As if the risk of having their candies stolen at any moment wasn’t enough, Mahoiku makes the situation even more dangerous for these girls in its fifth entry.
The episode’s main focus is the lesbian couple of Winterprison and Sister Nana and through this focus, Cranberry officially makes her entry into this death game.
Sister Nana is almost exactly like Snow White: she is idealistic and believes that mahou shoujo are here to make the world a better place and shouldn’t fight amongst one another. The only difference is that instead of quietly suffering, she’s trying to join forces with other magical girls to try and put an end to all this madness. Her support is the combat type magical girl, Winterprison.
Continuing from the last episode, Nana and Weiss are trying to bring Top Speed and Ripple onto their side but Ripple is against such idealism and believes that this won’t get them anywhere; the only thing they can do is survive through the game’s rules and fight if necessary. We get the opposition to the idealism and sheer optimism of Sister Nana in the form of Ripple.
Ripple isn’t only the opposition to Nana, but she also is to Snow although to a much lesser extent since White isn’t such a magical girl rights activist like Nana. Although given this kind of personality of Ripple’s it’ll be interesting to see what the opening sequence hinted to happening in the show: we see Snow White extending her hand and Ripple’s hand taking hers. It’s a small scene but it is probably hinting towards the two encountering each other and possibly teaming up. Ripple is a bit curious about Snow White and checks out news about her as seen in this episode.
Word of Nana’s attempts to foil the game admins’ plans reaches Cranberry who calls them out. This is where we get our second fight scene of the series and this has all the thrill and excitement the previous one lacked due to the fact that it was only La Pucelle swinging her sword around. Cranberry shows her true intentions and tells the lesbians that they should stop trying to ruin the fun of this game; with that she attempts to kill Nana, but her opponent ends up being Winterprison, who is supposedly the strongest mahou shoujo in this batch.
As seen in the previous episode, whatever revelation this anime makes isn’t without its hints. The hint for this turn of events lies in episode three where Weiss found in the backlog a conversation between Cranberry and Fav regarding the fate of the magical girls when they lose their “magical” part. Why didn’t Cranberry say anything about this to anyone else? Well, now you know why. To Cranberry, this kind of ending to their magical girl career only makes things more interesting. And besides, she’s going to be killing others anyway so it doesn’t really matter what happens when they lose their magical abilities.
One thing we see here after Winterprison escapes with her wife is that Fav is complaining to Cranberry about letting them run away even though they’re trying to affect the game’s progression. It appears that Cranberry has made some sort of deal with Fav that she’ll eliminate those who’re messing with the game it goes steadily. But since she’s found a worthy opponent in Winterprison, she’s leaving her alone and instead she’ll target Sister Nana’s possible allies and kill the strongest; her first targets being La Pucelle and Snow White. Something else Berry-san is getting out of this is a guaranteed survival in this game, provided no one kills her, since she says so herself that she doesn’t need candies (unless she’s diabetic and is being extra cautious).
Let’s go back to the very beginning of episode 1 for a minute. Aren’t there shots of Cranberry here which are similar to those seen back then? The girl in the center of all that death is most likely Cranberry. Based on these revelations, there are two speculations regarding that scene: either it shows the previous batch of magical girls who were almost all killed by Cranberry (she is the oldest magical girl here, she’s closer to Fav than the others, and she claims to not having had an interesting fight in “quite a while”), or that scene was showing the future of this batch with Cranberry killing everyone. We’ll have to come back to this later on in the series when more details are revealed. Mahoiku has managed to make even such a small scene quite interesting and mysterious.
The episode lacked Snow White but in her place we got focus on the lesbian couple, Cranberry, Magicaloid, Mary and to an extent on Ripple too.
Magicaloid’s focus brings in some comedy but also serves two purposes: first is showing that while some magical girls are here to earn candies by helping out people, the magical robot is here to make some money too; second is to show how overly trusting Nana is to the point of actually believing that Magicaloid’s practically useless items helped Shizuka become Winterprison. She further cons Nana and gets money out of her by claiming that she can contact the admins for her through her (nonexistent) links.
Magicaloid wanting to earn money gives the reason behind her teaming up with gunslinger girl, who happens to be doing the same thing with her powers. This is showing that while there are magical girls who help people because it’s the good thing to do, there are girls like Mary who are in this magical girl business to make some money. Mary works much like a hitman, killing people or organizations—or at least threatening them—for money. And since she is technically helping someone, she’s getting some candies too. It’s pretty much perfect in many ways for her.
Mahoiku continues to show magical girls in a different light by showing for what purpose each is earning candies. Given this situation, some girls’ reasons are changing while others’ aren’t—some girls still want to help people for the sake of it and get candies as a reward, some are helping people only for the reward, some want to steal other girl’s rewards, and some are in it to make dough. Except for the first, the rest of the reasons aren’t typically associated with mahou shoujo. Such a focus on the characters and their reasons makes this show even more worthwhile.
The focus shifting away from Snow White is nice as it gives time to develop the others. The first two victims died with some small back stories only so their deaths lacked much of an emotional impact. It was expected since the cast is pretty big so developing everyone properly for some emotional impact upon their deaths is asking too much. But since the cast is now being cut down, we can hope that the remaining deaths will be more gut-wrenching. The next one may not hit us well enough—although the presentation could change that—but deaths following this one may have some punch. Mahoiku doesn’t have enough episodes in its hands so they’re probably trying to at least focus on some of the girls to give us emotional scenes upon killing them.
This show offers quite a lot to talk about and this episode proves just that. Mahoiku isn’t just a battle royale show as it has some focus on many other things while keeping things mysterious pretty nicely. Its way of dropping hints and then using them later on has constantly been on display here and makes the viewer pay more attention than usual to the little occurrences because anything could be an important hint related to any future revelation. The 16th mahou shoujo has a pretty gruesome name—Hardgore Alice isn’t exactly cute—and she’s a loli worth looking out for. Cranberry has just spiced things up a whole lot and she’s about to fight La Pucelle now for some fun. Just like the previous episodes, this one leaves us with much to look forward to.
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