All the cool kids have four-legged animal forms.
What They Say:
“Looks breed love.”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This show has the weirdest cliffhanger/resolution combos. It seems like half the episodes follow the pattern of suddenly ending on a note that’s unrelated to anything that came before it but seems like it will take at least the entire next episode to resolve, only to be proven fairly insignificant and forgotten about as soon as the next episode begins, just as abruptly as it was introduced. This may be the most extreme example of that yet. The previous episode ended with a mysterious figure showing up and turning Chise into a fox! That seems like a big deal! But along with a lack of any kind of recap (which isn’t something I’d normally complain about, but some reminder of context would be less jarring), this episode begins with Chise running around as a fox for a little bit before she decides to go back to being a human. Elias expresses unenthusiastic disapproval for the actions of his friend who was apparently just delivering a handy little transformative fox hide in a “mischievous” manner, and within a few brief minutes of the episode starting, we’re right into a completed unrelated plot for its remainder. There’s nothing wrong with any of the content being delivered, but continuing to frame these events as earth-shattering only to peter out in anticlimax may be the consistently weakest part of an otherwise excellent series.
Speaking of the lesser things in this story, remember that little side story Chise came across in her search for Elias? It involved an old man named Joel and the “vampire” (really more of a succubus) that totally wasn’t in love with him or anything. It hasn’t been that long since we met them, taking place within the extended arc that could be thought of as just wrapping up last episode (although it’s also the underlying arc of the entire series, so it continues to be developed upon in a sense), but it seemed especially inconsequential. Not so as it interrupts Chise’s life even more abruptly than anything else. As we learn that Joel is nearing his end and the leannán sídhe (which, as it turns out, is a real thing from Celtic folklore) is dropping most pretenses and admitting that she can’t bear to lose him, it seems that it will just be the conclusion of their story, and not necessarily affect the greater story of Chise and Elias going forward. This might be the case if not for one element: to allow this leannán sídhe to truly connect with her love once before he dies, Chise works on a fairy ointment that allows normal humans to see fantastical creatures.
The visualization of Chise’s magic makes for fascinating imagery, and I wish more fantasy would try to depict the “image” of magic in the minds of those who wield it. After that point, Chise’s job is just to sit there holding a jar for entirely too long to expect someone to go without sleep. This story reaches a magnificent climax, accented with yet another beautiful insert song for a note of true closure between these characters. But Chise’s contribution was indeed more significant in the grand scheme than just helping this minor subplot along and, true to form, the episode suddenly ends on yet another horribly drastic cliffhanger that seems like it will change everything! I’m almost jaded enough to expect the matter to be neatly dealt with by the five-minute mark of the next episode, but the weight of this feels like it has to lead to something more. Here’s hoping.
While the anticlimactic resolutions of cliffhangers begin to hurt the investment in these events, the majority of this episode is spent on a wonderfully poignant conclusion to a story that seemed unimportant initially, even tying in a major development for Chise’s story. At least we hope so.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Roku 3, Sceptre X425BV-FHD 42″ Class LCD HDTV.