job, sets up the world more, reveals and develops characters, and has a few admittedly funny gags, though is punctuated by one that’s just not funny. The episode’s plot is fairly light, revolving almost entirely around Hazuki struggling to pull off the transformation spell and bringing her up to speed on what this tournament is. There is a bit of ominous hinting at darker things going on beneath the surface, but at the moment it’s all just forboding threats and stuff that we don’t really know enough to really care deeply about. So the episode, though reasonably entertaining, isn’t abundantly fun. But it is a little intriguing. And while there to just further the setup of the story, it does have some good moments holding it together.
It’s perfectly effective at what it does, and while I certainly wouldn’t call it Super Effective, I think it’s perfectly Harmless. Not bad, not something I’d really recommend Passing, especially since there’s so much crucial information in it. But nothing that’s going to wow anyone. But if you’d prefer something with a little more “wow factor,” I’d recommend checking out DARLING in the FRANXX. By all accounts, it’s a lot of fun, so far. Implausible. But it’s a show about giant robots beating the snot out of giant monsters. If it can’t have a little stupid fun, it wouldn’t be worthy of its premise.
If you’re still interested in “Cute Girls do a Magical Tournament Arc,” Maerchen Maedchen is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Thursdays at 11:00am EST. That’s all for me, here, folks. As always, thanks for reading. Keep up the awesome.