Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho – 06

Humanity? From a bottle? Buyer Beware…

What Thirteen lacks in personality he makes up for in his skills with duplicity, absolute control tactics, and…a taste for sweets? It looks like our comfy little gang has broke up, and the grimness of last episode is only going to get more and more so. How did that come about?

Thirteen, or Swings and Roundabouts

None of these options work…

It’s all about division. So, it looks like we have ourselves a three way pie. First, we have Albus’ faction, those want to live in peace, and they want to find decent ways of conducting their business, even if they are outnumbered and more than a little naive. They seem unreasonable. Then we have the rogue witches that thirst for blood and vengeance, and they have been banished from the Sorcerers of Zero, Albus’ group. They seem pretty unreasonable. Then we have the Sorcerers of the State, and they hunt the worst of both groups. They seem are terrifying. On top of that we have that last group’s leader, Thirteen. In him we get an ironclad vision, and he sees his mission as imposing rigid order on the rogues and the not-so-rogues. To kill them or to lead them, no other option exists.

Allusions to Plato’s Cave?

So after the anti-climactic dinner bell that interrupted Zero’s and Thirteen’s initial magic fight, and then after the weirdly off putting meal – where the dude likes honey in everything, and where Zero becomes a dessert first person – and then after the one-sided discussion that favored Thirteen as the host, it all just get’s laid down in the most unmistakable of terms. To wit, Albus has the capacity for strong magic use, he only lacks what Thirteen sees as the right direction, and he would and should benefit from training from the State. Or…he goes to the stake. It’s Albus’ choice, no third option. That’s important in that we not only have a make it or break it decision, but it is also part of the underlying theme this episode wants to deal with. Choice seems to be the underscore here. Thirteen wonders why Youhei would choose to be a bodyguard to a witch/sorcerer – those who are meant to be mutual enemies – and why Albus would side against him, and why Zero is doing as what it is she chooses to do.

This is no place for callow youth. It’s like she’s rejecting her own sense of that…

If choice is one part of a larger equation, then motives are key, and hidden motives just make things more interesting don’t they? Zero admits that there is more going on under her quiet facade than meets the eye. And it was her caution as much as her need for outright direction that made her demure to fully commiting to Albus as an ally. On her side we have that her order was wiped out, save her and Thirteen, by “Him” or “He”. Then this unknown person spread the contents of the Grimoire of Zero to the masses ten years ago, thus sparking all the trouble we have now. But it’s still Zero that struggles with the outcome. She had the best intentions in mind, but failed to see that the fire started for warmth, could be started to burn people out of a home, that the fish for the starving, could be overfished. It’s our limitations that make us as well, for both good and ill.

Thirteen learns from experience

Her innocence lead to her to believe equal power would make equal people; experience outside the cave would have taught her otherwise. She knows she set all this in motion, she admits that Thirteen warned her, but she feels betrayed by her own sense of purpose. In that, she feels the need to right the wrongs. But where Thirteen puts himself in command of the fray, using brutal tactics to conquer, I think that Zero in on another path. One that Albus cannot follow in his present state of mind. I think that really informs his own sense of betrayal. It’s not all that complex, if my guess is correct. Only it really is a lot more complex. It’s like the rules of chess. Easy to explain, a lifetime to really master, if you do at all.

Persuading Youhei to see him, eye….

So now we have to swing over to Thirteen. This is a sinister man. Say what you want to about his reasonable nature, and his slow and steady approach, there is an evil underneath that skin. We just dealt with Zero being manipulative to protect herself, now we deal with the same sort or mind games, only much deeper, and with more layers. It’s interesting how he uses the truth as a blunt force object, bereft of any nuance. Being direct, like a strong sugary taste on top of all his food seems to be his only state of mind. But in this instance he knew his audience. He knows what will misdirect his foe.

…to eye…

He knew to use incense to overwhelm the beastfallen senses, he knew to put him on guard in one way, only to undermine him in the other. Of the beastfallen, Youhei is less a beast, so his humanity is what he prides. All the talk of humanity, and what sorcerers use for power or this, or that, or her own outward charisma was just smoke. What he wanted was for Youhei to question the arrangement he has with Zero. Question it enough not just to have him walk away, but to feel threatened. Thirteen wants her without support, without any sort of other byway. He’s afraid of whatever she has planned. All he had to do was expose the doubt Youhei had all along…

Well, guess what he forgot to carry?

But none of this would be any good without that human element. We can talk about factions and power and divided loyalties and magic and all these things. None of them work without trust, and trust never really works out, at least in the first, fragile start, without risk. I think that Zero is asking a lot more of Youhei than she would have ever known. But she took a risk, and it was one that was probably informed with more than enough wide-eyed innocence. That is despite her capacity to manipulate. She easily saw through Thirteen’s plan, but was there already enough damage done? Does Youhei even realize why she decided not to hold him in thrall, but in equal arrangement? She wants a new way, and that’s nothing without risk. So let’s hope Youhei fights and beats the snot out of that ugly furball next episode so he can get his rediscovered angst out of his system…

The Return of Mr. Most Punchable Face, Spring 2017


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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4 Responses to “Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho – 06”

  1. Highway says:

    The sequence in that top webm bothered me because we should have seen the opposite character in the background. It was also a case where the visual noise was so high / more interesting that I tuned out the dialog.

    • skylion says:

      Well, I always assume that I’m seeing mostly exaggerations on any screen that features visual fictions. The webm as featured is more about Thirteen getting into Youhei’s mindspace. So maybe they were thinking that putting it all up there like you say would have distracted from that?

  2. BlackBriar says:

    And there you have it. As usual, trust is a thing that’s hard to build but frighteningly easy to destroy. I would’ve said Mercenary being manipulated into doubting Zero is too easy but then again, he hasn’t spent that much time with her so it would actually be too convenient for him too have total faith in her and not be deterred by someone else’s word.

    I don’t buy into Thirteen’s reasoning for crossing the other witches. It just feels like a self-justified excuse to engage in treason for personal gain without any sense of guilt. That and he doesn’t give off the impression of a team player to start off.

    • skylion says:

      Oh yeah, Thirteen is a classic. Self-justification, persecution complex, all sorts of things come up to excuse villany. “All this will stop when I get the Grimoire”, he says. Yeah, he has a taste for being in charge already, a taste for the power and the perks. Getting the book is where it begins, not ends.

      As for Youhei, he’s been wary of the situation from the beginning, just not outright in saying it. But I still think some of that is on Zero herself. She should be wary of the doubt still yet.

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