SPOILERS of course

Go, Tama, Go!

Many years ago, another Magical Girl recruitment test went wrong when a demonic monster was summoned and went berserk. The sole survivor was Cranberry, who emerged with a new partner in Fav and an unquenchable desire to fight strong enemies. Now, Cranberry eagerly fights Tama and Swim Swim, seeing Swim Swim as the strongest competitor in the death game. Cranberry’s sound powers are an easy match for Swim Swim’s liquid powers. However, she disregards Tama as an opponent – forgetting that Tama’s hole-creation works on the human body too. The mastermind of the game dies a brutal death at the hands of fearful Tama.

She’s adorable…and also has the highest kill count in the game

However, Tama does not get a chance to celebrate her victory over Cranberry. Swim Swim briefly reverts to her human form as a result of her injuries, and then heartlessly kills Tama for having seen her out of her Magical Girl disguise.

With Cranberry gone, Fav accepts Swim Swim as his new “Master”. Ripple is still on the hunt for Swim Swim, despite Snow White’s pleas for her to stop the killing. Fav, finding Swim Swim a much more reluctant and less bloodthisty Master, gives Ripple advice about her weaknesses. Haunted by the memories and voices of their fallen mentors, the two Magical Girls prepare for their final fight.

Meanwhile Tama is just cute

The death game draws to a close, with only three participants remaining. We finally got the long-awaited downfall of Cranberry – and MAN, did it deliver. I’ve seen a lot of negative reactions towards this scene, calling it short and anticlimatic, but I personally loved it. It was a masterful stroke of irony – Cranberry, who created the entire game in search of an epic fight with a strong opponent, was taken out quickly in an act of self-defense by a Magical Girl considered by all to be a coward. Your suave villainy will be missed, Forest Musician.

What really made this episode so great was the theme of “irony” running through it, seamlessly connecting the plot events in a way Magical Girl Raising Project has struggled to do previously. After Cranberry’s brutal death, we have Swim Swim killing Tama for seeing her human form. She does this, of course, because she had been warned by Ruler about never letting others see her real self. Devoted more strongly to following the letter of Ruler’s decrees rather than the spirit, she cuts down one of the very ‘subjects’ she had sworn to protect following Ruler’s death. And Tama, who wanted only friendship, is slain at the hands of one of those she considered a friend. Ouch, show. That one hurt. Next to be hit by the “irony train” is Fav, who is initially ecstatic to be paired with the brutal Swim Swim, only to find her apathetic and uninterested in being a Master. This forces the mascot to give advice to the very girls he spent most of the game taunting, Snow White and Ripple. You deserved that, Fav.

awards

No, Swim Swim, whyyyy!

The only thing preventing this episode from earning the 5 Dios I was fully prepared to assign is its unnecessary second half. I understand that the show wanted to be 12 episodes long, but the truth is, at this point, it really lacked enough material. The Ripple/Swim Swim fight, the only remaining major event in the series, could easily have occurred in this episode. Instead, it was pushed into the next, resulting in a drawn-out, dull sequence of Ripple and Swim Swim remembering their mentors. I’ve spent the past several episodes complaining about the show’s rushed pace – and now we get half an episode of padding. Sigh. (At least Tama’s backstory was done well, in a ‘life flashing before her eyes’ type sequence once she had already been attacked, so it didn’t spoil her death.)

Sadly, the padding loses the episode a Dio, but Cranberry’s final moments and the episode’s overall thematic strength earn it a score of:

diodiodiodio

An unnecessary scene but a pretty cute Ripple

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