Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 16

Let’s get right back to Ojamajo Doremi! I recently watched a couple episodes of Aikatsu, and frankly was so unimpressed that it actually made me appreciate Doremi all the more. An upbeat sensibility is one thing, but Doremi’s mix of strong characters, great aesthetic strengths, and consistently thoughtful messages make it a legitimately excellent show by any standards. Doremi isn’t “great for a kid’s show,” it’s just good television. Let’s see whatever new adventures this episode brings!

Episode 16

Some very nice minimalist watercolor backgrounds for this episode’s cold open. The non-existent linework of these backgrounds is very nice; it’s all just pastel shades fading into each other, creating both a dreamlike atmosphere and just a generally beautiful composition. The backgrounds are certainly one of this show’s most reliable strengths

Doremi’s watching a boy whose face is concealed fishing. Very stark shadows define both this boy and the fish he’s catching

Doremi has a cruuuush. And there’s another of the show’s central visual strengths – its incredibly expressive faces. “Silly faces” is one thing, but Doremi really goes above and beyond to make some extremely distinctive and personality-filled expressions

We open with Pop and the family at the table, kinda forming a link with the previous episode. Granted, I don’t think that’s an intentional choice – Doremi seems intentionally structured as a series of standalone vignettes, where an audience of kids could tune in for any random episode and not get put off by continuity

“Dad said he’d bring fish home to eat.” Of course, that’s an intentional riff on the expectations of the opening. There are lots of methods of establishing narrative/visual congruity that don’t have any real narrative “meaning,” but help establish a sense of coherence in a story nonetheless. Offhand choices are never meaningless

I appreciate the very imperfect relationship between Doremi’s parents. Within the main trio, we seem to have one pair of parents who are constantly bickering, one single father, and one pair who are presumably kind of distant, though we haven’t really learned much about them. As always, Doremi articulates and validates the full spectrum of family life

Shingo Hasegawa is the boy from the cold open. Apparently Doremi’s dad enjoys fishing with grade school boys

Oh my god, Doremi’s faces here are so good. The girl can’t help it

“Fishing for Love”

Dodo even gets dunked on by the other fairies. It’s hard out there for Dodo

“Doremi-chan… again?!?” Looks like Doremi is pretty easy

Dodo has apparently gotten used to screwing up all the time

Doremi cycles through four entirely distinct expressions using different styles of conveying eyes and mouths within about a three-second interval

I really like how her hand resolves into a single line attached to a ball for this “you know…” bragging part. It’s as minimalist as possible, but the fundamental nature of the action is clear

“You always have trouble confessing to someone you like, Doremi-chan.” I appreciate that Doremi is allowed to have a bunch of crushes. Young love is an ephemeral thing

Doremi apparently became a witch to get cute boys. Makes sense

Now she wants the other girls to wingman for her

Oh dang, they combined the bank footage into one group transformation. Looks like we’ve got a lot of stuff to do this episode!

This water tank gag is great

Doremi’s dad all fired up about family times and fishing. Sorry, Dadremi

Pop instantly diagnoses why Doremi is acting the way she is, and then rushes off to date two boys in a row. Pop is incredibly powerful

Some very nice Majo Rika linework for her discovery of betrayal

And of course the fairies are coming along

More of these gorgeous watercolor-style backgrounds. And in spite of the clear distinction between them and the actual characters, there’s no real sense of incongruity between them. The Doremi character designs are loose and colorful enough to fit into this world, and stick close enough to pastels to feel natural

“Am I going to meet the father of my boyfriend-to-be already?” Goddamn Doremi, slow yourself down

Boyfriend’s dad doesn’t approve of fishing

Welp, looks like we’ve got a problem to solve WITH MAGIC

“I’d be sad if I lost my fishing partner.” It’s kinda funny how very impossible it’d be to write this episode’s plot for an American TV audience. Americans are absolutely terrified of adults and children interacting in anything outside of the most carefully sanctioned capacities, so “boy and a man who’s not his father go fishing” is just a premise that would not exist

Ao is wingmanning as hard as she possibly can here

This episode is successfully capturing the fact that fishing is the most boring hobby in the goddamn world

I love that Doremi is pretty much only concerned about her romantic prospects, and not all interested in her boyfriend-to-be’s concerns

The fairies decide to take matters into their own hands

There’s a nice horn rendition of the opening song melody here as the girls take action

The fairies are trying to catch a fish. A nice moment when the other two want to give up, but Dodo insists they keep trying for Doremi’s sake. The fairies are great

Dodo gets caught on a hook. “Turn Dodo into a bass with magic.” “No Ao, bass live in the sea.” THAT IS NOT THE RELEVANT ISSUE HERE

Majo Rika decides to show up and be a huge asshole. I guess it’s understandable, considering they ditched her

Shingo thanks his dad for coming, and his dad actually realizes how insensitive he’s being

AND THEN THE FISH APOCALYPSE BEGINS

Ah, this moment between father and son is so sweet

Some nice symmetry in how Shingo’s dad learns to trust his son’s instincts while Dodo and the other fairies also end up helping their “parents”

Aaand he already has a girlfriend. Oh Doremi

And Done

Well, that episode was charming as hell. Like last episode, it was more a generally wacky adventure than any kind of moral lesson – if anything, the lesson this time was for the parents in the audience. But Doremi’s cast has solidified enough now that they can easily carry episodic stories that don’t have any larger purpose. This cast is wonderful, and this episode was also lifted by a terrific mix of expression work and unique backgrounds. Doremi is a gem.

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.

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