Yuki Yuna is a Hero – Ep. 2

Note: I’m watching this show blind so please do not post spoilers in the comments.

Sorry for the three week delay. I’ve been sick for most of this month so I put blogging on hold. I’m still recovering but I’m feeling better and I’m growing impatient to blog about Yuki Yuna is a Hero again. I don’t want these posts to end up like my first attempt with School-Live!.

The worst part about putting YuYuYu on hold was being left wondering what this show’s true colors are. I’m very curious about them. I’ve heard there’s comparisons between this and Puella Magi Madoka Magica but I haven’t looked into them and honestly, every magical girl anime post-2011 gets compared to Madoka. The only two similarities I can think of right now is they star magical girls (which is really obvious) and they pull a bait and switch (which in YuYuYu‘s case, seems more based in genre than tone). There’s a few serious moments that raise my eyebrows, particularly with Mimori (more on that in a bit), but at the same time, there’s plenty of levity dished out. Yuna especially provides some comic relief, from her hand exaggeratedly writhes in pain after finishing off the first Vertex to her failed attempts to cheer Mimori up (is it sacrilegious of her to use her fairy like that?). If this show is going to reveal a crueler side, it seems to be reserving it for later. I kind of find that bold. Dark magical girl anime post-Madoka such as Magical Girl Raising Project or Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka tend to be quite upfront about its tone. Maybe this show really is pulling off a Madoka.

I’m glad this episode focuses on Mimori. I shouldn’t declare Best Girl this early on but she is easily the most interesting character out of the four so far. She has a great dilemma where her paraplegia makes her feel at odds with the prospect of fighting as a magical girl. Of course, it was a manner of when, not if, regarding her joining the fight and this episode follows through on that. While she has her reservations, her friendship with and gratitude towards Yuna convinces her to take arms. And take arms she literally does as Mimori’s weapons are revealed to be firearms such as a pistol, dual carbines, and a sniper rifle. She does gain hair ribbons that extend and allow her to walk (which is a really cool concept and image) but their purpose seem more to allow her to get into position rather than going head on like Yuna and Fuu can. All in all, the creators of this show came up with a really great way for Mimori to fight.

The transformation sequence for Mimori is…interesting. I’m willing to consider that there’s some meaning for the magical vines that wrap around Mimori’s body…or it could just be fanservice for all I know. The close up on her breasts definitely are.

As awesome as it is to see Mimori as a magical girl, I can’t help but notice that she’s awfully good at it. Perhaps, she’s too good at it in fact. She’s so calm and determined when she fights that it feels like a complete 180 from the Mimori we’ve been watching. She fires with pinpoint accuracy, as demonstrated when she snipes a Vertex’s core, which was rapidly spinning, might I add. When she pitches a battle plan, Fuu remarks that she’s acting more like a leader than her. As soon as the battle is over, she says the, “‘The situation is under control'”, sounding like a soldier carrying out her mission. I guess she technically is one but the wording is so different from how the characters usually speak. Even before transforming, it seemed like Mimori is taking the magical girl business very seriously. When she vents to Yuna during school, she calls herself a deserter that is putting the nation at risk. Again, she’s not wrong but her choice of words sure is dramatic. Mimori does acknowledge some this behavior herself, so the show is self-aware of this, but she only ponders on it briefly before fighting.

It’s not just Mimori’s behavior that caught my attention. Whereas everyone has only one fairy to work with, Mimori actually has three, one for each of her guns. The number of fairies matching the number of weapons at their owner’s disposal is an interesting tidbit but how come Mimori starts out with three? Then, there’s the flower emblems on everyone’s outfits. Around the time someone finishes off a Vertex, one of the emblem’s petals glows up and fills with color. That alone is a peculiar detail to focus on but it’s even more peculiar when I noticed Mimori’s emblem. It’s completely colored light pink and the show doesn’t cut to one of its petals lighting up like it does for the other characters. I could be overthinking all of this but I don’t know, something about Mimori really piques my curiosity.

I really enjoyed the action in this episode. Mimori obviously gets the lion share but the show does a good job involving everyone. Each character gets to show off what combative niche they can fulfill. Yuna can deliver quick and powerful blows. Fuu is slower but can have better reach and perform an excellent AOE attack. Itsuki can trap and entangle her target with that weird whip gauntlet thing. Even the Vertexes contribute to the fight in an engaging way. The group the girls fight in the second half of the episode have a variety of different attacks can be used for some deadly combinations such as bouncing one’s projectiles off of another’s panels so that their opponents are caught off guard at different angles.

Some imagery stood out to me as well. My favorite is the shot of the Hanged Man tarot card that Itsuki was using for fortune telling. While she’s technically reading for Fuu, the card bears more significance for Mimori. In reversed position, it represents indecision while placed upright represents letting something go and a change in perspective. Both positions match the main arc in this episode. I also really like the recurring image of Yuna holding Mimori’s hand. It nicely conveys how much Yuna wants to be there for her friend and the revelation that it’s the first gesture she did when they first met gives their friendship some emotional weight. The only thing missing is for the reverse to happen where Mimori holds Yuna’s hand and promises to be there for her as well. Maybe that could still happen in a later episode.

ED: “Aurora Days” by Sanshuu Chuugaku Yuusha-bu

I’m loving this ED but I swear, if this show gets dark, this makes for one hell of a death flag.


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3 thoughts on “Yuki Yuna is a Hero – Ep. 2

  1. When I first watched YuYuYu, I was a bit put off by this episode… I still maintain it’s one of the structurally weakest in the series. (Can’t say more…)

    “The transformation sequence for Mimori is…interesting. I’m willing to consider that there’s some meaning for the magical vines that wrap around Mimori’s body…or it could just be fanservice for all I know. The close up on her breasts definitely are.”

    *Frustrated sigh* Back when this episode first aired, that henshin sequence lead to a bunch of unfortunate “look at Togo’s big wheels” jokes on the Crunchyroll forums. (Yes, there used to be a lot of discussion there, good and bad.) I don’t think it’s spoilerish to say that YuYuYu never gets over this slight fanservice(ish) tendency. (If you missed it, it’s there in Yuuki’s henshin too.) It’s an annoying lapse in an other very well done series and it’s bugged me for years.

    “Each character gets to show off what combative niche they can fulfill.”

    It makes you wonder whether the Taisha’s thumb is on the scale or not… Is this why they pulled the trigger on this particular team? (Referring back to the first episode, where Fuu pretty much says straight up that she didn’t expect _her_ team to get the call.) Did they intentionally assemble this team with an eye towards the roles they would play?

    That’s something I’ve never seen any Magical Girl series take a swipe at that I can think of. The girls just have their powers and it _just so happens_ they’re exactly the powers required. Or the writers make the best of what’s handed to them and make them work. (Which leads to the trope of the weak power that will invariably Save The Day at some point in the series.)

    =========

    This no spoilers stuff is making this so hard to discuss… I commend to you the method I used during my epic twenty four episode review of Yamato 2199, don’t forget to link back to earlier episode reviews and either crow about your accuracy and foresight or facepalm about your lack thereof. It gets pretty daunting as you have to review more and more material each ep, but I think it makes for a better experience for both the writer and the reader. These episodes weren’t created in isolation, and reviews shouldn’t be either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Look at Togo’s big wheels”? Wow, that’s really tasteless of people. I don’t think that comparison even works since wheels are round for a different reason. Of course, I don’t want it to work in the first place.

      Believe me, I’ve noticed the other bits of fanservice, including that one shot with Yuna’s transformation (it made me laugh when i saw it). The stuff with Mimori caught my attention the most because I wondered if there is some meaning behind the vines that I just don’t know about. You never know with transformation sequences. I usually don’t like fanservice as it’s a cheap move to keep viewers’ attention but it only ruins my enjoyment of something when it’s either all the anime has to offer or it’s extremely excessive and gratuitous. I’d hope for this show to not cross that line.

      Very curious to know more about the Taisha. I didn’t even consider how intentional each character’s niche is and you’re right, it’s usually a coincidence in this type of show. I’ll keep that in mind.

      Refraining from spoilers is, as always, appreciated. I can only imagine the urge. And yeah, in future episode reviews, I’ll address any previous notes I’ve written here the farther I get in this show and more is revealed. That’s part of writing episode reviews for me – my opinion and understanding of something evolving over time and commenting on what I got right and wrong (and I like it or not).

      Like

      1. “I’d hope for this show to not cross that line.”

        It never gets any worse the what you saw in this ep… But it doesn’t get much better either. Like any magical girl show, it reuses the heck out of stock (henshin) footage.

        “Refraining from spoilers is, as always, appreciated. I can only imagine the urge.”

        I had to rewrite parts of my reply several times… 🙂 And I’m making notes of stuff to post when it’s appropriate to do so. It’s worth the work because I LOVE to talk about this show and it gets so little traction nowadays. It’s no mistake that one of the first full length posts on my own blog was a series review spurred by the then recent announcement of the sequel.

        Liked by 1 person

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