Anime roundup 8/5/2021: Rebuilding Season

In this week’s viewing: We’re back to a full lineup as Magia Record finally returns!

Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story season 2 premiere – In the town of Mitakihara, Tomoe Mami’s old friends wrestle with the knowledge that their careers will end with death or worse, but they also hear the message that there’s a way out in Kamihama. And in Kamihama itself, a girl is searching for her sister…

If you were planning to watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica at some point to get more context for this show, now’s the time to do it, as this episode has just about all the spoilers for it. Instead of a recap of where things stand in Kamihama, most of this installment is devoted to explaining where this branches from the original storyline, and it assumes you’re already familiar with Kaname Madoka, Akemi Homura, and Miki Sayaka.

All we see of Kamihama is Yachiyo back to hunting down the Magius headquarters, and a tantalizing glimpse of Ui, Iroha’s missing sister, who is somehow at the center of things. No explanation yet of why she fell out of Iroha’s reality completely or what might have happened with Iroha’s wish to cause that, but it’s a reassuring sign that an explanation may be coming eventually. And by “eventually”, I mean that season 3 of Magia Record has already been announced.

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Sonny Boy #3 – Things settle into a routine on the island until students start turning into statues. It is decided that Mizuho, as the idle rich, should use her abundant free time to investigate, and she in turn requisitions Nagara as an assistant. Fortuitously, this leads to the revelation that Nagara does have a power, and one that is absolutely critical if everyone wants to go home.

The mystery of how the school wound up wandering the alternate dimensions is pretty well solved now. Mizuho and Hoshi both reveal that their powers showed up before they left our world, implying that everyone’s did, and Nagara turns out to be the cause of the portals they keep finding. Put that together and it’s Nagara’s power that plunged them all into the infinite blackness in the first place. It also explains how the school emerged into a new place just when he and Nozomi needed something to land in.

However, like any good sf story when we’re only 25% of the way through, this leads to a whole host of new questions: Is Nagara deliberately choosing the rules that each space enforces, or is he just finding places that happen to be nearby? What caused the powers to appear in the first place? Is Earth a basket case now because the entire human race has suddenly acquired superpowers, or was the phenomenon limited to the school?

As an additional sign that Sonny Boy has a lot more up its sleeve, consider that we still haven’t seen a proper opening or closing credits sequence yet. This usually means that they’re full of spoilers for things that still haven’t been revealed yet.

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Peach Boy Riverside #5 – At some point after the destruction of Rimdarl, Sally and her friends fetch up in a city which is stalked by a vampire and full of more anti-demihuman bigots. Carrot, still not ready to embrace humans in general, figures she can fix all this by getting the vampire to just kill everybody. The flaw in this plan is that his definition of “everybody” is not the same as hers.

Once again, Peach Boy Riverside returns to the theme that interracial relations are more complicated than fantasy usually makes them out to be. Kyūketsuki (which just means “Vampire”, I don’t know why the generic term is translated but not the name) has his own exception to all humans being terrible, in the form of his late wife, but is unwilling to accept Carrot’s. Carrot is outraged on Frau’s behalf, but Frau has come to terms with her treatment and doesn’t appreciate Carrot taking matters into her own hands.

Frau then turns out to be the biggest exception of all, when it turns out that she dies on a regular basis, has a buddy in Heaven who can fix that right up, and is not a regular harefolk at all. In fact, the black wings and red eyes strongly suggest that she’s a demon of some sort. But she’s a demon using her power for good, and her heart is in the right place, which is more than can be said for Kyūketsuki, especially after Frau punches a hole right through him.

In another positive development, this episode finally reveals the source of Sally’s octopus phobia, and this time manages to show it without needless sexualization. In fact, I get the impression that this show is officially tired of this joke and wants to be done with it. I hope that’s the case.

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Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun season 2 #16 – With the giant magical monsters continuing to rampage, Iruma finally works out that he’s experiencing an emotion which is entirely new to him: anger. Meanwhile, Jazz and the other students in Kalego’s group are to confront the even stranger feeling of having succeeded at something.

Well, it’s a few seconds of success, anyway, before the monster gets right back up again and Kalego gets to demonstrate how quickly he can take care of it. But you get the feeling that Kalego wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun if he couldn’t have shown off like that.

The second monster is taken down handily by Ameri, whose family power turns out to be weaponized self-esteem, with an unconscious assist from Keroli, who decides that an impromptu concert can’t make things any worse. That leaves the monster nearest Iruma, whose enthusiasm for doing the right thing will probably find a way to make up for him, Asmodeus, and Sabnock combined not being as strong as Ameri or Kalego.

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Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU #6 – As Mion spirals further into paranoia, she cuts an accidental swath through the power structure of the village, surreptitiously disposing of bodies right and left. It’s Satoko who finally has to call a halt to things after realizing that Rika is already dead.

Mion’s disintegration resembles Rena’s in that she’s able to pull herself together and look completely with it long after she’s gone off the deep end. Unlike Rena, though, she has access to power and the training to kill people, leaving her with a proportionately higher body count before the police finally work out what’s going on (or rather, by the time they can come up with a pretext to actually stop it).

This fills in more details about the second arc of GOU, but it fails to answer the one real dangling question: did Satoko die in time to catch up with Rika, or is Rika getting a break?

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