Clockwise: sickle, jade, sandfly(?), spider, bee, fire. Their chest symbols and weapons are also appropriate.
After a rather unremarkable premiere, Machine-Doll manages to improve a bit with the insertion of some plot.
Eat your heart out.
To get straight to the point, there’s a potential killer on the loose. Students have gone missing, and dolls have been destroyed. And to make things worse, there’s the suggestion that the culprit is having his doll not only consume the magic circuits of the victimized dolls, but also possibly eat the owners of said dolls. Perhaps that’s taking it a bit far, but it seemed to me what the show was hinting at with its timely mention of Ban Dolls (Sigmund is one), which are built using organic materials and must consume meat to maintain their form. Now, we have to take that with a grain of salt as Lisette admits these tales are only legends. But given that Charlotte is always threatening to make Sigmund go without meat, I’d say perhaps there’s some truth to the tall tale after all. Or, Raishin could just ask Charlotte about the details of Ban Dolls and we’d know for sure, since he clearly has her in the palm of his hand. But I guess that would be too easy. Regardless, no doubt Raishin will be able to take out Cannibal Candy without incident since this seems about his best bet to get into the Evening Party.
A really bad day.
On another note, last episode we left off with a cliffhanger as Raishin charged Magnus through a window. This episode we get to see some more of our below-average hero’s backstory. As alluded to in a very brief flashback in the premiere, it’s not a cheerful one. Looks like some time in the past, someone walked in and trashed his family home, which appears to double as a doujo of sorts. I’m gonna guess that’s where the Akabane style was taught. His father apparently put up a fight, because the floor is littered with broken dolls. The Akabane style involves commanding an army of dolls, so this might have been the aftermath of the style in action. And perhaps the scene of utter death and destruction might also be a nod to the show’s title of “Unbreakable Machine-Doll”. You know, perhaps something cheesy like Raishin resolving never to let Yaya get destroyed. Anyway, Raishin’s father obviously didn’t do very well, because now he’s dead. And Raishin’s sister is also dead, almost ritualistically laid out on what looks like an alter. This is all depressing and stuff, but I think the show made a point of showing us the grim scene to again telegraph some speculatory suggestions (it seems to like doing this a lot).
Tears of pearl!
One would believe from Raishin’s reaction to Magnus that this is the guy responsible for the attack. The guy uses multiple dolls, which is suspiciously reminiscent of the Akabane style. Maybe he was a student gone bad? Also, Raishin only thought back to the moment he found his dead sister when he saw the face of one of Magnus’s dolls. This, combined with the introduction of Ban Dolls hints that Magnus might have had Nadeshiko’s body made into his doll somehow. Alternatively, Raishin might have been reminded of the fateful event instead by the fire character on the doll’s veil. But I’m pretty sure he was more interested in what lay beneath. Anyway, the whole concept of Ban Dolls confuses me. Supposedly they are in violation of the Constitution of Magicians, which one might think means owners of Ban Dolls are in big trouble. So then perhaps Magnus having one (or a couple) might be a big deal, possibly disqualifying him for the title of Wiseman. Of course, this is assuming his one doll is in fact made from Nadeshiko. But then we have Charlotte and Sigmund, and no one’s making a fuss about her other than Lisette. So are Ban Dolls really that big a deal? Or is this just a case of only a few knowing about their existence?
Overall this episode is indeed a step up from the first. Perhaps it’s the decrease in awful CG or the lack of unbelievable physics (Raishin’s bed flip was still pretty suspect). Seriously though, I’m gonna have to pin the improvement on the introduction of some actual plot. The “guy on a mission for revenge” element isn’t awfully creative, but at least it’s a start. And anything that adds depth to a character as generic as Raishin is good. Also, I’m sure the hyperactive spinning ED had a heavy hand in improving my opinion of the show.