OP: 「ラブって❤ジュエリー♪えんじぇる☆ブレイク!!」 (Love ❤ Jewelry ♪ Encounter ☆ Break!) by Abe Roppongi feat. Tengoku Meguru & Kisaragi Sumire
「十五歳の船出」 (Jyuugo Sai No Funade)
“The 15 Year Old Sets Sail”
Let me preface this post by saying I have never seen the first two instalments of the Twin Angel series. In fact, it’s been quite a while since I last saw a Magical Girl anime. I stopped trying to find a follow up to Madoka Magica every season, once Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou severely let down those expectations in Summer 2013.
Not that I view Twin Angel Break as anything close to a spiritual successor of Madoka, rather it is a refreshing change of pace from the dark and cynical type of stories one has come to expect from the Magical Girl genre. In other words, it’s a straightforward mahou shoujo with no cheap tricks and gimmicks.
Our heroine Meguru Amatsuki (Ichimichi Mao) sets sail from the tropical island where she has lived all of her life, saying her goodbyes and leaving behind everything she has ever known. You will notice that Meguru has a natural state of brightly smiling and having her mouth open in awe, or is doing both at once. Watching a positive bundle of joy like Meguru definitely feels good. Her smile is so infectious and it is impossible not to cheer on her dream of becoming a hero – she is so kind-hearted and sincere!
After soaking in the sights and sounds of the city, she eventually comes to the academy and asks a random stranger to help take photographs for her. By some miraculous coincidence, this random stranger happens to be Sumire Kisaragi (Kayano Ai), who will be our other primary protagonist. It is immediately obvious that the two characters are set up to be each other’s foils.
I understand Sumire is supposed to be disillusioned and stand-offish in order to contrast Meguru’s endless optimism. But I think she cuts in a bit too forcefully, with an edgy remark: ‘I don’t think it’s that easy to become a hero.’ The rooftop scene does slightly redeem her character. It was fairly humorous witnessing Sumire’s attempt to conceal her gluttonous appetite, while observing her more earnest exchanges with Meguru. Hopefully the series will provide more human interactions along these lines, instead of ones that are obtrusively awkward.
The extended cast have a pleasant dynamic going on, and these surprise traps only get more and more convincing as the seasons go by. With the addition of mega-baa, maybe we could have a magical girl investigation agency on our hands. Alongside our hedgehog mascot Milk-chan, it goes without saying that the sheep girl Ukari Koromi is probably my favourite character so far with her cheery catchphrase ‘Baa’. A klutz that is so damn fluffy, Ukari is the only one who continues smiling while getting her soul and energy drained by our villain of the week, who was putting on an epic shamisen performance. He was so derpy that I could not peg him as a villain apart from his creepy plan to abduct Meguru.
Milk-chan demonstrated some courageous pluck, considering she was confronting an adversary wielding a stringed instrument. I can’t say the transformation sequence or the action here was too impressive, considering it mainly consisted of random flashes of colour followed by Meguru comically walk around the stage being chased by goons. Otherwise the animation was generally consistent, and there were a few beautiful panels from time to time. My other criticism is that it did seem beyond beggar’s belief that one of the strongest enemies would already be so easily defeated in one fell swoop.
Having not seen the first two seasons, I cannot really comment about why a magical coin just happened to be on the floor inside Meguru’s academy accommodation, though it does feel a bit too convenient for my liking. I am also under the impression that the show will follow a standard villain of the week kind of formula. Whether Milk-chan will turn out to be as devious as Kyubey despite her unsuspecting appearance remains to be seen. I mean, you don’t realise what kind of monster people can be until you’ve signed your soul over to them. That’s for sure. So I would wait until Meguru signs some unfair contract before passing my judgement, though she can invoke a Japanese law to invalidate a contract imposed upon a minor if she really wanted to. Ah yes, if you’re reading this Stilts, please don’t misunderstand. I was talking about monstrous stature, it’s got nothing to do with monstrous personality!!! Show Spoiler ▼
Fun but simple, Twin Angel Break does not require too much mental engagement, making for a comfortable viewing experience. But it would be difficult to expect any kind of substance or deeper meaning. I don’t think this is my type of show, though it could be a good pickup for a younger audience or those wanting a light-hearted and cute magical girl show.