Rental Magica 1–All That Background Info For…

Look out, it’s Yuki Nagato! Oh wait, wrong show

…something that looks like a combination of Bleach and Fullmetal Alchemist. This looks like the shounen action show with more style than substance, much like Black Cat. At least it’s easy on the eyes with some of the better character design in all the new season’s offerings.

I wasn’t expecting the Magic Inquisition

Kudos, first off, to Shinsen Subs for producing a clear, grammatically accurate fansub with more cultural notes than you can shake a stick at. The show really does seem impressively researched, much like Fullmetal Alchemist in its alchemical stuff; this time, it’s in both native Japanese spiritualism and apparently Celtic magic too. A lot of the elements that receive lengthy paragraphed explanations are merely name dropped in the show, though, and some of them are elements we see in lots of different anime. I’m curious as to how much the native Japanese audience is assumed to know all this material; I assume that they are familiar with the natively Japanese magic, and don’t bat an eye at the presence of warding charms on a rope. The subtle distinctions between various branches of magic were lost on me, though. Also, seeing that this looks like an episodic supernatural fighting show, I wonder how much of it matters. (The rich character drama started from episode 1 of Fullmetal Alchemist.)

I’m impressed they recognized the real origin of the pentacle, though, as well as the fact that Solomon’s power was frequently invoked to exorcise demons. Solomon was considered by many Jews by the first century AD to be the first true exorcist, and at the same time, a legend suggested he was in charge of a number of demons. This is what gave rise to the idea that perhaps someone like Jesus could exorcise demons by the power of Beelzebub; the Pharisees assumed like most others of their day that Jesus must have been exercising Solomonic power to drive out demons. The version in the show, of course, is the one filtered through a 17th century hermetic text rather than actual Jewish belief and practice. The things you learn from anime…

Interestingly enough, in this show at least, the group using Solomonic exorcism is the rival gang of magicians-for-hire. So is this Celtic+Shinto vs Solomon?

Hooray for religious references

The President of the magic rental agency (what, are mages like objects?) in this show is one of those weenies we typically see as harem leads–though when he takes off his eyepatch (you knew there was a demon eye under there, didn’t you?) he seems to get a +2 constitution bonus. The girls naturally are the better fighters, because after all, we all love to see girls do battle in short skirts. The show starts with a well-animated battle, leading to the usual fears that the majority of the budget has thus already been blown.

Some guys have all the luck

I’m not sure what to make of this show. I’m impressed with the cultural details, though I have no idea whether they will use it to anything of its full potential. I like the battle scenes. I have yet to care about any of the characters except maybe Kunugi, the “client” of this episode, and most likely a recurring character later on. (Her dilemma is both reminiscent of the first ones in both Bleach and FMA, and one of the things I liked most about Bleach’s early episodes was how they were effective short pieces about coming to terms with death.) I really like the character design. It was a pleasant, but not terribly memorable, watch.

I think I’ll give it a few more episodes to see where it goes.

2 thoughts on “Rental Magica 1–All That Background Info For…”

  1. I was disappointed by the harem scene at the end, but all-in-all this wasn’t too bad for mild entertainment, but it remains to be seen how long I’ll stick with it.

  2. Karura–I pretty much feel the same way. I thought the final scenes at the end were kinda funny, though. In many ways this is very much an “average” anime, albeit with more background homework done.

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