Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 17

Let’s mosey on back to Ojamajo Doremi. Last episode saw Doremi getting repeatedly dunked on for the sake of a doomed crush, fully reaffirming her status as the world’s unluckiest pretty girl. If there was any moral in that episode, it was more for the dads in the audience, with perhaps a hint of “go easy on your parents, they make mistakes too.” I’m guessing this episode will return us back to Doremi’s classroom and the usual thematic cycles, but we’ll have to see! Doremi has been consistently expanding its dramatic range, so very little would surprise me now. Let’s get right to it!

Episode 17

New focus character. A boy in class this time?

This guy’s got the same style I had in high school – button-down shirts and cargo pants

A third grader named Yada Masaru. He looks older relative to the usual cast

And this opening segment frames him through gossip, not his own thoughts. Apparently he’s been getting in trouble with the teachers

A mid-distance shot with no background, emphasizing his sense of isolation

Unsurprisingly for a gossip-focused episode, the actual intro begins with the class’s reporter girl offering a scoop on Yada, who apparently beats up junior high kids. Once again, the whole class have their own personalities and priorities

Looks like they’re all in third grade, after all

This reaction shot includes two of our prior episodic leads. Each classroom scene is made more rewarding by the accumulation of focus episodes

Yada has a nice distinctive slouch that emerges naturally from his cargo pants. His dress choices play into his own distinctive profile

And once again, Yada is isolated in the frame, this time through the positioning of his desk relative to the other desks and the gathered students

“Yada-kun is a Delinquent?!”

The reporter girl’s opaque glasses also increase his sense of isolation in this shot of him walking to the front

Yada didn’t write down anything for their quiz

The fact that Yada’s conflict is being articulated through his behavior at school means we’re getting a nicely extended look at their daily school life

Some unique songs for this segment. The show’s adopting a much more subdued tone in articulating Yada’s behavior than it usually does, which makes me think he’s suffering from some truly serious problems at home

Hadzuki seems concerned, while Aoi and Doremi are just kinda enjoying the show

And we’re taken outside of the classroom with just Yada and the teacher. Doremi’s teacher essentially gets to be one of the meaningful secondary leads in this show, and can carry scenes and even episodes by herself

“I heard your dad is coming home.” There we go. His dad travels, and is rarely home

Yada’s reliable “not really” reflects how many people, particularly kids, can’t meaningfully articulate what they’re feeling, or the feelings that prompt their seemingly unrelated actions

Oh nice, we get a shot that includes basically the whole class

Hadzuki seems to be the central cast member most attuned to the feelings of others, and also the one who naturally sympathizes with other quiet kids

Doremi is getting better at making magical goods, sort of

“You should tell us if you’ve got problems.” And the boisterous Aoi with the counterpoint. Hadzuki’s personality helps her see when other people aren’t feeling well, but she’s not really the best person for directly addressing such problems. Aoi isn’t as immediately sensitive to the feelings of others, but she’s earnest and forthright, and that’s also necessary for solving problems. Each of their strengths and weaknesses are acknowledged or celebrated in turn, without any sense of judgment or that one of them is “more correct” in their behavior or feelings than the other

And then there’s Doremi

Ah, she went to his kindergarten, so she understands this isn’t just “who he is.” Another important lesson – we aren’t just unmoving personalities or objects of circumstance. We can grow and have our personalities go through phases, but those phases aren’t destiny

Oh my god these shots of tiny Hadzuki she’s so adorable

Also love that her memory’s backgrounds are drawn in something like crayon. This show really demonstrates you can have a visually rich production even without a ton of fluid animation

Yada is always misunderstood, but he’s not much of a talker, so he can’t really defend himself

Nice group shot here, creating a sense of depth through Doremi and Hadzuki’s relative positioning

“Humans can change a lot in five years. People can easily become evil.” Kinda funny how Majo Rika expresses moral points through counterpoint – we know she’s a dumb jerk, so we embrace the opposite of whatever she says

Ominous shots of Yada at the docks. Low angles emphasize the sense of danger

Hadzuki’s the only one who pushes back against Kaori, the gossip queen

“This time the police even arrested him!” The lesson is clear: don’t trust the cops

Of course, the teacher’s got Yada’s back

“He didn’t tell the police anything.” Sheesh Vice Principal, don’t you know that not speaking without a lawyer is any citizen’s first line of defense

There’s just a straight-up live action profile photo in the principal’s office

“Yada’s mother could only smile when I asked her to explain.” They’re having to strain the reality of the setting to keep this conflict going. It’s clear that Yada was just trying to meet his dad or something, but this conflict requires the presence of doubt, and so obvious ways of clearing this up like actually communicating with his parents have to be avoided

“If that happens, I’ll resign as teacher.” Wow, they’re really doubling down on this one

Looks like the show has decided to start sticking with the simultaneous transformation sequences. Apparently that was just a bit too much bank footage per episode

“Tell us what Yada-kun was doing.” They’ve learned to just let the magic figure its own shit out

Nice detective work shots and music here

Plenty of dynamic shots for this whole segment

Masaru was… practicing trumpet?

Oh my god, Hadzuki’s cat-eye reaction faces

The teacher finally loses her cool. Even she has a limit

“If you don’t open your mouth, no one will understand you!”

“Even if I tell the truth, no one will believe me!” This sequence is really strong

“I’m on your side, Masaru. Believe me.” Learning to trust adults, even when they’re hurt you in the past. It’s a very hard thing

“You’re not the only one who gets embarrassed”

A new beautiful color scheme here, for his memory with his dad. The colors even echo the trumpet itself

I like how this episode demonstrates Hadzuki also has a kind of explosive temper

She’s so mad she’s steaming out tiny Hadzuki heads

And Done

There we go! As I expected we returned to both the classroom and the show’s general moral wheelhouse this week, offering an episode that demonstrated both the multifaceted nature of Doremi’s classmates and the importance of finding authority figures you can actually rely on. Doremi’s teacher has proven to be one of the show’s easy standout characters, championing her students even at the worst of times. Teaching is hard, and teachers are cast as villains or buffoons far too often. I really appreciate that Ojamajo Doremi lets the teacher be such a hero.

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