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Märchen Mädchen – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「 わたしのための物語 ~My Uncompleted Story~」 (Watashi no Tame no Monogatari: My Uncompleted Story) by Fhana

「物語症候群」 (Monogatari Shoukougun)
“Story Syndrome”

Although Märchen Mädchen has a premise with a lot of potential, the first episode squanders a good portion of that through its presentation and narrative structure. The first sign that things were about to go awry was the OP, where reused clips from the anime, most of which you will see in Episode 1, are set to the tone of the theme song. The zany in-show sequences of nude chase scenes peppered in the OP didn’t do any favors to make the story come off as larger than life as the fairy tales that our heroine Hazuki is glued to.

Unfortunately, Hazuki is a part of the problem with the set-up. We’re supposed to see her as a modern-day Cinderella, trapped in circumstances against her will after her mother passes away, and her family life could use some improvements. What sets Hazuki apart from her, however, is that her shy personality is what makes monsters out of her step-mother, who is too much of a workaholic to make dinner or have Hazuki do the laundry when she can afford housekeepers, and her step-sister, who has her life together and is putting too much pressure on Hazuki to try to do more to get out of trouble.

Her troubles are spelled out within the first ten minutes as spacing out in the middle of class enough so to be called to the Teacher’s Office and avoiding any responsibilities, any attempts to join a club, or any attempts to reach out to her new family by withdrawing into her books. There are numerous characters in fiction who are beloved, endearing, and dabble into escapism through the healing power of literature, but Hazuki’s flightiness make it a chore to try and follow her as she discovers her way into the magical world, especially when the narrative doesn’t do enough to make us feel like she needed to escape from her life for any reason other than wanting to run away from her problems.

Everything is thrust onto Hazuki so quickly that it felt like there was no time for her to think about all of the magical people and powers she came across the day her tome was given to her. She finds Shizuka running, but because she recognizes her cloak from a story book she reads, she is in mad pursuit of her to tell her that she loves her and wants to be her friend. Again, it’s to show how her social skills aren’t top notch and that’s understandable, but at the same time, her motivations only gravitate towards pushing the plot forward.

And then, there’s the academy scenes. The show did very little to explain the lore of the new world she leapt into, nor did it explain how exactly these characters are able to use their magic save for the end of the episode in which Hazuki summons clothes in her embarrassment. In fact, the whole second half could’ve been avoided if she actually explained herself to Yumilia, who was only growing more and more suspicious of who Hazuki was as an outsider that happened to have a magical tome and another student’s belongings. I get it, guys, Hazuki is supposed to be socially inept, but if that’s how conflict is going to happen in this series, we’re really not going to have a good time with this.

Where the show lacked in explaining how the world runs on magic derived from fairy tales, it made up for in nude chase scenes! The last quarter of the episode has an extended sequence where Hazuki, while bathing in a hot springs, is confronted and chased down by Yumilia. Just when you think the episode could be taken seriously, they play hijinks music to go along with it, as if it’s mocking us for thinking it’d be anything else, but zany hijinks. And this how Hazuki comes across her powers; not from combat or a life-saving moment of severity, not even from a fight with Yumilia, but because she needed to cover up with enchanted clothing. They disappeared anyway.

That’s not to say that Märchen Mädchen is going to be bad. The artwork for the character designs is highly detailed and the cute designs for each person in the cast is spot-on. There’s also a ton of potential in the premise as it was awesome to see Yumilia get prepared for battle using Shuten Douji. The hook that the premise has as a magical school with students using stories and fables as their powers is impressive. I mean, how can a fairy-tale school not be somebody’s thing!? Sadly, that’s why this first episode could’ve been more indicative of how amazing that concept sounds.

ED Sequence

ED: 「Sleepland」 by Ueda Reina

Preview

January 11, 2018 at 5:40 pm
13 comments »
  • January 11, 2018 at 6:37 pmqwert

    That opening was so bad I haven’t been able to go back and watch the actual episode. A clip show op is not “bad” by default. I criticized Mahoutsukai no Yome for being cheap and using the clip-show format instead of fleshing out an entire unique OP, but at least those clips are put to good use to set up the story and really move well with the music.

    But this show… Jesus Christ, save for a few flashes of what I’d assume were parts of an actual scrapped OP it’s almost entirely a grab bag of random clips including way too many ass shots of the main character in bloomers and barely any bother of matching most of the clips to the music.

    Hell, they somehow managed to run out of clips before the song ended and had to start reusing random bits and ass shots from the beginning of the OP to fill space. If there wasn’t some sort of emergency that necessitated throwing this together at the last minute and next episode will feature an actual OP then I have no idea what the people making this are thinking.

    • January 11, 2018 at 7:01 pmWanderer

      Have patience. Temporary OPs often stick around for a couple episodes before getting replaced. Long Riders went for like four or five episodes before it had a real OP replace its clip show, for example. Hopefully this won’t be that bad.

      • January 11, 2018 at 9:54 pmXRaider

        Even Dagashi Kashi season 1 had the same reason

      • January 16, 2018 at 8:19 amVaans

        Speaking of Long Riders. I hope for a 2nd season.

  • January 11, 2018 at 7:05 pmWanderer

    Personally I enjoyed this episode (aside from the OP, which needs… work). I thought it was simple, but cute and fun. I found Hazuki to be a relatable character right off the bat, so it’s easy for me to sympathize with her. I found no particular reason to dislike this episode, and generally thought it was pretty enjoyable.

    • January 11, 2018 at 9:00 pmChoya

      I can see the OP being a placeholder for when they have a fully developed sequence. Hopefully at least.

      Looking at it from another angle, I can see Hazuki as relatable based on the gripes she has about having to deal with the trauma she’d have to face after a beloved parent’s passing. It’s hard to focus on school or priorities when much of it can be painful to face head-on, and fiction is a good way to avoid such troubles. I still think that her step-family wasn’t loathesome enough for me to think running off to the magical school was Hazuki’s best bet, but I can see how her shyness and trouble with facing conflict can make for something more interesting than it seems on the surface.

      I feel like I would have to watch it again without assuming it would be something serious, cause I get the impression that if I let my guard down, it’ll be more enjoyable than I initially thought.

  • January 11, 2018 at 7:14 pmsouma

  • January 11, 2018 at 8:28 pmJeffers

    actually i like the first episode. makes you think what’s special with the girl why she got the book and “will” become a mage. i will give this anime a benefit of doubt. because in this episode i just felt that we are in for a nice surprise in this anime as we continue the story.

    • January 11, 2018 at 8:54 pmChoya

      I think I was too hard on it. I was expecting something more serious, but I should look at its merits as many of my concerns will most likely be answered in the coming episodes. If the remaining episodes are solid and are more interested in the world’s lore and magic, I can see a lot of faults I had with the first episode as being easy to forgive as just first episode growing pains.

      The nugget they give you on what Hazuki’s capabilities truly are with the book she’s given does build curiosity of what her abilities could entail.

      • January 11, 2018 at 9:43 pmJeffers

        i can easily guess that since her book is cinderella as per plot summaries, maybe she can change stuffs? you know, that fairy GOD mother who can turn everything like a squash to a chariot or a rat to something else (which is pretty much OP) then her super OP ability resets back to normal at 12 midnight? LOL

  • January 11, 2018 at 9:29 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Overall, OP aside, the episode itself wasn’t too bad, but unless we get development from Hazuki quickly (and not at the last minute and/or only when plot demands it before reverting back), then I’ll quickly lose any interest in her as a main character. I mean, as you pointed out, there has been nothing shown to be “wrong” with her or her life at the moment that would really constitute how she is, and “because she’s shy” only works as an excuse for so long before it becomes apparent that ALL she has going for her is being a moeblob and hoping that alone is enough to force out sympathy and protectiveness for her.

    Again, not to start a flame war, but Hazuki gives me heavy Hinata from Naruto vibes (especially with the sudden fainting at the end), but I hope she can actually go beyond what Hinata has been shown in the manga. Countless anime/manga have shown it to be possible to have such characters develop quite well within a 12-24 episode span (just look at how far Hifumi came in New Game! compared to how she started), so I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt as it’s only the first episode.

  • January 12, 2018 at 1:15 amAngelus

    It’s all very well having your MC naked for a quarter of the episode, but (unless you’re making hentai of course) it really restricts the available choice of shot setups and camera angles, especially if all the characters are doing is running. So even though I don’t usually complain about excessive fanservice, I felt that sequence was rather too long and it unbalanced the whole episode.

    So three episode rule at this stage, I think.

  • January 12, 2018 at 7:44 amDas Waltzerchen

    Instead of “Märchen Mädchen” the anime should be called “Märchen Mad Hen” ^^

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