“Nichijō to Sen’yū” (日常と戦友)
I liked the blend of military and magical girl genres in the first episode. The visuals were enough to hook me and Asuka is a character I very much would like to get to know better.
So here we are…
This episode was just as good as the first, it introduced us more to the world in general. Whilst the first episode gave us the history of Asuka and the reasons she’s turned her back on being a Magical Girl as well as what it would take for her to change her mind this episode continued to break down the walls between the world Asuka wants and the one she’s being forced to partake in.
It really is a anime of two halves with a very sweet middle bit joining them together.
On one hand it is a nice little slice of life with Asuka partaking in normal day to day activities with her friends at school.
Sayako and Nozomi are two really lovely characters and whilst Nozomi right now is dealing with the stress of what happened at the end of the last episode it was nice to see Sayako and Asuka both working to help her through it. That also leads to the middle bit that sticks it together, Asuka has been through a lot and understands how it feels to come out of a battle with all the what ifs and so on and is able to comfort Nozomi by helping her grow as a character instead of just telling her what she thinks she should hear.
In fact Asuka has a wonderful little speech about power and how the Magical Girls are probably working to make sure that they use the power for good instead of the power using them, just the fact that you’ve got this obvious battle scarred warrior who has had some of the worst things possible happen to her still able to support and help emotionally is a lovely part of the story.
Then there is the actual Magical Girl side.
In this episode a OLD friend is in danger, when a Halloween level Disas Bear is let loose in Japan only Kurumi, the War Nurse, is able to go and attend to it meaning that again Asuka as Rapture has to come out of retirement to help a old friend.
Watching as Asuka tries to live her life whilst at the same time being badgered at every turning by her former life trying to bring her back to it is a interesting dynamic. With the bad guys obviously being Magical Girls themselves and them able to enhance and use Disas Bears to cause chaos there might be little choice for Asuka on what she has to do next.
I honestly really enjoy all aspects of the show.
The bear was nightmare fuel, the actual bad guys are creepy and intriguing and the good side even have their own moral grey areas. Whilst it still is Magical Girls and still supernatural and all the rest there is a realistic story being told in its roots too. A war was fought it was won but more wars, secret wars, are still going out. People go to war and come back changed, their opinions and their attitudes change, they lose things they don’t even understand they have lost and friendships are difficult and different. The question of what lengths people should go to win a war, who is right and who is wrong in parts like the police claiming the terrorist is dead so they can strip him of his rights and question him violently, even the basic story of what Asuka should do knowing she’s got the power to help but also knowing she’s a human being with human emotions…
You can strip the flashy parts of this story to the bone and it is still one that in some ways you can relate too.
Nozomi in this episode is probably the most relatable you’ll ever get.
She survived a terrorist attack, she doesn’t know that it was because her friend protected her and had the power to protect her, but she survived. Instead of feeling relieved though she feels guilty, guilty that she couldn’t even begin to think of how to save anyone else during the attack. She panicked and worried about herself and only herself. She thinks this is weak but it is human nature.
We might be born with fight or flight reflexes but we’ve also grown as a society to the point that most people will never really use them until something horrible like this happens to them and it is why the small acts of heroism when things go wrong fill us with so much joy because until we’re in that situation we don’t know whether we could be like that or whether because we’ve felt so safe for so long we would freeze or just think of ourselves.
Not really sure what point I’m making anymore and I am sorry if I have babbled on but what you should take from this is that it isn’t just a horror Magical Girl show and it isn’t a bog standard Magical Girl show either. There is a lot going on and the characters are actually some of the best I’ve ever seen and so far the story has been griping, dramatic yet small and personal too. You feel like you are walking in Asuka’s shoes and having to make the decision on whether to use your power to fight or have a normal life like everyone else.
There is so much to love about the show so far even though it is only two episodes in.