「二人の弟子」 (Futari no Deshi)
“The Two Apprentices”
Turns out that box from last episode set up the premise for this week – magical powder that causes existing feelings to be amplified.
I should clarify that this shouldn’t be described as a love potion – which can also force someone not in love to be in love. And we saw that Elaina wasn’t swayed whatsoever by Mina. This nuanced technicality made for an interesting premise. And I kind of wish we could see how this would have effected Fran and Sheila. Nevertheless, I’m sure that fans of yuri would be more than happy to make do with what we received. With an extra dollop of incest for folks of that stroke too.
Mina really takes after her older sister by being deeply obsessed with… her older sister. Turns out she wasn’t some cold and indifferent prodigy who’d abandoned her sister once it became apparent she excelled at magic. Sheila taught both of them, and had sought to break their dependence upon each other – much to Mina’s dismay. And as if that traumatic separation wasn’t enough, Saya’s fallen head over heels for Elaina. A deadly rival has appeared, and Mina knows it’s an uphill struggle. She no longer has sole monopoly on her elder sister, and Saya herself has clearly expressed her deep feelings towards Elaina.
As for Saya snogging Elaina’s reflection the moment she noticed the body swap. Yeah… from my perspective, although it’s certainly ‘fun’, I kind of wish Saya had more depth to her. I took issues with Kuroko in the first season of To Aru Kagaku no Railgun. However, she really developed as a character in subsequent seasons – demonstrating she was more than just Misaka obsessed. That she was a great character in her own right. This hasn’t happened with Saya. Of course, Majo no Tabitabi has way less episodes to work with. However, I wish they’d done more to flesh out Saya beyond her undying love for Elaina. It’s getting old for me to the point where the joke has completely run its course.
That said, I still thought it was a neat, self-contained episode thanks to the chaotic fun of body swapping and love drugs. And I adored the dialogue between Fran and Elaina about Nike. I think Elaina’s slowly coming to the realisation that Nike might be her mother. But she’s actively ignoring it, because she has the willpower to forge her own path, her own journey, without being swayed by personal emotions that might convince her to comfortably return home. For all her faults, namely narcissism and selfishness, I can really respect the determination which fundamentally drives her as a character.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!
Unsurprising and not unexpected that the effects of episode 9 were not
lasting — Elaina seems hardly any worse for the experience.
Still a passable episode – seems like they wanted to work in the yuri and
onee-chan stuff in a clever way with the box as the plot device. It didn’t
really add any meat to the episode’s story, though. Also, the humour with
the box’s effect on the towns people was forced and kinda lame.
I thinks the saving grace is that the artwork was good quality – and I guess
I missed it when Elaina got back into her body – I didn’t catch it right away
and it was a little confusing.
As you mentioned there are hints about who Elaina’s mother is, but we’re
already here and (episode 11) and I don’t really see a serious attempt to
resolve it and I don’t think it’ll be resolved by the end of the season, either.
As expected, this was a direct continuation to the previous episode, and while it was a fun episode, I would have thought the revelations should have delivered a much more powerful and emotional punch. However, this series opted to go the discreet route and forego any dramatic events.
While it is already clear here that Elaina deep down knows everything about the Adventures of Nike. She deliberately chose to ignore it and her teacher can’t force her to and in the end understood her as well. Will this realization have an impact on the rest of her journey? Well, Elaina herself has already said it, and for now I am contented with her motivations. I do wonder for how long she will cary this one before the realization will dawn on her. Which also makes me wonder, did Elaina’s mother willingly raise her to follow that same path? It wasn’t mentioned who introduced her to the book anyway but I wager it would be Elaina’s mother who did which set her off this path. Perhaps, deep down, Elaina wouldn’t want to know that part.
I doubt this story would go back to this issue so soon after somewhat putting it on pause with this episode. Perhaps a reunion episode back home would make for a much more emotional scene in the future.
I wonder if Elaina’s desire to keep traveling is also an allegory for “youth”? It kinda reminds me why “slice-of-life” anime set in high school is (still perceived to be) popular with JP audiences–the idea that you can only enjoy youth once before going off to be a part of (a soul-crushing) society, and that through “slice-of-life” anime, one can relive (or “live” if one hasn’t experienced something in one’s youth) that experience.
Like how people want to enjoy their youth for as long as they can, Elaina wants to enjoy her current life of traveling for as long as she can.
– So the thing in the box is not some artifact of doom, but some sort of magical aphrodisiac that openly reveals a person’s desires toward someone? LOL. Also, that old crone leading the Curio Company is still alive after being stopped the first time by Fran and Sheila? Damn.
– Had a laugh at Mina revealing her lesbian siscon tendencies toward her older sister Saya (while Elaina is in Saya’s body), and more so Saya (in Elaina’s body) basically going “Rerorerorero” at Elaina’s reflection in the window.
– I can’t look at those masks without being reminded of Dr. Giovanni (Enen no Shouboutai) or Jim Sterling.
– With the reveal that Sheila acted as a trickster mentor herself to both Saya and Mina (and her reasons for separating the two), that loose end from episode 2 is finally resolved. Sort of. Will Sheila have to find a new way to separate the two, or will she be forced to have the two work together from this point on?
– And I guess I can understand Elaina’s desire to be someone different from Nike, despite obviously being inspired by Nike’s travels. Speaking from experience (as well as anecdotes from friends, old schoolmates and what I read online from random anonymous netizens), the desire to go on a different path from what your (usually Asian) parents want for you often leads to friction and no small amount of hang-ups. At least Elaina has parents (including the aforementioned Nike) and mentor figures who are supportive of her endeavor, something which is fortunate at best, and enviable at worst.
– On a meta note, who voiced Mina? I could have sworn it was Ayana Taketatsu, but I could be wrong. Waiting for updates on ANN on that trivia since MAL’s own character page for the anime is so bare-bones.