「燃え尽きるような」 (Moetsukiru Youna)
“Like Burning Away”

Everybody just keeps making wrong moves, including the producers.

Stop Getting In The Way, Akari!

There are many unforgivable storytelling sins in Stilts’ eyes, and here’s one of the biggest ones – characters acting stupidly in order to push the story along. This is like my time-honored complaint about “convenient” events that move the plot forward, because it’s exactly that, but with the bonus of making me dislike a character as well. I understand and accept that people really do stupid things from time-to-time – myself certainly included – just as sometimes convenient things really do happen. That said, when it happens all the time from characters who are built up as serious, dependable, and moderately intelligent, I start to scream.

Why does Akari always have to get in the way when they try to take down a Daemonia? Now Seira can’t fight, and it’s Akari’s fault that she’s alone. (Sure, maybe Evil Luna would have bitten Seira anyway, but that doesn’t absolve Akari of her idiocy.) And why did Meltina and Priscilla keep attacking their clones even though they knew it would hurt them, much less charge straight at them? I understand that they were trying to buy time, but try missing a little you blasted idiots! It’s even the small things like Akari dropping her sword to grab her arm during the second fight with Luna. I’m sorry, but she hurt your left arm – let it bleed! Having your sword in hand would have been way more beneficial than depending on yelling out Luna’s name, even if it happened to work. This time.

Luna Isn’t Completely Gone, Yet

I was looking forward to more punch in Akari’s interactions with Luna this episode, but we didn’t get it. True, they have apparently finally realized that you don’t need to get rid of a character in a single episode, and that’s a good change – it could lead to even more punch when Luna’s plot eventually runs its course. It still remains that the one thing I was looking forward to didn’t evoke any feelings. Oh, and Luna not being completely gone? I’m not surprised, and unfortunately it wasn’t done well enough for me to be okay with that.

Low Opinion of Humans

The angry mob has to be one of my least favorite things to see pop up in a story. Yes, mobs happen sometimes, and sometimes they’re believable and used well, but it’s times like these where it feels like the creators just have a really low opinion of humanity. Some rumors start spreading, and within a day a bunch of normal people are engaging in a little breaking and entering, arson, and probably manslaughter (if they had gotten their hands on the Sefiro Fiore girls / they hadn’t gotten out). I know this story is supposed to be dark, but that’s lazy darkness. That’s saying people are dicks in general, instead of giving reasons for their actions.

Looking Ahead

I don’t know guys, I seriously don’t. After a good first episode and a decent first arc this show seriously slid downhill, and I’ve largely given up defending it. It had potential, but it hasn’t come through, and every episode increasingly smacks of people writing out of the cliche scriptwriter’s guide, with no spark or interest or desire to do something grand. At this point I want to see where they’re going to take all of this out of curiosity, and because the whole show has given me plenty of lessons in “How Not To Do It”. Which is nice in its own way, I suppose.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Things might not be so dark and bleak if everyone stopped acting so daft #geneitaiyou 10

Random thoughts:

  • Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself. Idiots.
  • Forgot to mention – the revelation that Cerebrum is some Daemonia that has free will (why? Because shut up) wasn’t what I was hoping for. A regular old Daemonia that grew up lacks the punch that some special, super powerful eldritch horror would have had. Now the whole thing seems even more mundane somehow.
  • I guess it’s pretty cold in the Astralux.
  • Expect next week’s post to come out on Sunday, because it’s football season, and Stilts will be druuuuuunk when this airs. Priorities!

I just reached a pretty big milestone in the book I’ve been writing! You can read more on my blog at stiltsoutloud.com.




  1. What I find confounding is how vehemently the whole city reacted to a single rumor despite up to this point, not giving a toss about the Daemonia. If there had been a slow degradation of the city’s physical and social structure, the burning of Sephiro Fiore might have carried some weight.

    1. This. Sometimes mobs work well because there’s a slow build up, an air of uncertainty and fear about the area, and it boils over to the point that pitchforks are brought out – or, alternately, that the place is so uneducated and superstitious that a good mobbing is a normal Friday night occurrence. Neither of these should hold true here. That’s what made it so cringe-worthy.

  2. This show just gets darker and darker. Not expecting too much out of this show but I think it’s OKish. This episode is really a turn from the last few episodes.

    Just stop comparing this show to others and don’t expect too much out of it. It will be fine that way.

    1. My problem is that I don’t compare it to others. I judge it solely on itself, and it comes out lacking. I know way too much about storytelling to think this is the right way to do it, and lowering my expectations does not make it any better…especially since I started out with “tentatively optimistic, but prepared for failure” as my expectation set.

  3. @stilts the mob acting was not just becouse the rumors it seems cherebrum controlled them as well like you seen he was almost was able to controll akari so you wrong it not only rumors

      1. Yup yup. Now, it’s possible that he used the rumor as a catalyst and used his magical powers to push them into how he wanted to act, but we were given no indication of this – from what we saw, it was the rumors alone that did it. So I may be wrong, but until something states as much, it’s the natural assumption.

  4. I would have accepted the sudden mob if they gave some foreshadowing in the start of this ep, but it was pretty sudden. I enjoyed this show up til the halfway mark and still do…I just feel dissapointed plot-wise with the episodes we were given these last few weeks. Plus…how come mobs form so easily in Japan? I mean come on, anime mobs are common and most of the time their reasoning is stupid (like this ones)…I mean the most we ever mob about in the US is dumb college kids on spring break trashing the place (not like we ever accuse people of being not human and go crazy)

  5. The way Laplace and Schrödinger describe the Sephiro Fiore higher ups, they’re not much better than Cerebrum. Etia and Ariel haven’t appeared to be truthful about things either.

    My view is that the writer’s and director are just throwing things at a wall hoping something sticks. If they had kept to (what appeared to be the original story) of how do you deal with having to kill someone that’s infected to protect others they could have crafted an interesting story with some thoughtful questions to think about. It seems as if they are trying to make it complicated so they can justify more cours by leaving many of the threads hanging. With only 3 episodes left there is no way they can wrap things up with the hash they’ve made of things so far.

    1. I don’t think they were necessarily trying to go for more cours. Rather, I think they added so much because it’s a tendency of storytellers to not think a small, singular theme can support a whole story. Once you’re done with that, what’s left? Maybe that will only last us six or seven episodes!! So they add more, and try to make it bigger and more epic and etc., and unfortunately the original soul of the story is lost.

    2. @Bear: Problem with that line of thinking is that there is no guarantee of a Season 2 – especially if Season 1 does do well. I’m curious to know how popular this show is. I’d be surprised if they got a 2nd season, but stranger things have happened.

      Definitely the writers/director have never heard of the phrase “less is more”. Another problem is that IMO, it’s not a case of “Once you’re done with that, what’s left?” because nothing has truly been completed. There’s a myriad of unanswered questions, character backgrounds, etc, etc. left.

      Maybe I’m wrong, but the feeling I get is that this is very much something that never had a detailed, thoroughly planned story line. More like a general concept that’s being scripted as we go, and each week it’s a different writer. Seriously, what’s with the sudden attempt at “fan-service”?. Last ditch effort to prop up BD sales/popularity?

      1. Honestly, that’s not a bad way to write…provided you have time to stop, realize that you’ve been going down a dead end for the past few weeks (been there), and then turn around and try something new. If they really are scripting this as they go as an anime, with no chance to rewrite or revamp…well, that’s ballsy. Stupid as hell, but ballsy.

        Also, it’s not working particularly well. But ballsy!

    3. @Stilts, diakama

      No, I don’t think this will get a second cour. It’s just that I’ve seen too many shows that try to put a hook in for a continuation (C3 comes to mind). If they weren’t planning on it then the mess is even more egregiously lazy story telling. You can take a High-concept (Toy Story, for a positive example, or Waterworld for a negative) and fill in how it affects people (in this case users of Tarot magic that have to kill people). Even Luna turning evil from jealousy could have been handled in that context without Cerebrum turning her. When it’s obvious from the comments here that someone could create a story from just the basic concept and create even more episodes that just a single cour that all of the added twists aren’t necessary.

      AFA writing on the fly, sure there are great writers who can do that (start writing and see where your characters take you), and I agree that doing it on a show is ballsy, but it often winds up with a train wreck that could have been avoided. Many times they start out with a great premise and find out that they don’t have an ending that is as impressive as the original idea was. The writers slap on an ending and leave the viewers going “what?” Feels like that’s going to happen here.

    4. @Bear:
      I agree that there are definitely shows where a 2nd (or 3rd) season is predicted and scripted accordingly. Some may be as you say, done scripted to induce a sequel season. I think others are simply being faithful to the source material (big plus IMO) and end when time runs out, leaving unresolved issues rather than try to force some anime original “conclusion”. Sometimes that works out just fine, other times a sequel is definitely needed, and unfortunately, said sequel season doesn’t happen.

      @Bear & Stilts:
      Writing as you go (“on the fly”) can result in some very interesting and original material. However, as Stilt’s points out, there still needs to be some time for revision/correction. Even great writers need to revise stories at one point or another. IMO, the kind of story (specifically length, amount of characters, complexity of plot, etc.) is a huge determining factor for success. If a show is a compilation of short arcs (1-3 episodes), then maybe this style will work.

      However, for more lengthy stories (i.e. 6-12+ episode “primary arcs”), IMO things start to unravel with this type of approach. It’s like trying to navigate for a long journey with out a map vs. a short trip in town. You can “ad lib” going to the grocery store, but traveling cross country is a different matter. At some point you lose your bearings.

      FWIW, while it feels like they are writing on the fly for each episode, my guess is that isn’t the case. It’s simply poor script writing and lack of true vision. Trying to mimic a certain other successful Mahou Shoujo anime and failing in the attempt. JMO.

      1. Yeah, I don’t think they’re actually writing on the fly, nor do I think it would ever be a good idea in an anime – there are too many moving parts to consider. I think they’re just kind of sucking.

        If they were shooting for a second season and were leaving themselves room, I can only say that I hate that. A story should be exactly as long as it takes to tell a good story, and no longer. If you have one-cour to work with, tell a wonderful story in that one-cour. If you’re lucky enough to get another one, you’ll either figure something out or you’ll have done such a good time the first time that there’s nothing left to say. Sure that might annoy your bosses, but just tell a good story. The rest will largely take care of itself.

  6. @Stilts There are many unforgivable storytelling sins in Stilts’ eyes, and here’s one of the biggest ones – characters acting stupidly in order to push the story along.

    If it was possible to agree 10000%, I would. When Akari got in the way… again, and as a direct result (of course) Seira “infected”, I literally had to decide whether I was going to continue watching the show. It was the proverbial “last straw” on top of everything else and I hit my limit. Sorry, but Akari’s stupidity is approaching the point of de-evolution. It also swiftly and cleanly removed any sympathy/fondness I once had for her. Seira-san is a saint for not being pissed off at Akari for potentially eliminating her powers permanently.

    Meltina’s and Priscilla’s actions were “OK” (though less than ideal) IMO since they needed to stall for time. Even so, WTH they don’t they have a system set up where you swap out with another card-holder if you run into your “opposite” is beyond me. I don’t get the self-damage “rule” at all. When Meltina and Priscilla damaged their “opposites” they were injured as well, but when their “opposites” damaged them the “opposites” were unharmed. Huh? If I’m wrong, someone please correct me, but as I recall that wasn’t the case before (i.e. damage to either one damages the other). I guess mirror damage wasn’t enough of a forced plot handicap.

    Crow-san and Cat-san are ridiculous. The one time I wanted Akari to do something stupid, she didn’t (tell them to STFU and actually DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE TO HELP). Rather than a mob, I was expecting a well deserved internal revolt. If the organization isn’t going to help, then screw them. “Just the messenger” BS doesn’t cut it when your colleagues are being torn to shreds. I really wonder who’s side they are on, and/or if Cerebrum’s human collaborator has some sort of influence over the main organization.

    I honestly agree with Stilts – there are too many generic, formalistic plots being thrown about haphazardly. It’s like they have a big jar of generic plot-lines written on folded slips of paper, and each week pull out a few before scripting the episode. I really want to like this show, but it’s becoming harder and harder to do so. Perhaps we can add a new annual RC anime award: “Anime with the most wasted potential.”

  7. On the bright side (if such a thing remains), by my calculations complete guesswork, losing her ability to fight has raised Seira’s survival chance from 10-20% to maybe 50%. ‘Cause obviously she couldn’t be functional when the finale rolls around, so it’s much better to sideline her now than throw her under the bus later. And, as far as the remaining characters go (alas, Ginka), my thoughts on Seira are, “It’d be pretty cool if she came out of this alive,” which is a more glowing endorsement than I can give for any of the others.
    So, my lingering feelings for the show are, “Seira, I kinda hope the plot doesn’t contrive to kill you”, and “Oh, that rascally Cerberum; what madcap hijinks will he instigate next?”
    : /

    1. Ten bucks says she gets cured in time to die in the finale. I’m not specifically saying I think that’ll happen, but her being on the sidelines now doesn’t significantly raise her survival chances to me. That can be fixed easily.

    1. don’t forget the instantaneous bail-outs that’s all the rage nowadays.

      it’s a shame… if this had any sort of development or time to actually build itself and make you feel attached to the characters, this would actually be pretty decent. i cared more for seira’s friend than i ever did for luna. i pity her but only out of obligation, this was the same for ginka. it doesn’t seem like anyone even develops besides seira. akari is still the air-headed can-do-no-wrong girl who has a sufficient lack of ability to judge a situation objectively. it’s an intended character flaw, which is fine, but you would think she’d know a little better after actually connecting with seira.

      btw how many times do we have to see seira get angry before throwing a gigantic ice/energy arrow?

  8. I really like the show, but I always read your comments to know the down side of the anime, and I get enlightened whenever I do so. I do realize that some things are really ridiculous like the mob, etc. I do hope Etia and Ariel will also fight because they’re useless (well, almost) I think their situation is critical and even though they are supposed to be heads they should also help this time. It’s unfair to give it all to one kid. Maybe they’ll also fight in the end when they finally oppose the crow and the cat’s commands. They’ll die and gets revived afterwards. I don’t know. Just random thoughts.

    1. I forgot to mention it in my post, but I hope they stop sitting on the sidelines and actually act sometime soon. It was hard seeing Akari do everything herself, not because she didn’t at least in part bring it on herself (*cough* Seira *cough*), but because Etia and Ariel were right there, with elemental tarot cards, doing nothing!!

      But don’t let my commentary ruin your enjoyment of this show! I’m coming at this from the storyteller’s perspective, and it’s quite possibly to enjoy things even when they’re widely considered as “bad”. The important thing is to have fun : )

  9. I really thought this show was going somewhere after the first episode, but now it’s just…whatever. Sometimes they just can’t work with a good setting and make something that you just have to shrug at.

    Must be a fun city to live in really. A few rumors and everyone is ready for some good old fashioned mob violence. Apparently everyone is really bored in that city.

  10. Well, that was… boring, actually.

    It’s not just the writing at fault here, I think. The production doesn’t help. This whole episode was full of bog standard production techniques that weren’t even done well. The cuts were awkward. The fights lacked real tension. The attempts to show Akari being worn down were so unsubtle as to be almost insulting. And don’t even get me started on Laplace and Schrodinger.

    (I’ll be fair – the exception was Cerebrum’s latest disguise. He should give up the Daemonia and politics gig and go into theater.)

    And of course the writing went right back to ‘saw that coming a mile away’. There was a fakeout at the point where Seira heard the rumours of wolf howling, but then that led instead to a howling mob complete with burning torches, which was simply absurd outside of really rural areas, which this clearly is not. This episode read like a comic book plot, except without context or backstory – it’s clear, for instance, that Cerebrum has a perverse fascination with Akari, but there’s still absolutely no clue as to why this is the case, and the fact that everything basically is due to this one shapeshifting guy-girl-shota-loli-whatever-he/she-wants reduces the whole plot to a comic book one hero versus one villain story anyway.

    Honestly, this season, Symphogear does everything better, which is something I really never thought I’d say after the trainwreck that show’s first season was. That show actually has foreshadowing and doesn’t put me to sleep.

  11. …add to this, “police is useless” trope (yeah mob is trying to torch a private school, probbaly along with children there, lets dont get in their way…)
    I think the creators wanted to repeat the success of Madoka but they just were not up to the task.
    I will, somewhat masochistically, watch this trainwreck to see how it ends.

  12. What a trainwreck… they could of made a decent fantasy series that focuses on tarot cards in detail but instead, it seems like the writers are tossing whatever ideas they can come up with hoping to hit the “target”.

  13. Honestly, when I first watched this, I thought it was going to be another Madoka and provide us with awesome story and characters, but unfortunately, I can no longer think the same was after 10 episodes. What a wasted potential.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *