Contains SPOILERS below.

Oh Alice, you will forever be the edgiest of Magical Girls

Sister Nana and Weiss Winterprison arrange a meeting with Swim Swim and her gang, hoping to convince them to work together. However, Swim Swim actually desires to defeat Winterprison, believing her to be one of the strongest Magical Girls remaining. She tricks her by having the twin angels shapeshift into Nana and a knife, and then fatally stab Winterprison. With her dying breath, Winterprison manages to take Yunael with her.

Outside of her time as a Magical Girl, Top Speed enjoys a peaceful, happy life with her loving husband. This is in direct contrast with Nana, who has lost her will to live with Winterprison’s death. Remembering the happy times she spent with Weiss, she is implied to hang herself offscreen with Weiss’s scarf.

Enjoy this cute Weiss/Nana picture, because it’s the last you’ll ever see

We get a flashback to how Calamity Mary – an abusive, alcoholic woman recently separated from her husband and daughter – became a Magical Girl. Unlike the other Girls, she has no desire to help others, but merely wishes to be strong so she can break those around her. Her current goal is to kill Ripple, who has agreed to meet with her. The naive Top Speed and Ripple walk straight into Mary’s ambush. She prevents their attempts to run away by shooting cars on the highway, causing a massive accident. Snow White and Hardgore Alice hurry to help, but Swim Swim and her gang refuse, planning instead to attack the Magical Girls at the scene.

Mary is awful, but Fav is worse

This episode saw a return to the tight, action-packed pacing of earlier in the series, with a distinct lack of jumping around and juggling too many plotlines. This episode dealt with two things: the deaths of Winterprison and Nana and Calamity Mary’s decision to cause the highway accident she plans to use to kill Top Speed and Ripple.

Both halves of the episode were well paced and had some great action moments, such as Winterprison’s last moments and Mary’s sharpshooting. I noticed the animation, which is usually good to average, seemed to be a little higher quality during the highway scenes, which was nice as well. Even the brief scenes of girls in their everyday lives were well-used, as we finally got to see Mary’s past and were also treated to Nana’s heartbreaking memories of Weiss. (Top Speed’s scene was a little out of place, but I’m pretty sure it was meant to be a sign that she doesn’t survive the encounter with Mary).

It’ll be interesting to see how Minael operates alone

While the pacing was much better and the action scenes interesting, I did find it a bit unfortunate that these two particular plot events happened to occur at the same point in the story. On the one hand, it makes some narrative sense – the deaths of Weiss, Nana, and presumably soon Top Speed continues the culling of older/”mentor” type characters that started with Ruler and continued with La Pucelle. If Mary herself also falls to this conflict, that leaves only the younger, less experienced girls to take on the devious and experienced Cranberry. That will definitely make for some interesting fights.

However, the choice of plotlines to be covered resulted in this episode being what I would describe as “unrelentingly dark”. We had the death of a happy pair of lovers, one highly bloody and one via implied suicide, Mary’s dark backstory, and then the carnage of the highway massacre. Honestly, it left me feeling drained and exhausted. Magical Girl Raising Project has never been a happy show, but this was the first time I would describe it using the dreaded words ‘too dark’. Even last episode, with Alice’s gore-fest, had some happy Top Speed and Weiss/Nana moments to balance it out, while this was gore, mayhem and sadness from start to finish.

Loses some Dios for the unrelenting darkness, but gains some back for animation, pacing, and some really intense fight scenes. Out of 5:

diodiodio

Swim Swim, you are one terrifying elementary school kid

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