The deaths continue in this episode. If you do the math, the series has averaged at least 1 death per episode by now.
(Spoilers in this episode)
A warning before the review happens is needed, I think. Suddenly all my screenshots now save at 853 x 432 instead of 1280 x 738, so I don’t have to go into every image and reduce the size to 500 x 288 anymore. It does mean that every image takes slightly longer to load, however, and I’m sorry about that.
Well, my guess about “random girl who was helped by Snow White” being Hardgore Alice turned out to be spot-on. That’s enough tooting of my own horn, though.
The girl, Ako, just also happens to have terrible parents like everyoe else It seems like her father is locked up in prison after killing her mother. Why does everyone have such miserable family lives in this series? I guess the alarm bells should have been ringing when we saw that the eyecatch saying Ako lives with her aunt. Yet another outcast brought in as a magical girl by Fav.
After the OP plays, we jump to Hardgore Alice being called out to meet Snow White. Snow White first asks about where Hardgore Alice’s stuffed bunny is before she apologizes for misunderstanding HG Alice. Of course, Hardgore Alice can’t find her stuffed rabbit doll because Minael did a switcheroo during the previous episode. More on that later.
Anyways, it turns out this brief exchange took place shortly before Fav announced last week’s death toll. After hearing the grim news, Snow White loses her cool over the absurdity and flips out at Hardgore Alice, who tries to calm her down.
While this scene depicted just how these last events and deaths have stressed out Snow White pretty well, which is something the series has kind of glossed over, I felt really bad for Hardgore Alice. First her father tells her, “Please, don’t come here again.” And then her idol says, “Don’t follow me.” Poor Hardgore Alice / Ako.
The sad moments just keep coming for Ako. On her way to school, Swim Swim ambushes her. By now, I’m pretty sure most people would agree that Hardgore Alice is invincible, so this attack shouldn’t do anything, right?
I had forgotten about this small footnote. Because of it, Ako can’t transform, so she’s forced to run into an alleyway where she can become Hardgore Alice. We also get more flashbacks of her life from around the time she was choosen to be a magical girl. But before she can transform into unstoppable Hardgore Alice…
As she lies dying, Ako thinks of Snow White. Somehow she’s able to hear Ako’s thoughts even though she hasn’t transformed. No explanation for how that is possible is given. At any rate, Snow White manages to track down Hardgore Alice, who explains that she wanted to cheer her up yesterday and that the city has a magical girl as long as she lives.
That’s just the abridged version of what happens during their final encounter. What’s important to note is that Ako hands Snow White the Lucky Rabbit’s Foot before dying.
What’s not as important is the fact that I’ve rewatched this scene several times while writing this review.
In my opinion, this basically guarantees that Snow White will survive until the very end. She dismissed the Lucky Rabbit’s Foot back in episode one, but wouldn’t it make for great irony if it triggers and she’s able to get out of a pinch? It’ll be too tragic for her to die after two people who were devoted to her already kicked the bucket.
The second half of the episode shows the three stooges chilling in their base. Minael claims that they should have done this before and we get to see exactly how she pulled it off. Hardgore Alice apparently put her bunny doll (which was Minael) away momentarily, allowing Minael to escape without being noticed.
We also get a small flashback for the twins. At this point I can’t say I’m fond of them, so I wasn’t all that happy. But I do relate a little bit since I am also a twin. My peers all the way up to high school confused us for each other. Heck, even my brother’s roommates thought I was him when I visited him, haha. At any rate, Swim Swim has decided their next target should be Cranberry (big mistake).
The scene then jumps to Cranberry where we get tons of exposition. Lots of pics incoming!
tl;dr Cranberry refers to the World of Magic as a seperate world entirety. The WoM is looking for talent, but they don’t want casualities. However, Cranberry is in charge of finding said talent and she thinks this bloody battle is much more interesting. Everything that’s happened thus far is therefore her fault.
After Cranberry admits that she’s grown interested in Swim Swim (who’s killed four magical girls by now: Ruler, Winterprison, Top Speed, and Hardgore Alice), Fav informs her that Swim Swim wants to make contact with her. Of course, that actually means “a fight to the death.” It’s like in Umineko no Naku Koro Ni where “gentlemen, serve her some tea” means “beat the crap out of her.”
Meanwhile, Ripple is mourning Top Speed still. She blames herself for Top Speeds’ death, but she still seeks revenge on Swim Swim nonetheless. Put on the delinquent coat, Ripple!
The last few minutes is like a grotesque comedy. Swim Swim basicaly tells the others to circle the forest while she enters the cabin the woods. Minael and Tama find Cranberry, but she nails Tama’s arm with a rock and leaves it useless and bleeding. Cranberry’s ability to manipulate sound makes it easy to track down her opponents’ breathing, it seems. Vague magical abilities are the best after all, right? Anyways, Tama manages to dodge the second rock since she took a magical pill, which seemingly increases your speed.
And then there’s the brutal kill that came out of nowhere.
Tama and Swim Swim reunite and discover the body. Noticing that Cranberry is right behind them, Swim Swim instructs Tama to continue without looking back in order to do a pincer attack. Cranberry is impressed with Swim Swim’s battle instincts.
Final thoughts about this episode:
- We’re down to five magical girls now since Hardgore Alice and Minael kicked the bucket. One more until the next cutoff point, but who knows if Cranberry will stop here?
- All this talk about a selection test and the World of Magic could be signs that a sequel might come. The novel series has a small but stable fanbase in Japan and this is just the first arc. There’s currently six arcs and counting for the original source material.
- Cranberry is probably from the World of Magic, huh? Does that mean she doesn’t have to transform into a magical girl since she’s one by default?
- Her being the selector and admin of this whole “game” explains why she doesn’t have to collect magical candies to stay alive. Cranberry’s free to just chase after strong opponents as a result.
- I think Swim Swim respected Snow White’s ability a bit too much. They probably should have gone after her now that her bodyguard is dead.
- Wouldn’t it be a riot if Snow White manages to just sit around in despair while everyone else is fighting? And then she’s automatically a finalist because she’s just moping? Her inheriting Lucky Rabbit’s Foot makes this unlikely, however. She probably will get hunt down and the item will give her a chance to escape. Whether or not she can will be up to herself.
- Signs point to Swim Swim losing this showdown (all of her kills were basically sneak attacks / required the help of Tama, Minael, and Yunael). The previous episode also showed us how she didn’t actually know how to use her weapon. Her ability was what allowed her to escape from Ripple unharmed. Meanwhile Cranberry is Cranberry.
- Still, since Ripple still holds a grudge against Swim Swim, it wouldn’t be karmic justice if Swim Swim just died without Ripple meets her again. But since when have things been fair so far?