Assault Lily Bouquet 8 goes light, with a school competition to show off abilities, new weapons, and of course a cosplay competition. There isn’t much to it, some rivalries and bragging rights and all, but we do get to see Yuri in combat for the first time, taking on a robot while helpless Riri watches. It’s all to set up the fact that Yuri is a capable Lily and for Riri to learn to trust more. The sinister stuff is underneath and happens after. Turns out those outside groups are interested in Yuri because she’s not human–she was created using Huge stem cells. The head of the school says that if it’s the case the school loses the ability to protect her, though I wonder about that because her DNA is that of a normal person. Could he use that argument? I also wonder about Kaede’s phone call to her dad. Her company was the one who made Yuri, so is she calling to betray Yuri and her friends? Frankly, rich girl antics aside, I can’t see that from her. Guess we’ll find out.
As for episode 9, we see a hell of a lot. It was jammed with important scenes and events, too many for my taste. They could have had Riri and Yuri’s flight from the school into an episode of it’s own, same with the business of rescinding the arrest order and the “rescue,” which was more like “Come on back, they called it off.” Instead they stick it all in. They also have scenes of more Lilys getting orders to pursue and trying to decide whether to or not. I suspect the question of what a Lily’s responsibilities are is going to be an ongoing thing for the remainder of the series, as it should be. Happy to see that the girls rebel, and that Kaede was actually calling her dad to tell him off.
And they still had plenty of time for the battle with a Huge, which to me felt like a cheap shot. There was nothing to set it up; it was just tacked on. The creators couldn’t take care of Yuri using the other means, they’ll just bring up a huge Huge for her to fight, and destroy at the cost of her own life, or so it seems for the moment. I wonder if Yuri’s origins gave her extra knowledge of how the Huge was drawing power, and there’s the matter of her using Charm skills that no one knew she had. Maybe she gained the skills simply by observing her teammates. If so, that makes her a super-Lily, and we’d have whole new arguments as to whether she was a danger. Also, I wonder if the Huge was somehow drawn to that area by Yuri’s presence. Well, as it turned out, it’s a wasted opportunity for story-fodder. Next week we’ll probably get more “what are we fighting for?” questions, especially from Riri.
Speaking of happy episodes, Majo no Tabitabi 9 is the darkest one yet; they even put in an explicit content warning at the start. As for us, we watch as broke Elaina accompanies Estelle, another witch, back in time, to save Estelle’s childhood friend from events that turn her into a cold-blooded murderer, and all the time we know that the story isn’t as simple as that, there must be something Estelle doesn’t know about the situation. When we do find out it’s predictable, gross and bloody but predictable. So is Estelle’s reaction. The only surprise for me is that the girl could take all that punishment at the end and still be laughing. I mean, that wall-slam should have knocked her unconscious to begin with … I also wonder about Estelle’s sacrificing her memories (a good idea in the long run) when in an earlier episode didn’t that woman sacrifice hers to gain power, only to slowly regain them? I wouldn’t wish that on poor Estelle.
After all that we deserve a much lighter episode 10. It’s a backstory about how Fran met Sheila. Old friends now but back then they were both apprentices to a witch whose name I didn’t get. Fran was the normal one (really!) and Sheila the delinquent. They’re forced to take a job taking down some villains who are using magic tools to terrorize witches. Sounds like that old Railgun story where kids use dangerous means to level up and wreak revenge on the upper levels, but here the bad guys are just that–bad. A shame, a nice chance to show the mindset of the powerless wasted. Anyway, after some bickering and sabotaging they get the job done and bond a little. Nice, but not much new. However, there is the matter of that box Saya is delivering. We get a glimpse of it in the bad guys’ lair but they don’t refer to it at the time. Don’t tell me it took all these years for Sheila to realize what that box is, and could someone fill us in, please? I guess this is a two-parter with everyone (including Elaina, in her only appearance in the episode) meeting at (checks notes) Qunorts, the land of freedom.
Right, back to 100-man, and episode 9 which is an amazing anticlimax. After Kahvel kills the last of the enemy soldiers, the boss, we switch between Yuusuke, Kahvel, and Yuka in one group and Shindou, Kusue, and that dull blond guy whose name is Makuah, as they head toward Radodorba hoping they have the right kind of cargo to deliver. Most of it Yuka watching Kahvel blush a lot and trying to approach Yuusuke in a way that sets off all of Yuka’s otome gamer alarms. I was fooled, too, and I suppose Yuka’s nerd instincts are fun but they spend way too much time on it, possibly because they didn’t have anything else to pad the episode. The other group’s plans are as dull as mud, and in the end we just wonder why they spent so much time with people just traveling, reaching their destination, and clearing that part of the goal with no serious hitches. Was the show expecting a payoff with the nature of those boxes? I think all of us saw that coming a mile away.
Episode 10 takes a strange turn as well. The team separates in order to cover the second half of the test. Sounds easy since they were already almost there, 5% of the map, but the show or the game decides to toss a blizzard at them. So we have all four trudging through snow that they’re ill-equipped to handle, each alone with their own thoughts. Yuka’s thoughts aren’t much and she just hides. Kusue is determined to help others but she’s too weak to handle the storm. Shindou has found strength in others but now she’s alone and she just stops aghast at some face in a rock. Yuusuke’s are the same contradictions as before. He talks about protecting life, but kills a monster whom he discovers has babies, and deserts them, since they’re virtual. While the setup is interesting in how it forces everyone alone to ponder this disaster, it got tiresome to watch and I kept waiting for the end, which doesn’t come. I hope each character isn’t going to trudge more and do more thinking next episode. I’m curious as to how much the fall Yuusuke experiences is going to add to the travel time. He’s not truly dead, after all, because it wasn’t hypothermia that did it.