You know I was kind of expecting MSS to fall off the rails this week. After getting lambasted with more shock therapy than required to jolt a horse awake it was a question of well, just what next? How do you top an opener containing the (un)holy trinity of murder, torture, and rape (and more than a few crazy faces)? Simple answer: more of the same of course, but now with a purpose! That’s right, we got the general layout of this magical suffering, and it’s exactly as everyone could have guessed.
As called last week Tsuyuno’s appearance heralded some explanation for MSS’s grand plan, and explanation were not lacking. Once magical girls are selected they’re given a special power contained within their “stick” (yeah, no innuendos at all) and seemingly free to use at their whims. The problem though is that using said power apparently reduces the girl’s lifespan, which results in certain death should too much power be used. Not that special a suffering setup to be honest (it’s similar to Madoka’s cutie breaking method), but I do like the touch of blood streaking out whenever a magical girl activates her power—makes for some fantastic facial expressions. What the true purpose of these powers are is the big mystery at the moment, it’s easy to make assumptions given a supposed world ending Tempest thingamajig set to appear in the not too distant future. Cutie wants to persevere through the suffering? Just acquire a power able to do the job. Obviously more to it than that of course, but MSS is certainly appearing to set up a more interesting story than I originally thought before.
No matter how subjectively good MSS’ makes its story though, there’s one nagging issue that will make or break this show for some: the darkness. As if it wasn’t clear enough before, every girl here is going to be sick and twisted in some capacity. Tsuyuno’s torment for example is fairly obvious given her Light Yamagi-esque worldview, but the keen eyed might have noticed she’s hiding something serious about herself that attaches her to Aya. Then there’s the baddie of the moment in Shioi Rina whose idea of sweet and innocent involves maniacally cracking open a skull or six while making many a great face—and I mean great. Without a doubt over the top shock is going to be MSS’s modus operandi for a good while yet, although how long it can keep this interesting remains to be seen. If everyone is suffering it won’t take long before each new act starts bleeding (heh) into the others, and when that happens MSS will quickly grind to a halt given the show right now is largely sustaining itself on its provocation. It may not be an issue right now for most, but unless MSS plans on changing its strategy later on we will eventually—like with all other things—grow bored of the format. What such a change could be god only knows, but with MSS ready to delve into its main story, I imagine we’ll find out soon enough.