Why didn’t y’all tell me that we were only halfway through the story?
As season one of Magia Record has progressed (season two was announced at the end of this episode), I’ve become increasingly critical of the what I saw as wasted time: the slow assembling of a team; the introduction of characters that seemed to have no true bearing on the series; too much fanservice in the form of the original magical girls of PMMM. How could everything be resolved satisfactorily when so much time has been wasted?
It can’t. And I’m glad for that, because episode 13 of Magia Record is relentless, both in its action and in revealing more story and more mystery.
As it begins, Yachiyo is in full Yachiyo mode, bringing Iroha back from her “lesson” but then stating that she intends to break up the team. Iroha fights back, though. As she notes later, she’s become stronger because of Yachiyo and the team, and that applies to her mental state as well as physically.
But shortly after their confrontation, through which we learn that Yachiyo was a model (no wonder she’s drawn to be so much taller than Iroha) who feels her wish, simply wanting to survive, is a death wish to all her teammates, the action begins. Yachiyo is swallowed up in what might have been a Mami-esque moment had she not just stated that she’ll continue to live, and that’s followed by a showdown with Mami, who not only is fully now with the Magius, but with glowing eyes shows that she has been brainwashed.
Mami starts to overpower the girls, which is when another old friend, Sayaka, makes her first true appearance in the story. At this point, I didn’t think a second season was in store, but I knew we had to have at least another episode. But thinking that maybe I missed that there would be an episode 14, I was becoming angry. As intense as the action got, with Mami growing a third eye and shooting about a million guns at the girls, and Sayaka protecting everyone furiously, to the point of having her hand blown off (And then immediately re-growing it? Can someone help me with this?), I started wondering why there was so much of the original girls in this tale about Iroha and Yachiyo.
But then I remembered—this is a “side story” after all. It must connect intimately with the original tale, and when we finally get the reveal that a second season is on the way, everything fell into place nicely, which also means that we’re left shook. As I mentioned, Mami and others have been brainwashed, while several of the other girls, including Tsuruno and Rena, are on the verge of becoming part of the Wings of the Magius (or to risk becoming unwillingly controlled by them).
And then Iroha, well, Iroha is in danger. There’s no risk here of our protagonist actually dying with another thirteen episodes on tap, but just as I went into this episode not knowing that, neither does Yachiyo. And it seems that the new season will bring a ton of guilt upon Yachiyo and she believes Iroha has died.
It’s a challenging situation. Magius doing terrible things, become Kyubeys of their own; Iroha dead or disappeared; Yachiyo pained in a most Homura-like way; and other magical girls we’ve come to know trapped.
While Magia Record hasn’t been as emotional of a journey nor nearly as impactful and memorable as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it’s proving to be a quality series on its own, particularly through beautiful designs and animation and by creating mysteries that are well worth considering. It’s strange to think that a side story will ultimately be twice as long as its predecessor (though of course the PMMM franchise is much larger than a one-season anime), but I welcome the length, for season has has proven that Magia Record is good enough to be a strong addition to a classic, and to also stand on its own merit.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Magia Record can be streamed on Funimation.