OP: 「放課後革命」 (Houkago Kukumei) by 木村珠莉, 大西沙織, 小澤亜李 (Kimura Juri, Oonishi Saori, Ozawa Ari)
「放課後ストライド」 (Hōkago Sutoraido)
“After School Stride”
I’ve figured it out. Mikagura School Suite is basically Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Everybody is supposed to have a totem except for the Going Home Club, and Yuriko is Eruna’s dead/hallucinated wife.
Everything makes sense.
In all seriousness (well, slightly more, at at least), Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku still left me with a lot of question marks, even after almost another full episode of exposition. There was a lot of explanation, like about crushing crystals (which must be a metaphor for something) and fighting with special LOVE LOVE attacks, but at the same time a lot of explanation was missing. That is, they talk a lot about how things were done, and little about why they are done. I’m still not sure what Mikagura Academy actually is, as an institution, and whether having to fight for your rations is standard practice in this world. What answers the show actually gives are of the half-hearted hand-wave variety, which I suppose is fine because it’s supposed to be pseudomagic and we should just go with the flow, but if overused can lead to strains on the supension of disbelief. Take the Astronomy Club representative (Kakuma Ai), the only character with the power to turn Eruna straight. How does he explain his ‘Shooting Star’? ‘It’s my power that fires when my telescope is loaded with the power of the stars’.
Basically, he just liked looking at stars, and before he knew it he had a telescope with a ‘Waterhose‘ button. Seriously, that’s what he says. He must have liked stars a lot.
The fight itself was actually suprisingly intense, though a bit messy and evidently hard on the animators. Eruna has finally settled on being a magical girl, though of course we have no idea what that sequence is about, why they keep some sealed room around and what the deus ex artefact did. We just know that Eruna has some genetic potential that lets her shoot laserbeams. Okay, sure, why not? But considering everybody else has themed powers (why the scythe for the Drama Club, though?), what does Eruna’s have to do with the Going Home Club? Does she get the wildcard power because she doesn’t have a totem?
Maybe it’s a bad pun, like about how it’d send you packing. Heh.
I don’t mind a story that holds its cards close to its chest, and in fact I usually approve of a bit of mystery. However, while a story may be elusive about its world, usually it should be very clear about its themes and general sensibilities. In fact, it behooves writers to set those out plainly from the outset, because its important to establish what kind of story you’re trying to tell, no matter what clothes you decide to dress it up in later on. Even for shows that try to fake you out, like Madoka Magica, one can still get a pretty good idea because it still evokes the feeling of a certain kind of story (in Madoka‘s case, Faust). For Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku, I’m not really sure. I feel like there should be more than action and school life, that there is a sinister edge, that there are one or two important characters still not introduced. And, indeed, while Eruna herself remains amusingly zany, she’s going to need more to her character or her routine is going to wear out. What is it going to be, where will it lead, and what will it mean? I honestly do not know.
I also don’t know whether I’d actually want to cover Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku, because I can’t tell if I’ll have much to say about it. I’m still interested in how it’s going to develop, so I’ll definitely keep watching it, but every week? Hmm. Well, I’ll leave it alone for now, but I’m open to it blowing me away when it finally shows its hand. Even if it doesn’t, it’ll still probably be a solid watch for the rest of the season.
ED: 「楽園ファンファーレ」 (Rakuen Fanfare) by 木村珠莉, 大西沙織, 小澤亜李 (Kimura Juri, Oonishi Saori, Ozawa Ari)