Let’s get back to Ojamajo Doremi! The last episode we watched was utterly absurd, turning what theoretically should have been Doremi’s most serious conflict yet into a rolicking, ridiculous caper. Ai and Doremi used magic so freely they both ran out of magic spheres, but the whole “revealing magic to mundane people gets you frogged” deal was handwaved for the sake of an absurd adventure. Doremi is more often thoughtful than ridiculous, but it can do ridiculous very well.
In light of that episode, I’m expecting this one to return to the show’s usual mode, and probably involve some new classroom drama. Let’s get to it!
Opening with a nighttime shot of what looks to be Doremi’s house, with our friendly anthropomorphized moon looking down
“Majo Rika! Just wait, I’ll make you suffer with my own two hands.” OH SHIT WE’RE GETTING SOME KIND OF WITCH RIVAL FOR RIKA. Alright, I guess we’re not going back to mundane school problems after all – instead, we’re leaping directly in the opposite direction, even further into Neverland
And now an ominous shot of the shop from above, obscuring it in dark colors
“We’re really in the red this month.” How is this shop ever NOT in the red? They sell hardened playdough arts and crafts, set their prices on the fly, are supported entirely by child labor, and give away anything that’s actually valuable. Even Lucifer J. Satan’s Emporium of Wish-Granting Rarities has a more sustainable business model than Maho Dou
Ojamajo Doremi’s portrayal of adults is pretty on point: generally okay people who live in constant fear of the tax collector
Majo Rika decides to gamble to pay off her debts. Goddamnit, Majo Rika
Oh shit, Rika gets away with it. AND NOTHING OF VALUE WAS LEARNED
Aaand she loses it all in her hubris. There’s the Rika we know
Oh my god Rika’s going to lose the shop what the fuck where’s Hadzuki somebody stop her
Dela’s getting a whole bunch of great moments here
And now the girls are being barred from the shop
Today’s lesson is your landlord is not your friend. Kill the rich, harvest their bones
The faces remain good as the girls arrive
Majo Rika’s appropriately named rival, Majo Ruka
I figured Rika’s rival would best her through some magical trickery or something, but it turns out she’s just buying the deed to her shop. That is infinitely more fiendish
“Now I’ll be the next Queen for sure.” Does running a minor knick-knack store really place you in the Queen’s line of succession? Magical politics continue to baffle me
Oh my god, that is literally, actually true
Even the girls realize that this is the worst possible system of government
So the next Queen of the magical world was going to be a gift shop owner who is also a frog
Aaand now Rika is going to squat at Doremi’s house. This has been a hell of a day
Majo Rika dumping on Doremi for all of her own bad business decisions
I mean really, the girls’ actual strategy should be abandoning Rika and seeing if Ruka’s in the mood for apprentices, particularly since taking them in would be another way to get back at Rika. Rika has been a crappy teacher from day one
Doremi gives them a box to live in. I mean, rent being what it is, I guess that’s fair
This episode is actually making me feel sorry for Doremi. She may be a dork, but Rika is just totally awful, and has absolutely earned all the bad things that are happening to her
I really love the various ways they use Hadzuki’s glasses going opaque to amplify her silly faces. Hadzuki and Ai’s reactions to Doremi asking them to bear the freeloader feel very different because of that
The stuck-up girl in class stops by to brag about the goods she got at the new Maho-dou, and how it’s totally her style. This is what gentrification does, folks
“The Original Maho-dou.” Yep. Pave over a family restaurant, establish the Original version that sells the same magic charms you can get at any mall
You’d think Hadzuki would be the one to say “I’m not sure this is such a good idea, guys,” but it turns out she’s just as down for misguided shenanigans as the rest of them, and actually seems to be even more reckless in her use of magic
And today we get the boy versions of the characters. Ojamajo Doremi has apparently realized “dress the Ojamajos up in all sorts of disguises” is one of its best tricks. Though it still hasn’t topped Loyal Dog Doremi, of course
Ruka’s magically created shop attendants really do seem like episodic Sailor Moon villains
Doremi predictably breaks cover within her first sentence
Doremi gets a lucky charm that actually gives her bad luck. Wow, they really were priced out of town by a devil shop selling cursed gifts
Doremi finally, justifiably explodes at Majo Rika. We actually get to see a moment of honest vulnerability from her, where she reiterates her dream of being a witch. This may be the first challenge they’ve faced that’s actually hard on her in a personal sense, which is a welcome thing – the adventures are fun, but this series really shines when it comes to its emotional core. Non-stop goofy episodes would definitely wear out their welcome if we weren’t consistently being given meaningful reasons to care about these characters
And Majo Rika is drunk
Wow, she actually stole Doremi’s dad’s sake. Rika’s just an asshole in all respects, huh
Of course, the lesson is actually that Rika’s devastated by the episode’s events, and that we need to acknowledge and respect her truth. But dangit, Rika’s a jerk! I don’t want to respect her truth!
Frankly, that’s also an important lesson – “everyone has their own circumstances, but that doesn’t excuse you from being responsible for your actions”
The goof-off trio rags on them for being laid off, but Masaru, the trumpet boy, offers support. Kindness comes around
This is sort of a Majo Rika episode, but from the distance of Doremi’s perspective. Which makes sense, since I’m not sure how many kids can relate to “I was evicted and lost my job and fell into a depression spiral where I questioned my own identity, leading me to drink.”
They decide to clean up a broken-down van and create a new Maho-dou. Hurray for capitalism
Meanwhile, Majo Rika has drank herself to sleep again. This episode sure is going places
Doremi thought of a creative plan and executed on it well. Great work, Doremi
They’re bringing their goods to the people!
Dang, that was a legitimately paradigm-shifting episode! The gang has straight-up lost their original shop, and now will be working (and in Rika’s case, presumably living) out of a bus for the foreseeable future. I think this episode did a solid job of navigating the inherently dramatic nature of its premise without falling into either unsuitably dark territory or unconvincingly flippant solutions. On top of that, Doremi got to be an actual, legitimate hero for once, coming up with a cool solution to their problem all by herself. It looks like the girls are actually starting to take more responsibility now, and becoming equal partners with Majo Rika. The witchy future is looking bright!
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