Christmas Eve deserves an episode set on Christmas Eve! I know I haven’t been writing about this show in a while…since episode 1, really. But in fact, Rental Magica has become my “easy to watch” show of the season. Yes, it’s the epitome of the Mediocre Anime, with almost not an original bone in its body. But it’s not boring enough to be unwatchable, and its cliches sometimes feel as familiar as a warm fireplace and thus mildly diverting. This Christmas episode is no exception.
First of all, it is true as the show points out that many of the standard Christmas traditions (mistletoe, Christmas trees, the date, etc.) have pagan rather than Christian roots. I’m not sure if they’re connected to magic per se, and this is the first time that I’ve heard of the gift-giving part being related to giving gifts to the undead. And, as the culture notes at the end of the Shinsen Subs version correctly points out, “Santa Claus” was certainly no heretic; Saint Nicholas was martyred for his faith, in fact, and tradition places him at none other than the Council of Nicea on the side not of the heretic Arius, but of the rest of the orthodox bishops. (I am very impressed the notes even include the colorful story of him slapping poor Arius. It goes along with some other stories about people ripping Arian letters and other documents to shreds and stomping on them. It was not a very nice council.)
But back to the anime. Most every sitcom has a Christmas episode, and this is no exception; the best part of it is the “core story,” which is about the ghost of all the children who died in the church fire. By “best” I mean “least annoying,” because it is still cheesy; the only “magic” use is the power of song, and a decent song it was too, though nothing earthshattering. Still, it was the only scene that sparked even a modicum of emotion for me. The bits where Honami and Adelisia stalk Itsuki to see whether the “special girl” is one of them has been done over and over in this show, and it was pretty easy to figure out that it would be neither of them (I was betting on his mother’s grave or the little sister girl in Astral). The ending, too, is the same as almost every episode’s ending: a harem moment of one kind or another where more than one girl chases after Itsuki. I’m not honestly sure I can take another whole season of this as is scheduled, though if they start developing an overarching plot, I might be interested.
The ED sung by the seiyuu for the major characters, though, was a nice touch.
While we’re at it, I would just like to say that Itsuki with the eyepatch is probably the weeniest male harem lead I’ve seen in quite some time. He even has the whiny voice. Yes, he’s kind to little children, and considerate to a fault, which is what harem leads are supposed to be, but he’s far too blank a character to support to weight of the rather large harem he attracts. He’s also largely incompetent as long as he has the eyepatch on, where he immediately becomes Lelouch and starts issuing ridiculously precise orders. He’s lucky that every girl in this series seems to be afflicted with Florence Nightingale Syndrome and adores him precisely because he’s weak and mostly helpless, longing to stroke his head or his eye. I admit, honestly, it was nice and funny at first, but now it’s starting to get annoying.
Still, I figured this was a nice post to put up on Christmas Eve. Have a Merry Christmas, everyone!