On April 25th , roughly a year and month later, Studio Hoods Entertainment have finally released episodes 11 and 12 of Märchen Mädchen. These two episodes will serve as the necessary closure to this magical fairy tale, but after waiting for so long, does the show provide a “happy ending” or does it end in “darkness and despair”?
After watching both episodes, the show does deliver a “happy ending”, but, that and the action scenes are the only good things from the show, everything else remains relatively the same. The story continues to suffer from cliches, weak and lazy
writing, and lack of tension and buildup. The sound design contains the same opening and ending songs along with the same voice actresses. The characters continue to follow the same old stereotypes. The animations are better, but it's a minor improvement. Overall, not much has changed from one year ago, and that's a damn shame.
Synopsis: Episode 11 and 12 picks up directly after Kuzunoha Girl's Magic Academy defeats the American team. From there, unimportant stuff happens (i.e., confrontation with the German team, discussions of worries and anxiety, Fleck monster, etc), then Lynne Daves, one of the American magical girls, turns psycho and becomes a Fleck monster. And now, everyone must stop this Fleck monster before it destroys all the Origins in the world.
Of course, because this is a fairy tale, there has to be a “happy ending” and there is one. However, just because the ending was satisfactory, doesn't mean the rest of the show can be dismissed. In fact, everything up to this point was boring and cliched, and it didn't help that the composition was weak and lazy.
Now, speaking of lazy writing, it's disappointing that there was no battle shown between the Kuzunoha Girl's Magic Academy and the German school, only the ending results were discussed, but that, too, was very disappointing, considering there was no clear winner.
Some positive things about these two episodes include: an explanation into Hazuki Kagimura's power, especially “Glass Heart”; who Hazuki Kagimura's mother was and how she died; and the “confession scene”.
Overall, while these two episodes provided the audiences with a solid conclusion, it didn't salvage the series and only prevented it from becoming bad to outright terrible
As mentioned earlier, the opening song titled “Watashi no Tame no Monogatari ~My Uncompleted Story~” is sung by fhána, while its ending song titled “sleepland” is sung by Reina Ueda, both of which are heard in the original show. They are okay, although not very memorable. And as usually, the characters are voiced by the same voice actresses, and they do an excellent job, providing a whole range of emotion and energy.
The art and animations are better than what was seen during the first 10 episodes. But, this is a very small improvement. These improvements could be seen in the fight against the Fleck monster, where lots of moving characters were involved and multiple spells were fired off at the same time. Other than that, the character models still look outdated and not very good, there were some disproportional bodies and objects and distorted or derpy faces, but not very noticeable.
The characters still follow the same tiresome tropes and stereotypes that are common in the world of Anime. The Russians usually have short silvery hair with a military uniform, and come from a poor farm land. The Indian characters have tan skin with a headpiece jewelry and robe. The British, German, and American characters are all very competitive and have blond hair. And finally, there will always be one American character that causes many problems, or will start a calamity. And finally, the character's weapons and battle uniform are based on their fairy tale origins.
Much like the ending to this show, where a miracle was needed to save the day, one could draw similar conclusions to its' overall status, i.e., it will take a miracle to make this show redeemable. And unfortunately, the ending isn't enough to redeem it. The show was hampered with production issues that led to awful and dull animations, off-character models, and lack of diversification for character appearances and facial expressions. In addition, these issues delayed episode 9 and pushed episodes 11 and 12 to more than a year. Still, even if production was amazing, the show would have to overcome the disastrous composition and awful story, and the unappealing characters. A hurdle that Studio Hoods Entertainment cannot overcome. And so, this marks the end for this fairy tale story. A story that will slowly fade into obscurity; never to be viewed again.
On one hand, these two episodes are the closing chapters in one of the craziest stories in anime production - and from the staff literally giving up on the show, these final episodes are cathartic, a message to the production staff themselves that they are truly the ones who can write their own happy ending.
And on the other hand, dear Lord this anime is terrible.
Who are these characters? What is this story? What is even happening? I want to rewatch the first 10 episodes to find out but I really don't want to go through that hell again and I have a suspicion that even
if I did rewatch it I still wouldn't have the faintest clue what is going on. Something about their moms failing to seal this book-eating destroyer of worlds, and now its up to them? You know what show did that exact same plot-line super well? Toji no Miko. If you want to see an example of this kind of story but done well, go watch that.
Hey, the art is like, okay again. There are a few moments where derpy cuts still leak through, but for the most part you can almost believe that Kantoku was the original character designer (the poor soul). The OP by fhana is still a great song (Wow wow!) and deserves recognition.
The characters are extremely flat, with linear motivations and shallow personalities. Though I recall the Russian team being super fun, and its a shame that there's barely a minute's worth of screentime for them. I think if they tried to capture almost a Girls und Panzer-esque fun atmosphere with more of the teams the show would play out better. Instead we get to focus on abused evil American girl and some English chick that I don't remember having a speaking role in the first 10 episodes.
It's clear that I didn't enjoy it, and the ending is extremely forced, but you know what, if that's what it takes to put to rest a past demon and finally get to move on from this disaster of a project, then I say these two episodes were a resounding success. I sincerely wish that the animators, production staff, voice actors and actresses, and other related staff can move on from this with no hard feelings and look towards a brighter future in their careers.
After a long wait (complete with a few delays to boot), the last two episodes have arrived with little in the way of fanfare. So, has it been worth it ?
Obviously, for those who didn't like the series to start with, would obviously say "no", but for completionists and those who did enjoy it would say "Yes, but..."
Story-wise it was a bit rushed, with a fair bit left out (no actual fight against the Germans, for example), and there were few sudden developments that just came out of nowhere (much like Lynne's abuse), but overall it did its best to finish the series that
not only left a decent ending, but also to make sure that there was no possibility of it continuing.
Animation wise, it was okay, although some parts of the second episode were slightly dodgy.
It's a shame that this series had so much trouble, but at least it's been put out of it's misery now. Who knows, perhaps in a few years, it'll be remade as something better.