MagiRevo Episodes 4-5: On Dragons, Muggles, and Relationships

As this show continues, it’s becoming more and more apparent that this kingdom’s issues all spring from one root: relational dysfunction. Each character suffers from wounds inflicted by failed or empty relationships, and they don’t know how to heal those wounds without antagonizing or distancing themselves from those around them.

And what better way to bring that dysfunction to the fore than…an old-fashioned dragon-slaying?

Yeah, I’ll admit it: I didn’t understand the pacing of these episodes. They’re filled with several plot threads that don’t fit together: Euphie’s continuing melancholy in the wake of her canceled engagement, hints of her growth through conversations with Anis and Ilia, the whole subplot with Algard and the king, and the looming threat of dragon-induced destruction. To be fair, episode five does cap off the first volume of the light novels, so I can understand why they wanted to rush things to fit in a satisfying conclusion. Still, there’s a lot of turbulence along the way, making for a bumpy and often disorienting ride.

Yet this turbulence also happens to mirror that of the characters’ relationships. We’ve known for a while that Algard doesn’t like his dad or any of the royals, but now that tension’s out in the open. Algard wants the throne, and he’d go as far as risking his life to slay the dragon in order to prove himself fitter to rule than his father. The engagement debacle wasn’t only because Algard wanted to marry Baron Cyan’s daughter; he also wanted to break free of the overbearing restrictions of his royal life. He resents how the nobles around him, and especially his father, have dictated his path in life for him. He wants to break out of those chains, and what better way to do that than revolution?

As with the engagement, though, all of Algard’s plans skid to a halt with the intervention of his irritating older sister. Anis flies out to the battlefield, Euphie in tow, to take care of the apocalyptic beast herself, and again, Algard finds himself at odds with his sister, cast into the shadow as she soars ever upward. It wasn’t always this way; Algard and Anis were close siblings growing up. But once Anis regained memories of her past life and started working towards magicology, other nobles began to pin her as a potentially better successor to the throne than Algard. Even when Anis renounced her royalty, the whispers lingered, and they embittered Algard, casting him into a vengeful, aggressive pursuit of freedom at the expense of those around him.

Anis, too, has suffered from this broken relationship, though in less visible ways. Her mad passion for research and tendency to overwork has pushed almost everyone away. This is the dark side to ambition like Anis’s, and it’s portrayed by shadows that fall across her face even as she’s staring down the light. Her lack of natural magic and isolation from others act like a cage whose door is quickly swinging shut, leading her to self-destructive behaviors that only accelerate the creaking.

I mentioned before that Anis struggles with envy, and as we see in this episode, it’s led her to the bottle—the bottle of magic pills, that is. In her words, “magicite allows you to use a power that’s basically pseudo-magic.” Music to the ears of a muggle but not so to her body, which aches and groans under the weight she puts it under during the dragon fight. True, that does lead to some breathtaking fight sequences (with a fully animated dragon, I might add!). But these scenes are equally harrowing. Anis usually excels at exhibiting a unique, controlled blend of chaos, but under the influence of the pills, there is no control. It’s painful to see the same person who was tenderly nursing Euphie back to health in episode four recklessly sacrificing her health in episode five.

This brings us back to Anis and Euphie’s relationship, which is, in many ways, the engine propelling this show forward. Even as they pursue true freedom, the two are stumbling awkwardly into a deeper relationship with each other, one that helps them confront their flaws and wounds and heal together.

Anis, for one, is learning that she can’t just pursue her dreams haphazardly anymore. Not only is she harming herself, but she’s also breaking Euphie’s heart. After Euphie saves Anis from death following a direct attack from the dragon, she begs Anis tearfully not to keep fighting. Anis declines—a true magical girl doesn’t quit in the face of evil! But neither does a true magical girl fight alone. That’s the heart of Euphie’s passionate plea to Anis: Let me in! Don’t cut me off like you’ve cut so many others off. Don’t go alone.

It’s an emotional scene. The voice acting sells it, too; Manaka Iwami (Angel Next Door, Fruits Basket) perfectly captures Euphie’s desperation, bewilderment, sorrow, and affection for Anis in only a few lines, while Sayaka Senbongi (Bocchi the Rock!, Kabaneri) nails that mixture of reckless abandon and tender thoughtfulness that characterize Anis at her best. Not just during this scene, either—there’s a moment at the end where Anis pours everything she has into dealing the final blow to this dragon, and the passion Senbongi pours into her performance is chilling.

(And if you thought I would let that Bocchi the Rock reference in the last paragraph go unhighlighted, you don’t know me. Yes, Senbongi also voices Hiroi from that show, and it’s both hilarious and touching how much the characters’ personalities overlap. She nails it over there, too—see the post I helped Claire write for the juicy details.)

Euphie, too, has been learning how to process this transitional time, during which her ambition for queendom is being sucked out of her heart, leaving her empty. Bedridden with illness after the ordeal that episode three put her through, Euphie finds herself wondering what comes next. She, too, envies Anis and the freedom Anis has that she lacks. And that twisted perception of her identity traps and encloses her, casting her into darkness.

In the midst of all this, Anis reaches out and reminds Euphie that it’s okay for her not to know where to go or what to want. They can take time looking for it together, take time to let Euphie’s wings heal so she can soar again.

It’s funny how similar these two are: free in some ways but caged in others, steeped in envy even as they long for love, prone to conceal their wounds and flaws rather than open their hands to receive healing. And not only similar, but familiar, too. I’ve lived through seasons where every door seems to swing shut, where light appears distant and bitterness and isolation seem like easy cures. But this self-medication leads only to ruin, while resting in community and friendship, in love—real love—leads to life.

And that’s the hope that spurs this magical revolution onward.

The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady is streaming on Crunchyroll.

READ: Episodes 1 // 2-3

2 thoughts on “MagiRevo Episodes 4-5: On Dragons, Muggles, and Relationships

  1. Excellent post! I really enjoyed this deep dive into episode 4 and 5. I really liked how you pointed out the scene framing and the play with light. While I was watching the episodes I noticed the mood in the different scenes, but I totally didn’t notice how that mood was being created. Thank you for the insight!

    1. Glad it was helpful! The light/dark theming is done very intentionally in this show, which is what makes it so lovely. What’s also interesting is that before episode five Anis was almost always portrayed in the light, shining among all the other characters. And then episode five starts immediately with a dark shot of Anis, showing that this episode is going to challenge Anis’s mindset and reveal the darkness of her way of trying to handle all these problems on her own. Great foreshadowing and storytelling in general.

      Thank you for the comment!

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