Spellbooks and Horoscopes – Mahou Shoujo Ore Ep 9

It’s PRISMA’s time to shine in Mahou Shoujo Ore this week. Let’s see what Astral and Aria thought about it…

These guys surprisingly haven’t had much spotlight…and why does Hyoue not have a surname?! (Source: Mahou Shoujo Ore ep 9)

Astral: I really enjoyed this week’s episode! What did you think of it, Aria?

Aria: I enjoyed it more than I thought I would last week, that’s for sure.

Astral: Ruka and Michiru are anime-original characters, but it seems they’ll be taking a pretty major role for the rest of the series, being magical girls themselves now. I thought the dynamic between them and our main characters made this episode really fun and fresh, and I think these new characters could really pay off for the show in general.

Aria: Considering the show hasn’t even used their magical girl names yet (although you do see those names in the credits), it does seem so. I can see people not really liking the joke about their catchphrase, though. Not only did it run twice in an episode, which made it lose its humour value, but if you mention certain kinds of words like “jihad”, that’s bound to trip off the politically correct people, even if the intention was to get a bunch of nonsense-sounding katakana-ified words.

Astral: I didn’t mind it at all. I thought the nonsense fit right in with the rest of the show, to be honest. The kind of “tryhard” mentality blends with a bit of chuunibyou to make them funny but interesting insert characters.

And… now the relationship chart just got even MORE complicated.

Aria: Okay, even though I keep joking about wanting to draw the relationship diagram, now I actually want to draw one up.

*some time passes*

This diagram really is a mess…

Hopefully I didn’t miss anything. I literally drew this up in 20 minutes, after all…

Astral: If we wanted to make it even more complicated we could separate out Saki and Sakuyo’s transformed states, and try to make sense of the relationship between both of Saki’s different forms and Mohiro, as well…

Aria: …That’s seriously going to do my brain in.

Anyways, enough dithering about a throwaway joke. If you pause when it’s implied Ruka and Michiru attacked a bunch of bad guys, you spot that it says bokasuka. I went and looked that up (as I tend to do), so bokasuka means “lots of hits and punches in succession”.

It’s in romaji, which is why I had no problem checking it up… (Source: Mahou Shoujo Ore ep 9)

I seem to recall a similar sort of “cut away from violence” thing happens in Sailor Moon by the way, although that’s just from reading people’s episode synopses.

Astral: I would think that the ‘bokasuka’ itself is a bit of a reference to Fist of the North Star as well, given one of his signature moves is a rapid flurry of blows. Plus, the show has shown a tendency to parody other shounen shows, like Ashita no Joe, and, in this episode, Fairy Tail as well.

Aria: I dunno about that. Judging by how it plays out, it sure doesn’t seem to be a homage of anything in particular aside from the general 90s animation aesthetic.

…wait, there was a Fairy Tail reference?!

Astral: Uh,.. yeah? Did you not catch it? I thought it was pretty glaringly obvious and all.

Aria: So then what is it? I’ve read some of the manga of Fairy Tail, but if it’s about the anime, it would’ve gone over my head.

Astral: The mascot, Happy. Just the name is a pretty blatant reference.

Aria: But…that’s not a reference! Not as far as I’m concerned…although there are a lot of similarities between Fairy Tail’s Happy and Mahou Shoujo Ore’s Happy when he’s in mascot form, though, now that I think about it. (The reasoning for Mahou Shoujo Ore’s Happy being called that is that if Kokoro = heart = love, then Happy is…y’know. At least, that’s how I took it.)

Astral: I guess it’s a few things that are kind of up for viewer interpretation… Happy is an anime-original character as well, though. So I kinda assumed he was there to be a reference.

Aria: Moving on then…I love how Ruka pointed out Michiru took ages to think up a decent-sounding magical girl introduction line. Now that we’ve been doing this collab for a while now, we’ve really felt the pain on that.

Astral: Yeah, I agree with that. Experiencing being a magical girl, it’s sometimes hard to come up with a good name for your attacks. I think that’s more of a struggle than the actual enemies, sometimes!!

Aria: (LOL, but that’s only if you’re given the ability to name your attacks.) Also, one thing that’s bugged me is all the montages we’ve been seeing in these shows as of late. There’s been at least one per episode for the past few episodes now, if I remember right.

Astral: Well there was one in the swimming episode of Boueibu, but I thought this one was better. Yeah, they cycled through a bunch of scenes real quick, but they actually had them doing things at each place, instead of a bunch of stills.

Aria: Yeah, but that kind of montage still gives the impressions of laziness…the only impressive thing about it was the movie grain over the top.

Astral: Yeah, gave it a bit more of a “cinematic” feel huh? Speaking of which, now that the new magical girls are in action, how do you think the story will progress from here? Think they’ll make a anime-original ending as well, or stick to the manga but shoehorn in the new stuff?

Aria: To be honest, I only saw the first chapter or so of the manga, so I was dropped into unknown territory a few episodes back. The last episode of any canonical significance was the previous one (judging by PRISMA involvement), so I think we’ll end up with a manga ending but with PRISMA in it. Speaking of canon, are we ever going to get anything where Mohiro is something other than a guy in distress or an object to be fawned over by Saki? The “guy in distress” thing in particular has been his default position for so long, the show even puts him in a princess dress during recaps to emphasise it.

Astral: Based on the rest of the show, I’m inclined to think of it as a sort of… social metacommentary about the classic D.I.D. role we see so often in shows, especially Anime. I actually wrote a post about this a while back, comparing Bleach’s Rukia and SAO’s Asuna together and talking about what I call the “Damsel Syndrome”. It’s been around for freaking ages, basically been a trope of stories for hundreds of years, but so many shows tend to use it just for the sake of using it, and it ends up stale and obnoxious, almost degrading to what could otherwise be an interesting character.

By putting Mohiro in that role, seems like the show may be trying to highlight this, in a way. Or, at least, that’s what I think.

Aria: Yeah, it’s very much part of the subversion of gender roles that’s been present in this show since the beginning. Mahou Shoujo Ore’s source material ran in a BL magazine, so naturally this sort of preference comes through, huh?

Astral: Yeah that explains a LOOOOT of things…

Aria: *snickers behind hand* I guess you never saw that coming when you signed on to watch the show, huh? You were the one who called it “show of the season” back then.

The fact Mahou Shoujo Ore doesn’t come off as BL and instead is just a really stupid comedy with some “anime… *rolls eyes*” moments is part of its charm, I think. It’s all part of the “don’t judge a series by its home magazine” business.

Astral: Did I really call it the show of the season???

Aria: I’ve found records of you calling it a “masterpiece” and “anime of the year”, which is kind of the same thing but with different scope. (Never underestimate the power of the Discord search function.)

Astral: I refuse to believe until shown proof of this!!!

Aria: Do you really want me to quote you? AstralGemini, 13th April 2018: “mahou shojo ore is anime of the year”, for one thing.

Astral: I… um… I can’t… I just… Excuse me while I go bury myself in shame, for my foolishness. You can finish this one off on your own, right?

Aria: Don’t you dare run off, I was going to leave this one to you!

Astral: Special technique: Secret Tunnel!

Secret Tunnel is a technique that allows the user to burrow into the ground and hide from their shame forever.

… What were you expecting?

Aria: I guess this ain’t much of a collab, huh?…Eh?

Astral: *muffled voice from underground* To fool your enemies, first you fool your friends! Rising Plasma Fist!

Rising Plasma Fist is a technique where one tunnels underground to the planet’s magma layer, to draw energy directly from the earth’s core. They then burst from the ground, surprising their enemies with a powerful, flaming punch. It’s an attack that depends on a twist ending to pull off.

Astral: Plasma Fist Flurry Blows! Haaaaaaiiiiiiiyaaaaaaaaaa! YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YA YAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

Aria: Wow, I haven’t seen Fist of the North Star yet…but I think I can see where this flurry move gets its influences from.

Astral: And it’s (the move is) freaking awesome!!!
< To be continued in the next post… >

As for where Astral’s quote came from, that is actually something he said. After asking him outside the boundaries of the collab, turns out he was (probably) being sarcastic when he called Mahou Shoujo Ore “anime of the year”. So…be careful with what you say, people. Sarcasm doesn’t convey itself well on the internet.

I’m not entirely sure on his stance on Mahou Shoujo Ore coming from a magazine that prides itself on having BL in it, but I guess you can ask him directly about that.

As for why I wanted to leave Astral this enemy in particular, you’ll find the answer here at the Zodiac Room.

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