Thursday, 28 August 2008

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto - Natsu no Sora - Episode 5

While I have no doubt that it's very much an acquired taste, I've been rather drawn in by the lilting and easy manner of Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto - Natsu no Sora so far, and it certainly doesn't look like the tempo of the series will be changing at all any time soon, which is only good news as far as I'm concerned.

If I had to pick a 'focus' for this episode, I'd point it towards Sora's magic trainer Seiichiro, as we see what he does when he isn't "on duty". We don't really find out anything too particular about him beyond his past as a guitar hero (in the non-video game sense, obviously), but it at least fleshes out his character a little.

Beyond that, it is of course the magic itself that gets plenty of time here, and one of the things I've enjoyed about this series (which has surprised me if I'm honest) is the 'personal' feeling of the magic used in this series - It isn't all big, set piece, Harry Potter stuff, but intensely private in most cases, from destroyed and unknown treasure for an old woman that gives some piece to a question mark that has hung over most of her life, to the awakening of a woman in a coma. I must confess that I'm not too sure about the second of these two applications of magic, as despite the obvious dilemma it brings forth as a result of its use which adds a little frisson to the episode, it just seems a step too far compared to everything that has gone before. It would be over the top to suggest it somehow devalues life within the series, but using magic to wake people from comas just seemed odd to me in numerous ways that it would take too long to give air too here.

That aside, I'm continuing to feel a certain something for this series - It isn't outright love so much as a wamr, fuzzy feeling. Despite its magical roots, both the characters and the conversations they have feel very realistic, which actually matches the 'controversial' art style which gives us some hyper-realistic but decidedly static backdrops. It would be easy to argue that these jar with the quite basic character designs, and I can't deny that, yet somehow that "out and about in Tokyo" feeling that the series gives me is quite a precious thing, and thus overall the aesthetic of the series is a net win for me.

For now though, I'll simply continue to enjoy that warm, fuzzy feeling, as this continues to be one of those series where I neither care nor worry too much about what happens next, as I'm just happy to go with the flow and soak up the atmosphere as much as anything.

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