Mahoiku has completed its transition from partly lighthearted to full-blown darkness as this episode makes the situation even more dangerous for the remaining magical girls.
Ruler’s plan to steal candies involves the twins and inu-chan keeping La Pucelle busy while she and Swim Swim go steal the candies. It goes perfectly well and Swim Swim manages to get the candies from Koyuki even though the stalling doesn’t work perfectly. Here Ruler shows her true colors; she tells her underlings that she will get the bigger share of the candies followed by Swimmer girl and then the other two weaklings.
And this is where the unexpected twist comes in: the one with the least candies this week is Ruler. Even though the most likely situation was either dog girl or the angels dying, Ruler ends up losing her life, getting what she deserved. This result was achieved because of treachery which was well within the realm of possibilities. What makes this result even more unexpected is that Swim Swim was the one who stabbed Ruler in the back. She stole half of Koyuki’s fifty thousand candies and distributed most of it between Tama-chan and the twins and the rest among the other magical girls while keeping Ruler away from this distribution.
Swim Swim betraying Ruler was the last thing one would have expected to happen especially after what we saw of her in the previous episode and in Nemurin’s last magical outing. But there, sleepy head girl sowed the seeds of this betrayal as the little girl was none other than Swim Swim (which raises the question of whether this was done on purpose or not); Nemurin told her to not be a mere liege but become a princess herself. Being a little girl, Swim Swim was swayed by those words quite easily and she found the best way to get rid of the current arrogant, haughty, bossy—and all other adjectives attributed to her kind—princess and take her place. In hindsight one could say that Ruler getting what she deserved was bound to happen eventually since no one likes a bully, but the most obedient underling killing her boss was far from the most likely outcome.
Another thing which this episode did good was keeping the outcome mysterious despite giving Ruler’s backstory at the start. Usually telling the story of a character is a sign of death but it didn’t come off as that here since other characters have more or less gotten their stories told but haven’t died yet.
All this establishes Mahoiku as a great show among its kind. Anyone can die at any moment and you most likely won’t be seeing it coming. The characters getting subtly developed is also good, since that makes the deaths impactful. We get to see each girl’s reason for being a mahou shoujo, what they hope to achieve, and some things about their personality based on the kind of magical girl they are; this may lead to us sympathizing with some characters and hating others, and may also lead to the viewers taking sides other than Koyuki’s.
With regards to Koyuki’s ideals as a mahou shoujo, she is still determined to earn her candies the right way with the right intentions: she doesn’t want to earn candies for her survival but to help people and get candies as a reward. Both have the same result, but because of different intentions they are worlds apart. And this obviously means that she has no intention of fighting anyone, not even if they steal her candies. So how will she survive this death match? That’s where La Pucelle jumps in.
We have seen La Pucelle enough to know that she has a crush on Koyuki, and she says herself that he’ll be Snow White’s knight; she’ll be Koyuki’s bodyguard and will not let anyone get away with stealing candies, assuming they even get past her in the first place. She already showed that she wouldn’t hesitate in attacking other mahou shoujo—she swung her ginormous sword at the twins and even got a hit on one—and she won’t be holding back her murderous intent either.
One thing we see here is that the twins are actually jumping with joy upon seeing Ruler die. The dead girl’s personality aside, magical girls don’t usually shout for joy after someone die; they’re here to prevent such an outcome. Coupled with La Pucelle’s bloody intentions towards anyone picking a fight with her or Koyuki, Mahoiku is portraying magical girls in a completely different light. It’s put these girls in a dangerous situation and is bringing out their survival instincts; the girls are going against what mahou shoujo traditionally stand for and this is setting it apart from other magical girl anime.
We get some mysteries in this episode which most certainly are intriguing and worth looking into. Nemu’s death was stated as being a heart attack; Ruler’s dead body is seen covered with blood which obviously means that she didn’t die due to the same reason. So how did Ruler die? They didn’t really show how Nemurin died either so we can’t say for sure if a heart attack really did kill her or not, but it does seem fitting for her at least: sleepy NEET girl dies in her sleep sounds like how she would like to die if anything. Ruler wanted to be acknowledged by everyone around her even after graduating from high school since her ego was sky high and all; one could say that her death was rather humiliating as she was laughed upon by those whom she looked down on.
Mahoiku is on its way to becoming quite a thrilling show. It knows what to reveal now and what to keep for later, drops hints around and then use them later on in the show; the foreshadowing of future events has been quite stellar and the way it shows things makes future events quite surprising. So far they haven’t done anything pulled out of nowhere either. The sixteenth mahou shoujo is going to show up next week (Koyuki was the fifteenth) and there are a number of theories one could come up with regarding her role. And that’s also what makes this quite an enjoyable show; things can go in any direction with there being a number of possibilities which the viewers could come up with.
This episode has established Mahoiku as one of the better anime airing in this season; if it wasn’t good enough before, then it surely is now, and it can get a whole lot better if it doesn’t lose its way in the future.
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