The moral of the story is: dolls are people too.
In this episode of Unbreakable Machine-Doll, Raishin goes from zero to hero.
Bad CG and Generic Action
Raishin uses righteous fist! Eliza uses counter! Raishin misses!
Well, I can’t say I very much liked this episode. After all the intrigue about Cannibal Candy and his mysterious doll, the actual showdown felt very much deflated and uninspired. I suppose objectively speaking, Eliza’s ability to wield the magic of the dolls she had consumed is impressive and surprising to those within the Machine-Doll universe. But to us, she only comes across as a “last boss” with multiple forms. And none of those forms are particularly intimidating either. They’re all just borrowed from dolls Raishin has already defeated before. Plus, any advantage Eliza might have gained from her large skill set is nullified by the laws of the Machine-Doll universe, wherein two kinds of magic cannot coexist within one body. The best she can do is switch between individual powers. Add in the extra limitation that she actually discards powers (never to be used again) instead of switching between them, and Eliza starts looking less and less impressive.
Always pause dramatically before you pulverize someone.
Boring mechanics aside, the CG in the battle here was definitely disappointing. We’ve seen other shows do CG well, but Machine-Doll isn’t one of them. Now, it’s never been too distracting before, but it was so central in Yaya’s clash with Eliza that you really can’t help but notice it. And then you notice how uncanny the CG elements look with respect to the rest of the scene. I firmly believe that CG isn’t inherently bad, and shows can and do pull it off more often than not. But when something as jarring as this battle comes along, it almost makes me want to question myself.
The dead girl doll brigade.
But that’s enough negativity. Let’s talk about plot instead. It’s revealed that the little urn Raishin gave Magnus contains ashes, and his giving it to Magnus is akin to throwing down the gauntlet. The way Magnus talks about it further confirms Irori’s words last time that he might be Raishin’s brother. From that, I’m also going to guess that the ashes belong to their little sister, which would be only appropriate. Then we see Kimberly-sensei casually ask Magnus if he’s heard the rumor that all his dolls are Ban Dolls. The guy doesn’t deny it. Suspicious? Very much so. But I’m wondering if maybe he only makes Ban Dolls as a way to “save” the person from which they are created. Like sort of give a dead person a second chance at life. Which then leads to the question of whether Ban Dolls retain some sense of their previous identity. I wouldn’t think so, considering much of Lisette’s original body remains in spite of Eliza’s creation. But I wouldn’t put it past magic to do weird stuff like that.
I’m so tsundere it hurts.
Moving on, Raishin joins the Evening Party as a Wiseman candidate thanks to some political moves from the Headmaster. Not much to say about that; he’s on his way to reaching his goal as any good protagonist should. More importantly, however, it looks like Charlotte has now seriously fallen hard for Raishin. Nothing too surprising, considering she was the damsel in distress and he was the knight in shining armor this episode. There’s also some backstory to her about how she views her family’s dolls as real family members. But I find it hard to feel as strongly about it as the show probably wants us to.
For an action packed arc ender, this episode leaves me with surprisingly few things to say. Shouko wasn’t expanded upon at all, leaving my impression of her as a deus ex machina device. And even then, Yaya didn’t display any particularly impressive feats of superhuman strength in the battle beyond her usual superhuman strength. So I’m not sure what the whole point of “unleashing” her abilities was. All that we get to see is Raishin use his brain a little, a feat which apparently catches Felix off guard so much that he forgets the basics of Machinart.