「チーターどもへ捧げよ挽歌」 (Cheater Domo e Sasageyo Banka)
Mahou Shoujo Magical Destroyers latest episode introduces Adam, a pro gamer who’s claim of fame is trying to spread the love of professional gaming by getting himself banned for cheating. But when his entire moveset is revolved around hacking and modding games to win, he makes the grim mistake of trying to do this in a virtual world where other contestants are more than happy to cheat right back.
I’m starting to get the impression that Magical Destroyers is losing its touch. Much of the underground, niche, or rebellious feel the series has started to wane as the show gets indulgent in its own sense of humor.
Rather than feeling like a dive into the inspiration and creativity that can be sparked by otaku hobbies, it prefers to go through the motions as the same jokes are told and the same platitudes are shared. Otaku Hero will still squeeze out of tight situations because of some trite “otaku are strong because they believe in themselves,” monologue that gives him and the magical girls superpowers.
In a way, it kinda reminds me of Abenobashi in the sense of how it takes conventions from fiction and dedicates each individual episode to lampoon them to make an absurd mockery out of things like gatekeeping, figure hunts, video games, etc. But while that should be exciting, I feel like the spotty animation and the characters’ tired running gags being dragged through the ground definitely feel like something from an early 2010’s anime that exhausted all of its creative ideas by Episode 03.
It’s silly how Adam is a compulsive cheater whose rage came from others not equally cheating. He’ll learn that he doesn’t like it when other people cheat too, so I suppose he wasn’t careful what he wished for. Then again, what he really needed to do was play some fighting games. Get the old JoJo game and do Pet Shop vs. Pet Shop fights.
I suppose the highlight of the episode is Otaku Hero actively using his own memories of his favorite dusty mecha anime to counter Adam with the only mecha that managed to beat the MC of the anime. It feels like the kind of nod to a certain type of otaku that’s common in America where you’re hyper-obsessed with one obscure mecha or tokusatsu series to the point where you could pull out random factoids on it.
It’s something that reminds me of fond moments at the comic shop that would play old kaiju movies and dedicate a section of the store to obscure mecha model kits. In those particular moments, I get the vibe that the show is cozy and familiar with more otaku than just the ones that enjoy seasonal anime. It’s a shame that the show just looks so blech and none of the magical girls are funny at this point. I think I’ll be reconsidering returning to this next week.