I watched episodes 2 and 3 of Mangirl! and found it greatly disappointing compared to the first episode. Kotoura-san, however, has continued to hold my interest. It’s going to be tough, but I want to continue blogging this wonderful series (along with Shin Sekai Yori since that hasn’t finished). So here’s a review of the second episode!
The next day, after having made friends with Manabe, Kotoura is confronted by an upper-classman named Yuriko. This blue-haired girl is the president of the ESP club, and forcibly recruits Kotoura into it. Manabe also manages to get in too. The only other member of the club is vice-president Daichi, who’s a short young man with glasses, but is actually the same age as Yuriko despite his stature.
The reason Yuriko created this club is to expose ESP-ers to the world while protecting them at the same time. Though it turns out that Yuriko has some hidden agenda for wanting to prove that ESP-ers exist so badly. Her mother was a clairvoyant, but no one believed her. Eventually, her mother caved into the accusations, and poor Yuriko had to find out the hard way…
Soon after Kotoura is recruited into the club, Yuriko forces Kotoura (using her memories to cause pity) to tell her classmates’ “fortunes” with her mind-reading abilities. When Moritani (the girl who had a crush on Manabe for years) catches wind of this, she confronts Kotoura and insults her in her mind, calling her a monster for her abilities. Of course, Kotoura “hears” this and is so upset that she ends up throwing up. After that incident, she starts getting bullied by the other students.
When Yuriko finds out about this, she is immediately regretful of pushing Kotoura into this situation, as Kotoura’s situation echoes that of her mother’s. She quickly apologies to Kotoura for her own selfish actions. Soon after, Manabe also finds out that Kotoura’s being bullied, and also makes it up to her—by standing up to Moritani. When Moritani angrily asks why Manabe is taking Kotoura’s side, he claims that it’s because he likes her.
After all is said and done, Kotoura officially joins the ESP club, happy that she finally has some true friends.
This series should just be re-named “FEELS: THE ANIME” because holy cow why do you tear my heart in this way Kotoura-san?
Once again, I have to say this: I love the fact that summaries of this anime list it as being a “love comedy” when it is so much more than that. Yes there is romance, and yes, there is comedy; but there’s also heart-wrenching drama and characters with poignant back-stories that you can’t help but feel sorry for. It is a series with mood-whiplash of the highest degree, but once the storm of “OH GOD MY HEART” situations pass over, what you get is a very mood-lifting anime. This anime will make you feel like there is hope in this world—after you’ve cried yourself dry, of course.
The thing I love most about this series so far is the characters. It is amazing the amount of character development that Yuriko went through, despite just having appeared in one episode. At first, she seemed like a pleasant enough character. And then there was a brief moment of panic as the audience went, “oh shit, is she really trustworthy?” when her motive was revealed. But in the end she turned out not to be as bad as she appeared. Her driving motive isn’t exactly malicious in itself; the only problem was that it was a very selfish reason. And she quickly realized this once Kotoura started getting bullied due to her actions, and quickly apologized. I actually really like that she didn’t turn into the “two-faced back-stabbing girl” because that subverts the tired high school anime trope and makes her a much more three-dimensional character.
In the same vein, Moritani is also shown to have a troubled past. While it definitely does not excuse nor justify her cruel words towards Kotoura, it does show that there’s more to her character than just “jealous child-hood friend of the male lead.” And even though she’s acting horrible now, I’m sure she’ll eventually come around and become a friend of Kotoura’s (if the OP is anything to go by).
ANYWAY I kind of ended up writing an essay on this series so I’ll stop here. If you liked what you saw in episode 1, then by all means please watch episode 2 too. This episode is possibly slightly darker than episode 1 (for obvious reasons), but it’s nice that the series knows how to balance the good and bad situations so we’re not just despairing constantly a la the Madoka anime. As I said earlier, if you can get through the depressing stuff, this series is really up-lifting to watch.
Out of five: