「学園祭のオニ」 (Gakuensai no Oni)
“Demon of the School Festival”
We had a school-life episode like the preview last time suggested and it comes with some minor Ashi involvement to stir up the school festival preparations. The best part of it all was Alma calling Ruri to the rooftop, leaving the latter with some hopeful expectations. It was a mistaken confession attempt, but it was really cute to see how flustered Ruri became just at the thought of it. She was clearly hoping for one and fully open to the idea of Alma embracing her, which made me really wish he had the guts to follow through with Onigawara’s script. Even if Ruri found out about the entire act the very next second, I would’ve loved to see how she would’ve responded. She’s pretty calm and composed so I get the feeling she would’ve given a pretty firm answer after only a moment of thought. (And the answer would’ve been “Yes.”) Whether or not that response is induced by the love drink she’s been unknowingly drinking is another matter. 🙂
If there’s any question about using up a rare gem every time Alma needs to transform, then there’s no doubt about it now as Ruri still had to use a “cheap” one that ran her 140 million yen for practice purposes. Judging from how long it lasted, I was going to say it’s more than enough to get the job done, but then the writers decided to make an example of this “cheaper” gem by having it run out at the most crucial moment. I guess you can’t skimp when you’re trying to save the world from evil stone demons. At least it was enough to save some dumb classmates who probably weren’t even worth saving, even though they turned a new leaf at the very end. Between Wakana’s Stone Club exhibit and Ruri’s home cooking, which I presume doesn’t suck because she’s practically perfect in every way, there actually wasn’t a whole lot else happening this episode. It did put up a nice “scare”, when Wakana walked into the room right after Alma transformed, but she convinced herself out of that. Granted, I can’t really see what else she could’ve thought it was other than a cosplay, seeing as she didn’t catch it while it happened.
Chasing a small Ashi that eventually split into two turned out to be a wild goose chase with an all too convenient conclusion when the last one assimilated some of the fireworks. I was expecting something more after Makoto made it sound like a big deal by calling it “Operation Mirror Force” (in reference to his name Kagami, which means “Mirror” in Japanese) and came out in his RX-75 Guntank-like disguised robot. In the end, it was only because he purposely kept Ruri out of the loop so that she wouldn’t evacuate the students and cancel the festival preparations though. Oddly enough, I don’t mind the series switching to a more laid-back pacing instead of having a monstrous threat every episode, since it does break away from that pattern. The next episode looks like it might as well, as Alma and the others hit up the beach.
* I’ve been looking for an in-show confirmation on the spelling of Alma’s name in English and finally got it. Take note of the yellow marker indicating Alma’s location.