And so it begins… kind of.
The qualifier for the series big tournament about to get underway. But after the events of the previous episode, Hazuki has decided to leave this world and return to her normal life. This is… honestly rather strange as storytelling conventions go. Based on everything that’s happened so far, one would expect this episode to be saved for later. Afterall, in terms of Hazuki’s character arc, this is definitely her lowest low. Her “dark night of the soul,” so to speak. Will she have lower lows? Most likely.
It’s just interesting because this is usually around the time when things are settling into their promise of the premise. The exciting stuff starts happening and all that. Then something goes wrong and it’s usually around then that we get to where we’re currently at in the story. This all leads me to the thought that this is just not going to end well. And probably won’t be ending for a while yet, anyway. After all, the tournament, proper, hasn’t even begun. So unless Hazuki very suddenly becomes a prodigy or we just skip her training to further her skills, it’s not likely they’ll be able to cram all of it into the remaining seven or so episodes. At least not considering how many supporting characters were introduced last time, who are also all going to be competing.
This show is just paced very strangely. It isn’t that it’s bad pacing, though there are certainly instances of it being poorly paced. It’s more that there are just very bizarrely unconventional storytelling practices on display here. Which is made all the more confounding when you take into consideration that this is a show about stories. It’s not really abiding by a lot of the typical storytelling norms in terms of simple layout and the like. Though it is keeping to everything else pretty firmly. The character arcs, the archetypes, the common tropes, etcetera.
One thing I am interested in is this tournament. The qualifier match we get to see the beginning of in this episode has relatively unique rules for this kind of thing. It’s sort of a King of the Hill type situation. Though I think it could’ve been handled a bit better, seeing as the location-oriented aspect seemed unneeded. Mainly because it just turns into a regular old fight, anyway.
Maybe this is the Overwatch fanatic in me, talking, but I’d have liked to see the match not necessarily require physically beating the opponent, so much as just managing to hold them off back a certain amount of time passed. Then maybe a straight-up battle for overtime or something, if both sides could remain on the arena grounds (in this case, a castle). I suppose I’m mainly interested because the tournament was pitched as each match having different rules. So I look forward to seeing things that don’t just involve beating the snot out of the opponent. Things that may require a bit more finesse. It’d be kinda cool. But I digress.
As to everything else, it’s fine. Hazuki’s character arc continues to be sweet to watch. Somewhat relatable, albeit on a hyper-exaggerated level. I did like getting to see Hazuki sort of growing into her family a bit more as they clearly care about her, even if they don’t really understand her. That being said, the pacing is still a bit offputting and I’m curious as to how things could possibly develop further for our lead, who’s already taken so many major leaps from where she was in the beginning. The only thing I can come up with is that the remainder of the series will be dedicated to Hazuki helping Shizuka sort through her own demons. In all, the episode was Harmless. It did a decent job of furthering characters, though is still fairly slow about delivering on its many promises. But, hey, if you wanna see something that managed to blow an entire season with abysmal pacing, check out my reviews of Black Clover. It’s a pretty good case study on what not to do.
Or, if you’d prefer to focus on “cute girls do a 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.