Until now, there’s been one lingering concern about Euphie’s engagement. Why did everyone turn so suddenly on Euphie? How did Euphie go from one of the most dignified members of the nobility, soon to be promoted to a queen, to an insignificant pawn quickly dispatched by a few flimsy rumors? Since when did everyone begin to read her as the villainess of this otome game-like story? And since when did they start to uphold Lainie, daughter of Baron Cyan, as the heroine?
One thing’s for sure: shenanigans are afoot.
That fact becomes clearer when Anis and the others begin investigating the circumstances surrounding Lainie. In truth, Lainie’s not a bad girl. The investigation doesn’t yield any incriminating evidence; she’s got a clean record, and everyone vouches for her. Neither she nor her father are itching for power; when the king summons them for questioning, they’re terrified even to speak. Even though Lainie usurped Euphie’s place in line for the queendom, you want to feel bad for her…
But that’s the point: you want to feel bad for her. Everyone does. And that’s odd, as if ten suspected criminals all echoed the same alibi word-for-word. Shouldn’t it raise some eyebrows that every noble they question supports her, some even going so far as to denounce Euphie based on faulty evidence? Unsettling, to say the least! And the show sells it, too. The king-summoning scene I mentioned earlier is accompanied by background music that makes your hair stand on end and a sequence of stilted cuts that repeat like a broken record.
It’s eerie and makes you wonder: maybe someone’s pulling the strings from afar.
As it turns out, the puppet master has been Lainie all along—except she doesn’t know she’s doing it! Apparently, all her interviews have gone well because she’s been subconsciously exerting magic pressure on those around her, which shifts their negative perceptions of her into positive ones. Later, we discover that she’s a vampire with the power of fascination: the ability to charm people into liking her. (And yes, it’s weird, confusing, and a lot to process all at once. More on that later.)
It’s ironic because Lainie is the sort of character you want to like. All her life, she’s watched in bewildered horror as those around her began to treat her with excessive kindness, causing others to reject and betray her out of jealousy. Eventually, she cut herself off from everyone, believing it was better to be alone than to be rejected. The show brilliantly symbolizes this inward struggle with a series of shots with chandeliers that show up every time her power of fascination comes into play. (Seriously, go back to episode six and watch from 7:49; it’s almost haunting.) Indeed, the isolated nature of a chandelier captures what Lainie is going through quite well. Lainie is bright, warm, and welcoming, a light that people can’t help but be drawn to. But once they get too close, it starts a fire. And so, like a chandelier, Lainie hovers above everyone else, present but trying to go unnoticed, even though that’s impossible.
And that’s a struggle anyone can relate to. You don’t need to be a vampire or possess subconscious magic powers to know it hurts when you put your all into relationships with others and receive bitterness and hatred in return. Sometimes being in community feels too defenseless, and it’s easy to distance yourself from others until there’s no risk of getting burned. Lainie is that part of all of us that fears the vulnerability that comes with relationships, the real potential of loss or hurt that’s part of the gamble of making a friend.
In moments like that, sometimes the only way out of isolation is a hand reaching out to you. And that’s what we see in episode seven, where villainess Euphie squares up to face heroine Lainie (who’s staying with Euphie and Anis for reasons). Except it’s not a fight at all. Euphie and Lainie have a lot in common: both have been estranged from society because of the decisions of others, both are processing a lot of complex and unresolved emotions, and both have been caged in by their place in society. Euphie recognizes this truth and takes that step forward, showing Lainie the genuine kindness she’s been longing for all these years.
Small moments like these help us see how much Euphie has grown since this series started. Back in episode two, it was Euphie standing in Lainie’s place, yearning for wholeness and healing as her relationships and future crumbled around her, so paralyzed by fear of the future that she couldn’t step out of the darkness. Anis helped Euphie find her smile when she lost it, and now Euphie’s gotten to the point where she can do that for others. Following Anis has given Euphie a purpose and direction in life: to be a true magician that leads others toward true freedom. And not only that, but also to be the one supporting Anis as she flies steadfastly towards that goal. As Tilty points out, Euphie’s going to have to fight to keep being Anis’s assistant, since Algard will probably exile Anis once he seizes the throne. And so far, Euphie seems ready to go that far.
But that might not be a good thing for Euphie! It sounds like she’s just traded one obsession for another. Before, she was living for Algard’s sake, to be a dignified queen alongside him; now, she’s living for Anis’s sake, to be a supportive assistant to her. Of course, there is a difference: Anis seeks the good of others with her magic, while Algard seeks only his own glory. But pursuing true freedom in another person, however lovely they might be, is just building a more comfortable cage for yourself. This show doesn’t seem to recognize that tension, which erodes some of the nuance that grounds Anis and Euphie’s relationship.
And while we’re pointing out the structural instabilities of these girls’ flight toward freedom, the breakneck pace of this adaptation is making me nauseous! I mentioned it in passing earlier with the reveal that Lainie is a vampire, but these episodes were chock full of rushed worldbuilding that seemed incidental to the main thrust of the plot. They spend several minutes talking about the origin of vampires but don’t do anything to explain the dispute between Anis’s magicology and the traditional way of doing magic, which would have been helpful for Euphie’s dramatic speech at the end of episode seven. There’s a whole conversation lurking here about the intersection between tradition and science and how societal progress should honor the insights of prior generations while also seeking to build a better world. Euphie even hints at this in her speech! But to the show’s detriment, these themes aren’t explored as much as they could have been.
That lack of plot depth has been a weakness of this show in general, like storm clouds casting shadows on an otherwise sunny day. It just doesn’t sell the big moments as much as it could! Again, the ending of episode seven could have been much more meaningful if we knew more about magicology’s conflict with noble culture and why the nobles despise Anis’s ideas. Telling traditionalists that they should be okay with progress because “it’s just a field of study” isn’t convincing, even if it does win over the crowd. And because of that, Euphie’s victory for Anis, which was meant to be the emotional peak of this episode, doesn’t feel like much of a win.
In any case, it’s not as though this clash with the traditionalists will be Anis’s last. With the reveal in episode six that Algard was using Lainie for her fascination magic, and his promise not to let Anis stand in the way of his royal ambitions, the stakes are higher than ever. Plus, the previews for episode eight spell conflict on the horizon. Exciting things are up ahead, and despite some turbulence, I’m optimistic that this flight will reach the runway with a satisfying and hopeful conclusion.
The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady is streaming on Crunchyroll.
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